Hong Kong announced a 2 billion Hong Kong dollar ($255 million) relief package to support businesses that have been ravaged by the fallout related to the pro-democracy protests that have stretched into their 20th week.
Hong Kong Financial Secretary Paul Chan announced the following measures to support the tourism and logistics industries, which have been the hardest hit due to the protests:
- Extending rent reductions for tenants of government-owned properties totaling $HK600 million
- Commercial vehicle drivers such as taxis will receive HK$1.35 billion in fuel subsidies
The stimulus package is the third in as many months. Hong Kong's government announced a HK$19.1 billion stimulus package in August, and another HK$1.4 billion round last month. In total, the stimulus measures are expected to lift the Hong Kong economy by 2 percent, according to Chan.
"The relief measures will increase the chance of the government slipping into a deficit, but we will make good use of our resources on hand to help industries ride out the economic downturn," Chan said at a press conference on Tuesday, according to the South China Morning post. "We hope property owners and landlords will support tenants, for example, retailers, restaurants, tourism and logistics operators."
Hong Kong’s tourism industry has been decimated by the ongoing protests. Visitors from mainland China fell 42 percent in August. As a result, retail sales plunged by 23 percent year-over-year – the biggest drop on record, according to a government spokesperson. Before the protests began, 76 percent of Hong Kong tourists were from the mainland.