HONG KONG - Hong Kong's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the third quarter of 2011 rose 4.3 percent from a year ago, slowing from the 5.3 percent growth in the second quarter, the city's government said here on Friday.
Helen Chan, the economist at the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government, said the growth moderation was mainly caused by a sharp fall-off in exports towards the quarter end amid an increasingly austere global economic environment.
Chan said the domestic sector nevertheless displayed remarkable resilience throughout the quarter, thereby rendering a strong cushion to overall economic performance.
On a seasonally adjusted quarter-to-quarter basis, the GDP still expanded slightly by 0.1 percent in real terms in the third quarter, after a 0.4 percent decline in the second quarter.
Taking the first three quarters of 2011 together, the real GDP expanded 5.6 percent from a year earlier.
The total exports of goods slackened to a modest year-on-year decline of 2.2 percent in real terms from a year ago in the third quarter.
Exports to the US and the European markets further decreased, with the second round effects of their sluggish final demand also increasingly evident across many Asian markets.
However, the domestic demand held up remarkably well and remained the key growth driver in the third quarter. Private consumption expenditure grew robustly by 8.8 percent in real terms from a year earlier, under the support of rising incomes and job growth.
Overall investment spending picked up to a double-digit growth at 10.2 percent in real terms, with strong machinery and equipment acquisition and infrastructure construction offsetting the slack in private construction activities.
Looking ahead, Chan expected Hong Kong's economic growth to expand 5 percent for the overall 2011, the lower boundary of the earlier range forecast of 5 to 6 percent in the August round.
Chan said the euro zone debt problem will remain a key threat to the global economic outlook, and the weakness in the US economy also warrants concern.