Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Macao’s gross domestic product (GDP) dropped 48.7 per cent year-on-year in real terms in the first quarter of the year, the Statistics and Census Bureau (DSEC) announced today. Official statistics also point to a fall of 93.2 per cent year-on-year on gross gaming revenue.
A DSEC statement noted that the novel coronavirus pandemic “has significantly dampened global economic activity”, adding that Macao’s economy, which is mainly exports of services, has been “severely hit” by COVID-19, “with a substantial decline in total demand”, despite the fact that Macao has been spared a community outbreak of the highly contagious disease.
In terms of external demand, exports of services dropped 60.0 per cent year-on-year, with exports of gaming services and other tourism services falling by 61.5 per cent and 63.9 per cent respectively; moreover, exports of goods recorded a decrease of 23.5 per cent.
Domestic demand slid further by 17.5 per cent year-on-year, dragged down by the reduction in investment in fixed assets and private consumption expenditure.
On the other hand, government final consumption expenditure rose 5.0 per cent. Imports of goods and services went down 30.8 per cent and 30.3 per cent respectively.
Private consumption decreased 15.2 per cent year-on-year amid the epidemic, as residents went out less and made much fewer trips abroad while economic outlook remained uncertain, bureau said.
Household final consumption expenditure domestically an externally and abroad fell 11.9 per cent and 44.3 per cent respectively.
Investment in fixed assets declined further by 37.2 per cent year-on-year, with construction investment and equipment investment dropping 37.0 per cent and 37.8 per cent respectively.
Meanwhile, public construction investment rose 47.8 per cent year-on-year on account of increased investment in infrastructure by the government.
Concerning private investment, private construction investment and equipment investment slid by 45.3 per cent and 38.1 per cent respectively, owing to the successive completion of large-scale construction projects and reduced number of new construction projects, while the slowdown in progress of construction projects and a decrease in the number of real estate transactions amid the epidemic also contributed to the decline, the statement said.
Total demand decreased and external merchandise trade showed weak performance. Imports of goods dropped 30.8 per cent year-on-year due to reduction in private consumption, investment and visitor spending. External demand slowed down, with exports of goods falling by 23.5 per cent.
Affected by the travel restriction measures in different places, the number of visitor arrivals to Macao has declined since the Chinese New Year, with the number in the first quarter plummeting 68.9 per cent year-on-year, which pushed down exports of gaming services and other tourism services by 61.5 per cent and 63.9 per cent respectively. Imports of services dropped 30.3 per cent year-on-year owing to a decrease in outbound trips made by residents and a slowdown in other economic activity, the statement concluded.
Also today, the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ) announced that Macao’s gross revenue from games of chance fell 93.2 per cent year-on-year to MOP 1.76 billion (US$221 million) last month. It was the second steepest year-on-year decline this year, after April’s 96.8 per cent plunge.
However, gross gaming revenue was up 134 per cent month-on-month. April’s revenue amounted to a mere MOP 754 million, the lowest of any month this year.
Casinos’ revenue in the first five months dropped 73.7 per cent to MOP 33.0 billion.
At the end of March (the latest available DICJ data), Macao had 41 casinos owned by the city’s six rival operators. Four of the casinos had their operations suspended.
At the end of the first quarter, the gaming industry had 5,533 gaming tables in operation, a decline of 17.9 per cent from the end of last year. The number of slot machines in operation decreased by 57.5 per cent quarter-on-quarter to 7,216.
(The Macau Post Daily/Macau News)
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