Hong Kong economy seen slowing in Q4 - university

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HONG KONG, Oct 3 (Reuters) Hong Kong's economy will slow in the fourth quarter, expanding by 5.5 percent from a year earlier, down from an estimated 6 percent in the third quarter, economists at the University of Hong Kong forecast on Wednesday.

Weakening exports will curb economic growth in the final quarter of this year amid slower global growth, particularly in the United States -- Hong Kong's biggest export market after China -- the economists said.

Consumption, supported by wage growth and falling unemployment, should remain solid although growth in private consumption expenditure in the final quarter will ease to 6 percent from a year earlier compared with an estimated 6.6 percent in the third quarter, the university said.

It sees fixed capital formation rising 6 percent in the fourth quarter from a year earlier, picking up slightly from an estimated 5.9 percent in the third quarter.

The university forecasts gross domestic product will rise 6 percent in 2007, in line with forecasts from a recent Reuters poll, but down from average annual growth of 7.7 percent in the past three years.

In the first half of 2007, the economy expanded by 6.3 percent.

REUTERS SR BD1713

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