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Hong Kong's finances drained by COVID bills, slumping real estate

Previously ample reserves dwindle as new budget challenges fiscal fitness

HONG KONG -- Hong Kong's once-swollen war chest is being drained to levels not seen in years as huge COVID bills and the cost of propping up a pandemic-hit economy challenge its fiscal fitness, economists say.

The global financial hub -- which announces a new budget on Wednesday -- has long boasted ample reserves as levies from a roaring property market filled public coffers in a city with a reputation for low income taxes.

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