Macau’s gross domestic product (GDP) expanded by 10.3 percent year-on-year in real terms in the first quarter of 2017, according to data released on Monday by the city’s Statistics and Census Service. It was the third consecutive quarter of growth, according to the bureau.
The increase took Macau’s GDP in the three months to March 31 to about MOP93.58 billion (US$11.70 billion).
Such growth was attributable “to the improving exports of services and investment, as well as a relatively lower base of comparison in the first quarter of last year,” said the statistics bureau.
Exports of gaming services grew by 11.3 percent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2017. Gaming services in Macau are included in exports when calculating the city’s GDP, in order to reflect expenditure by tourists in the city’s casinos.
Exports of other tourism services also went up, by 20.9 percent, according to Monday’s data.
It had been reported on April 1 by the city’s casino regulator, the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, that total casino gross gaming revenue (GGR) for the first three months of 2017 had expanded by 13.0 percent year-on-year.
Ratings agency Moody’s Investors Service last week upgraded Macau’s outlook based on the recovery of the city’s gaming industry. Moody’s affirmed Macau’s government debt issuer rating at “Aa3” and upgraded the outlook to “stable” from “negative”.
The ratings agency said that Macau continues to extend “its long track record of fiscal surpluses”, adding that it expected the Macau government to “continue to run budget surpluses and accumulate fiscal reserves in coming years”.
The Macau government has recorded total revenue of MOP35.90 billion for the first four months of 2017, up by 10.6 percent compared to the same period last year. In the four months to April 30, the government surplus – the amount by which revenue exceeded spending – increased by 28.8 percent year-on-year, to MOP19.08 billion.
“We expect the current account surplus to increase to 28 percent of GDP in 2018, as gaming and tourism recover, remaining well above that of rating peers,” said Moody’s in the report issued on May 24.
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"The most worrying [thing] is whether [mainland] China will again tighten the issuance of travel visas [for visits to Macau]"
Luiz Lam Kai Kuong
Macau junket investor