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Gov't report projects first Hong Kong recession in 10 years

By Clyde Hughes
Gov't report projects first Hong Kong recession in 10 years
Police guard an area where a protester was shot in Hong Kong on Monday. Photo by Jerome Favre/EPA-EFE

Nov. 15 (UPI) -- A government report Friday projected a recession for the Hong Kong economy in 2019, which would be its first in a decade.

The forecast said the Hong Kong economy will have contracted by 1.3 percent by the end of the year, in no small part due to ongoing political protests that began to reject a proposed extradition law but have grown to include numerous issues.

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The U.S.-China trade conflict and economic downturns elsewhere in the world were other cited influences.

If it ultimately does reflect a recession, it would be Hong Kong's first since 2009.

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The territory's economy was initially projected to grow by as much as 3 percent this year before economists slashed that outlook in August.

Activists and police clashed again this week, this time in Hong Kong's financial district during working hours, which marked a change in tactics for rallies that had previously been staged on weekends.

Chinese President Xi Jinping called for the violence to end and for order to be restored. During a trip to Brazil, Xi said the protests have shaken Hong Kong's stability.

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"We will continue to firmly support [leader Carrie Lam] in leading the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government to govern in accordance with the law, firmly support the Hong Kong police in strictly enforcing the law, and firmly support the Hong Kong judicial bodies in severely punishing the violent criminals in accordance with the law," Xi said.

Activists on Thursday blocked major roadways and forced schools to close after two were critically injured in prior clashes with police.

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