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Moody's moody tune
Last Updated: 2016-03-15 09:21 | China Daily HK Edition
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After Moody's downgraded Hong Kong's economic outlook from "stable" to "negative" last week by painting a gloomy picture of the Chinese mainland's economic prospects, some local media, as expected, jumped on the doomsayer's bandwagon and began blaming the mainland for an impending hard time in Hong Kong.

The US-based ratings agency is well known for its questionable views on the mainland's economic outlook over the years, and has been proven wrong many times. Its latest display of pessimism was immediately challenged by the central government, while Hong Kong's Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah lost little time in dispelling Moody's unfounded "worries".

Tsang pointed out that the SAR's sound economic fundamentals, robust financial regulatory regime, resilient banking sector and a strong fiscal position will continue to enable the economy to face the challenges ahead. Besides, he added, while Moody's has changed the rating outlook, it continues to recognize Hong Kong's credit strengths and strong economic fundamentals, and keeps the city's credit rating unchanged at "Aa1".

As many commentators noted over the weekend, Moody's negative views on the SAR's economy are based mainly on the city's growing links with the mainland economy, the outlook of which the ratings agency had downgraded several days earlier. Such negative opinions of the mainland's economy are nothing new, and do pop up here and there all the time, but have yet to come true after all these years. They sound increasingly like ill wishes that never materialize than anything else.

The SAR government said on Saturday Moody's comments on the mainland interference in Hong Kong's policy formulation and implementation, as well as the political risks arising from our political links with the mainland, are all purely speculative and subjective statements. Indeed, this is not the first time Moody's has risked its own credibility by using perceived "dangers" instead of facts as excuses for presenting China's economic outlook in a bad light. And, this time, its claims are just as unfounded as ever although they do echo the US government's recent badmouthing of the central government's handling of Hong Kong affairs.

As the SAR government reiterated, Hong Kong has been exercising a high degree of autonomy and enjoying executive, legislative and independent judicial powers, including that of final adjudication in accordance with the Basic Law. There has been no evidence of mainland interference in Hong Kong affairs or local institutions losing independence over time. In fact, the successful implementation of the "One Country, Two Systems" principle is widely recognized by the international community.

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