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Hong Kong faces deepening economic crisis

Hong Kong’s economy faces a deepening recession as a result of the virus outbreak. Businesses in the territory have already been hit hard by months of sometimes violent street protests that have forced shops to close and transport to shut down.

A sign outside a shop in Hong Kong saying it has sold out of face masks, alcohol wipes, and alcohol gels.

A sign outside a shop in Hong Kong saying it has sold out of face masks, alcohol wipes, and alcohol gels. Photograph: Katherine Cheng/SOPA Images/REX/Shutterstock

The economy shrank 1.2% last year and economists at Fitch Solutions reckon it will contract by 2.6% this year with the vital retail sector brought ot its knees as the lucrative flow of Chinese tourists dries up thanks to the government’s new quarantine rules and airlines suspend flights in and out.

The sense of crisis has been heightened by panic buying in shops and supermarkets.

Read my full report here:

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There were long queues in supermarket across Hong Kong last night, with people panic buying toilet rolls and tissues, largely due to a rumour spreading online saying China will stop manufacturing toilet paper for the next two weeks. There was also a run on vitamins, rice and packet noodles, leaving supermarket shelves empty.

Empty shelves in a Hong Kong supermarket.

Empty shelves in a Hong Kong supermarket. Photograph: Verna Yu

Alison Rourke

Pictures of people panic buying in Hong Kong, including for toilet paper, are circulating on social media. #coronavirus

February 6, 2020


Around 10,000 Hongkongers, many of whom camped overnight, queued up to buy masks amid a lack of supply and fears of coronavirus infection

February 6, 2020


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