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FS' response to interest rate cut in the US


A question on the latest interest rate cut in the US was put to the Financial Secretary, Mr Antony Leung, at a press conference on "Revitalizing Asian Tourism" today (June 26). His response is as follows:

Reporter: I'm from TVB Pearl. Mr Leung, can you please repeat in English again the previous question about the lower interest rate? And the other question is, unfortunately, yesterday there is an exported [SARS] case of an old woman. How would you see this influence on Hong Kong as being the venue of the forum in July?

FS: Firstly, yesterday we had a reduction in the US interest rate, in a way that was very much widely expected by the market. A low-interest environment is important to Hong Kong because it would maintain the economic activities. For our major export markets, a lower US interest rate will also have a stimulating effect. Hong Kong being a very open economy, and we depend a lot on exports, a low interest rate environment in our major markets is very important. And in the foreseeable future, the analysts are predicting that the interest rate in the United States will remain at a low level for quite some time, and that too is positive for Hong Kong's economy.

Yesterday, we had a case that a Hong Kong resident was confirmed to be having SARS. We believe that this is an isolated incident and should not affect Hong Kong as a SARS-free environment. As the Chief Executive has said many, many times and as Government officials have repeated many times, Hong Kong must remain vigilant in disease control and I believe this is a point that we encourage all citizens to be mindful of. And even though Hong Kong is now off the SARS-infected areas list, we should remain vigilant in making sure that we stay clean and take all measures to ensure that Hong Kong is a cleaner and safer city than before.

(Please also refer to the Chinese portion)

End/Thursday, June 26, 2003


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