Here Are the Winners and Losers in Hong Kong’s Latest Budget
(Bloomberg) -- Hong Kong’s government announced a HK$120 billion ($15.5 billion) stimulus in its latest budget to support businesses and individuals struggling from the global pandemic.
Financial Secretary Paul Chan announced measures including consumption vouchers, tax breaks and loan guarantees for the unemployed. However, not all of the measures were received warmly, with the announcement of an increase in the stamp duty for stock trades sending shares tumbling.
Here’s a closer look at who stands to benefit, and who loses out in the budget:
- Hong Kong’s stock exchange, traders: Chan proposed increasing the stamp duty for stock trading to 0.13% from 0.1%, the first increase since 1993. Shares of Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd. plunged the most in more than five years and sparked a broad selloff.
- Taxpayers: Tax deductions for businesses and individuals will be halved to a HK$10,000 ceiling this year, compared with HK$20,000 a year ago.
- Car owners: The government is increasing the first-time registration tax for private cars by 15% and the vehicle license fee by 30%, effective today.
- Civil servants: Chan proposed freezing or cutting ordinary government spending through March 2023 to save almost HK$4 billion and help avoid cutting livelihood-related spending.
- Retailers, households: The government will hand out HK$5,000 consumption vouchers to every adult permanent resident and new arrival — or HK$36 billion in total — to encourage local spending. The unemployed will also benefit from a loan guarantee program with a ceiling of HK$80,000 per person.
- Job seekers: The government is earmarking HK$6.6 billion to create about 30,000 “time-limited” jobs for a period of as long as 12 months.
- Tourism: The measures to support the battered industry include HK$765 million to the Hong Kong Tourism Board, as well as HK$169 million for local projects.
- Outdoor enthusiasts: HK$500 million to enhance facilities in country parks, including lookout points, treetop adventure and glamping sites, improving toilet facilities.
- Soccer Lovers: More than HK$300 million into a five-year plan to build and upgrade soccer fields.
- Property developers: Land sale program for coming year totals 15 residential and three commercial sites.
- Green initiatives: Hong Kong will issue green bonds totaling HK$175.5 billion within next five years, HK$1 billion to install renewable energy systems in government buildings, HK$1 billion into the Recycling Fund, HK$150 million for energy audits and free energy-saving appliances for social welfare non-governmental organizations.
- Green motorists: The government will waive as much as HK$287,500 on registration costs for buyers of new electric cars who scrap their gas guzzlers. The previous cap was HK$250,000.
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