SCMP Tuesday, October 9, 2001


Leung: too early to predict economic impact of attacks

SOPHIA CHU

Updated at 4.01pm:
Financial Secretary Antony Leung Kam-chung said on Monday it was too early to predict how last night's military strikes in Afghanistan would affect Hong Kong's economy.
''Obviously a lot of people have expected that there would be military action,'' said Mr Leung, after meeting with SAR bankers.
''How it will exactly affect the economy is something that is difficult to accurately predict...''
Mr Leung said the attacks had removed lingering uncertainty from the markets.
''For the markets that are most concerned about uncertainty, with military action happening it has eliminated a bit of uncertainty,'' he said.
He said the SAR would be closely monitoring the impact of the anti-terrorist strikes, launched by the United States and Britain.
Mr Leung also discussed other economic issues with bank executives. He said bankers had agreed to co-operate with the Government to help property owners with negative equity.
''The executives are sympathetic and they will arrange for a reduction in [mortgage] rates if the circumstances allow, as well as in lengthening repayment and that kind of thing, '' he added.