Deficit hits $312b on handouts, aid

Finance | Avery Chen 1 Dec 2020

Hong Kong recorded a fiscal deficit of HK$312.5 billion for the seven months ended October, mainly due to the payments of the Cash Payout Scheme and the Anti-epidemic Fund.

Expenditure for the April-October period amounted to HK$501.5 billion and revenue HK$189 billion, official data showed.

The fiscal reserves stood at HK$847.8 billion as of October 31.

Meanwhile, the total assets of the Exchange Fund rose HK$279.4 billion to HK$4.47 trillion as of October 31, mainly due to the purchase of US dollars to defend the currency peg and an increase in the unsettled purchase of securities, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority said yesterday.

HKMA said total deposits with authorized institutions increased by 6.4 percent in October, driven by initial public offering activities.

Separately, the number of mortgage applications in October decreased by 11.2 percent month-to-month to 10,908 in October, HKMA said.

In other news, the total gross premiums of the local insurance industry rose 5.5 percent year-on-year to HK$461.1 billion in the first three quarters, the Insurance Authority said yesterday.

Since cross-boundary passenger movements remain restricted, the new office premiums from mainland visitors slumped 81.9 percent to HK$6.5 billion in the first three quarters, which represent 6.6 percent of the total for individual businesses.

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