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Hong Kong needs a better measure of wealth than GDP

19 11 0
17.05.2018

The publication of Hong Kong’s latest real gross domestic product figures raised about as much excitement as a lettuce at a vegan convention. Yet someone worked hard on those numbers so I thought I would take a closer look.

It seems that economic growth is storming, jumping 4.7 per cent in the first quarter of 2018. That thrashed analyst’s estimates of 3.3 per cent and soared above the 3.4 per cent growth of last quarter; marking the sixth quarter of above-trend growth. And if these things make any sense to you (it seems like a fudge to me), the seasonally adjusted comparison increased by 2.2 per cent in the first quarter, up from 0.8 per cent in the fourth quarter of last year.

Economic growth for 2017 was 3.8 per cent as a whole (after just 2.1 per cent in 2016).

Whichever way you cut it, the economy is booming; as the government press release brain-numbingly put it, “External demand picked up as the global economy sustained broad-based momentum. Domestic demand also strengthened, buttressed by favourable labour market conditions and positive business sentiment.” In plain English, the more excitable Hang Seng jumped 35 per cent last year, while secondary home prices rose for 21 consecutive months to December – the longest stretch since 1993. Local consumers and tourists remained headily optimistic and pushed retail sales up by 11.4 per cent in March.

The export of goods to the mainland,........

© South China Morning Post