HONG KONG, March 24 (Xinhua) -- Most of Hong Kong's service industries reported year-on-year drops in business receipts in the fourth quarter of 2019 as violent incidents disrupted economic activities, with that of tourism and convention and exhibition services almost halved, official data showed Tuesday.
Business receipts of the tourism and convention and exhibition services plummeted 49.9 percent from a year ago during the October-December period, the largest since the SARS outbreak in 2003, according to the Census and Statistics Department of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government.
The accommodation sector dropped over 40 percent, the retail and food sectors down by more than 20 percent and nearly 15 percent, respectively. Warehousing and storage and wholesale industries also saw double-digit decreases.
A government spokesman attributed the declines to unrest and chaos that gripped the Asian financial and commercial hub in the second half of 2019. "Hard hit by the local social incidents involving violence, industries related to consumption and tourism saw sharp falls in business receipts."
The service industries will face even greater pressure in the near term as the outbreak of the COVID-19 brought tourism almost to a standstill and caused severe disruptions to a wide range of economic activities, he said.
The government has rolled out a string of measures, including a 30-billion-Hong Kong dollar (3.86-billion-U.S. dollar) anti-epidemic fund to help businesses from retailers to travel agencies weather out the economic hardships.
Tuesday's data also showed the financing industry, except banks, recorded an increase of nearly 10 percent in business receipts in the fourth quarter, followed by the real estate industry up 4.8 percent.