The SAR's economy is expected to grow 2.1 per cent next year and 2.8 per cent in 2004 as the revival in the global economy helps pull it out of one of its worst 12-month periods, the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce said yesterday. 'Hong Kong's economy is in recovery now, it's not in recession, that's the best news we can expect,' said David O'Rear, the chamber's new chief economist. Mr O'Rear added that every major economy is expected to perform better next year and even better in 2004. A year ago, the chamber forecast that gross domestic product (GDP) in 2002 would expand by 1.6 per cent. Outgoing chief economist Ian Perkin said last week that that figure might not be met. China's economy will continue to support Hong Kong's, said Mr O'Rear, who expects the country's GDP to grow 8 per cent to 9 per cent next year, and private spending to grow 6 per cent. Meanwhile, Hong Kong's domestic economy will continue to flag, with 'only a small improvement in the unemployment rate and also a very modest, if any, increase in wages and property prices', he said. The predictions coincided with remarks by the Financial Secretary, Antony Leung Kam-chung, who said the economy would grow by about 3 per cent in the second half of the year. Hong Kong's economy expanded by 0.5 per cent in the second quarter after shrinking 0.5 per cent in the first. The government is set to release third-quarter GDP figures tomorrow. Mr O'Rear said the Hong Kong government needed to control spending to keep the deficit under control but a sales tax should not be introduced because it would hurt consumer spending. While the financial secretary spoke in London about plans to revive the economy, he hinted at moves to make it easier for talented and wealthy mainland immigrants to come to Hong Kong. 'Hong Kong has an open door for talent from every nationality, except from the mainland, and we have to work on that particular area so we can attract a lot more talent,' he said.