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Hong Kong in recession as protests escalate

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Hong Kong in recession as protests escalate

Hong Kong in recession as protests escalate

Hit by five months of anti-government protests, Hong Kong has fallen into recession, according to its financial secretary.

David Pollard reports.

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Hong Kong in recession as protests escalate

Hong Kong buildings were in flames on Sunday (October 28) as pro-democracy protests erupted again.

The local economy is getting burnt too.

Hong Kong is now in recession, according to its Financial Secretary Paul Chan.

Commenting in a blog post, he described the blow from five months of unrest as "comprehensive." An, predicted that GDP numbers due this week would show two successive quarters of contraction - the technical definition of a recession.

For many who work in Hong Kong - like Uber driver Raymond Ma, speaking to Reuters earlier this month - it would be confirmation of what they already know.

(SOUNDBITE) (Cantonese) 36-YEAR-OLD UBER DRIVER, RAYMOND MA, SAYING: "Basically business is down at least by half, and maybe more than that.

We see our income every day and know it, it is really obvious.

But our expenses are the same, so the impact is big." Big and widespread.

Protesters have routinely torched store fronts and banks, particularly those owned by mainland Chinese companies.

Retail operators have been forced to close for multiple days over the past few months.

And with the chaos at times engulfing the local airport, visitor numbers this month were down by nearly 50%.

The collateral damage extends too to those carrying the visitors: Cathay Pacific warned last month it would cut capacity because of a drop in bookings.

And, has been under intense pressure from China to suspend workers and pilots involved in the protests.

Chairman John Slosar announced plans last month to step down.

CEO Rupert Hogg and two other senior executives already left in August.



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