During the first quarter of 2017 the average waiting times of industrial orders by local exporters stood at 2.4 months, posting an increase of 14.3 per cent when compared to 2.1 months recorded in the previous quarter.
According to the latest data released by the Macao Economic Services (DSE), the average waiting months in the first three months of this year is lower than the same period last year (3.1 months), down 22.6 per cent.
Regarding types of product, the waiting time for pharmaceutical products and garment manufacturing have the longest months, at 4.9 and 4.2 months, respectively.
The waiting times of orders for pharmaceutical products has increased by 48.5 per cent quarter-to-quarter but dropped by 16.9 per cent year-on-year.
Meanwhile, the waiting time for garment manufacturing has both increased quarterly and annually, up 44.8 per cent and 40 per cent, respectively.
When asked about the estimation of market performance in the coming six months, some 7.7 per cent of respondents expressed a positive outlook, posting a drop of 18.4 percentage points when compared to 26.1 per cent registered in the previous quarter.
The percentage also declined by 2.4 percentage points when compared to 10.1 per cent in the same quarter a year ago.
The majority – 89 per cent of respondents – perceived future performance would be more or less the same, up 24.5 percentage points quarter-to-quarter.
In terms of the usage frequency of production machines, 93.4 per cent of exporters said frequency remained unchanged.
Shortage of professionals
The issue of limited supply of professionals remained the biggest issue in the fourth quarter of 2017, as revealed by the DSE report.
In particular, companies that produce pharmaceutical products had the biggest demand for personnel, accounting for 82.1 per cent of the total number of respondents.
Overall, the employment for industrial exports dropped 19.4 per cent quarter-to-quarter and 17.3 per cent year-on-year.
The DSE data also revealed that 14.6 per cent of respondents said workers’ salaries had risen in the first quarter, indicating an increase of 11.8 per cent when compared to the final three months of 2016.
The salary rate represented 0.6 per cent, higher than the previous quarter’s 0.05 per cent.
For the outlook of the second quarter, some 26.9 per cent of factories were concerned about rising salaries, while 21.8 per cent and 20.7 per cent worried about the increased price of resources and shortage of personnel, respectively.
The DSE also asked 41 exporters whether any non-tariff related issues had arisen while exporting goods.
Some 98 per cent said they had not encountered any non-tariff related issues although some engaged in producing pharmaceutical products reflected that their exported goods encountered “complex procedures for clearance”, “complex measures of health and quarantine inspections” and “stringent measures for product standards and testing” when reaching Sri Lanka and Nigeria.
Biggest customer: Mainland China
According to DSE data, Mainland China remained the biggest customer of Macau’s industrial exports, standing at the index rate of 23.9 in April 2017.
Following Mainland China, the United States, as evidenced by the data, positioned as the second biggest customer, registering on the index at 15.8.
Japan, which had previously registered a negative 14.3 index rate in the first month of this year, achieved 10.7 for April.