Thursday, May 28, 2009

An unstimulating stimulus package

The Hong Kong government unveiled a very underwhelming stimulus package this week. Given the size of the government's reserves a package worth about HK$16 billion (less that USD 2.0 billion), is a relatively trivial effort towards combating recession. That said, it is refreshing to see a government which does practice a degree of fiscal responsibility (unlike many).

At a personal level, we will benefit from an extension of the waiver on rates (property taxes) for another two quarters and an increase in the tax waiver from HKD 6,000 to HKD 8,000 per person. All in all, it is better than nothing but is not otherwise meaningful. To put this into context, the combined effect of the two measures is about equal to 60% of one monthly mortgage payment on our home.

Now if only the government would take some meaningful action to (i) address pollution and (ii) reduce the cost of the bloated and overpaid civil service.

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