Hong Kong deficit falls to $25.3b

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 01 December, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 01 December, 2004, 12:00am

The government deficit in Hong Kong has fallen to $25.3 billion - well below the $42.6 billion predicted for the full financial year.

The news prompted speculation yesterday that the budget might be balanced before the target date of 2008-09.

Spending between April and October was $139.2 billion and revenue $113.9 billion, resulting in the shortfall of $25.3 billion, the statistics showed.

The revenue included the $6 billion Toll Revenue Bond and $20 billion government bonds and notes issued in May and July respectively. The reserves stood at $250.1 billion at the end of October.

A government spokesman said that given the performance to date, the deficit for the full year was likely to be less than the original forecast of $42.6 billion.

The deficit stood at $81.1 billion at the same time last year, with reserves of $234.2 billion.

Jimmy Chung Wai-kwok, deputy president of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, said there was a good chance the government would break even before 2008-09 if the trend continued without major disasters such as an outbreak of Sars.

Longer term, he said the introduction of a goods and services tax would be the right move.