Hong Kong fiscal reserves under threat as public expenditure soars

 Hong Kong fiscal reserves under threat as public expenditure soars

Hong Kong’s renowned fiscal reserves are at risk after the city’s opposition-free legislature approved record public expenditure over the past year, analysts have warned.

Experts added that finances would come under even greater strain as the city prepared to build projects that would facilitate greater integration between the territory and the Chinese mainland.

Lawmakers approved more than HK$305bn (US$39bn) in the 2020-21 legislative session, which ended in October, for government projects, a nine-year high. Politicians discussed each scheme for just 46 minutes on average, down from about two hours in previous years, before giving them the green light.

Critics said the spending revealed that the legislature had become the government’s “de facto ATM machine”.

The Asian financial hub has long been known for its huge fiscal reserves, accumulated mostly from land sales and taxes. But by September this year, the city’s…

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