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HK to restore fiscal balance in current fiscal year
2006-02-22 03:28:08 Xinhua English
HONG KONG, Feb. 22(Xinhuanet)-- Hong Kong Financial Secretary Henry Tang announced Wednesday the government will restore fiscal balance in the current fiscal year to end on March 31 in both the operating and consolidated accounts for the first time in eight years-- three years ahead of schedule.

Strong economic performance in 2005 coupled with the government's spending cuts would result in a 5.8 billion(748 million U.S. dollars) operating surplus and a 4.1 billion HK dollars(529 million U.S. dollars) consolidated surplus for the 2005-06 financial year, he said while unveiling his 2006-07 budget.

He said other fiscal targets would also be met ahead of schedule. Operating expenditure fell for the second year in a row in 2005-06, and stayed below 200 billion HK dollars(25.8 billion U.S. dollars), while public spending fell and remained below 20 percent of GDP starting from 2004-05.

Tang said positive economic performance underscored the recovery's strength. About 240,000 new jobs were created over the past two years, triggering a record high employment of 3.43 million, unemployment at a four-year low of 5.2 percent and a fall of 36,000 in the number of long-term unemployed.

He forecast GDP growth of 4 percent-5 percent in 2006 and average consumer price inflation of 2.3 percent for the year as a whole. Enditem

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