(Bloomberg) -- Hong Kong’s leader pledged more relief measures in the wake of data showing that the city’s unrest drove a record contraction in retail sales in October.
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam told reporters Tuesday that the government will soon announce new moves to prop up the city’s flagging economy after almost six months of protests and political turmoil. She didn’t elaborate on what the measures would entail.
October retail sales by value contracted by 24.3% year on year, the fourth month of double-digit declines. On Monday, Financial Secretary Paul Chan told lawmakers he expected the first budget deficit since the early 2000s for the fiscal year, and said that the ongoing turmoil has hurt economic growth by some 2 percentage points this year.
“I hope we can find a way to stop the violence, so there’s a chance for our economy to come back, but it seems that hope is dashed,” Lam said. “I hope very much that violence will stop as soon as possible.”
Lam condemned U.S. legislation supporting Hong Kong’s protesters as unnecessary and unwarranted, in her first comments since President Donald Trump signed two bills into law. “It creates an unstable and uncertain environment,” she said, adding that Hong Kong would follow Beijing’s lead on instituting countermeasures to retaliate against the action.
Her remarks came shortly after protesters returned to the city’s streets following a landslide win by pro-democracy candidates in local elections. Lam reaffirmed her refusal to meet anymore of the protesters’ demands, including calls for an independent commission of inquiry into the causes of the unrest and alleged police abuses.
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