The Hong Kong economy grew at a slower pace in the third quarter due to the base effect and the stronger-than-expected economic performance in the first half of the year.

Gross domestic product grew 5.4 percent year-on-year, slower than the 7.6 percent expansion in the second quarter, the advance estimates from the Census and Statistics Department showed on Monday. This was also weaker than the economists’ forecast of 5.8 percent.

Quarter-on-quarter, GDP grew only 0.1 percent in the third quarter.

Hong Kong’s economy largely treaded water last quarter, with weaker exports and investment meaning the rebound from the second quarter’s downturn was much more tepid than expected, Sheana Yue, an economist at Capital Economics, said. The pace of recovery is likely to remain muted until mainland tourists return.

Growth in private consumption expenditure slowed slightly to 7 percent annually from 7.2 percent in the second quarter. Meanwhile, government spending advanced at a faster pace of 4.1 percent, after the 3.0 percent increase in the second quarter.

Gross domestic fixed capital formation logged an annual growth of 11.0 percent, much slower than the 23.9 percent growth posted in the second quarter.

Exports of goods were up 14.3 percent and imports of goods climbed 16.5 percent in real terms. At the same time, shipments of services gained 4.0 percent and imports grew 6.4 percent in the third quarter.

Looking ahead, the global economic recovery should render further support to Hong Kong’s merchandise exports, a government spokesman said.

Locally, improving employment and income conditions, together with the Consumption Voucher Scheme, should remain supportive to consumption-related sectors in the near term, spokesman added.

More detailed statistics for the third quarter will be released on November 12.


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