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Hong Kong's economy is expected to grow 3 to 4 percent this year as the financial hub known for its amped up capitalism debates the sustainability of its longer-term finances amid calls to boost welfare spending and narrow the wealth gap.
In his budget speech focused on maintaining Hong Kong's competitiveness, Financial Secretary John Tsang said the city's GDP grew 2.9 percent last year compared with 1.5 percent in 2012, and will likely expand between 3 and 4 percent in 2014.
A Reuters poll of analysts had estimated the city's GDP growth this year to be at an average 3.5 percent.
Headwinds from economic uncertainty in the United States and the tapering of the Federal Reserve's quantitative easing policy could trigger capital outflows and volatility to the free and open economy straddling southern China's coast.