HK economy slows on weak global demand

HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong's economy lost some steam in the third quarter on weak global demand for exports from the trade-reliant Asian financial center.

The government said Friday an exception to the weakness was the "key driving force" of strong tourist demand.

The former British colony is an increasingly popular destination for mainland Chinese visitors shopping for luxury goods, apartments and baby formula.

Some 30 million free-spending mainlanders visited the semiautonomous Chinese city of 7.1 million in the first nine months of the year. That's up 19 percent from last year.

Economic output grew 2.9 percent in the July-September period, down from 3.2 percent a year earlier. On a seasonally adjusted basis, it grew 0.5 percent from the previous quarter.

Full year growth is forecast at 3 percent.