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Vehicles down, luxury up and expectations grim for Q1

Motor vehicle sales underwent a 45.7 per cent drop in 2016

Retail sales in the MSAR reached their highest value of 2016 in the fourth quarter, according to the latest data from the Statistics and Census Bureau (DSEC). While there was only a 1.1 per cent increase year-on-year for the quarter, with figures hitting MOP15.89 billion, this still beats the MOP14.8 billion seen in the first quarter, the highest value recorded until yesterday’s data was revealed.
In annual terms, the retail value fell by 6.6 per cent in 2016, amounting to a total of MOP57.5 billion, noticeably affected by the ‘vehicle tax hike at the end of 2015 and the economic adjustment of Macau,’ notes the DSEC.

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The concentration of the retail sales dip was seen primarily in motor vehicle sales, as well as those of motorcycles and parts and accessories. Motor vehicle sales underwent a 45.7 year-on-year drop from 2015 to 2016, while motorcycles and their parts and accessories saw a 35.2 per cent drop year-on-year.
Regarding the fourth quarter, the two automotive segments saw slightly softened falls, with a 43.6 per cent year-on-year drop in motor vehicle sales value and a 25.6 per cent year-on-year drop in sales for motorcycles and parts and accessories. Interestingly, the sales values for the two segments saw upticks quarter-to-quarter, with a 28.5 per cent increase for motor vehicles and a 12.3 per cent increase in motorcycles, parts and accessories.

The above mentioned segments accounted for just 6.1 per cent of overall retail sales, which were dominated by the watches, clocks and jewellery segment, taking up 21 per cent of the fourth quarter total at MOP3.3.4 billion, a 1.6 per cent drop compared to the third quarter. Annual figures for the segment hit MOP11.76 billion, a 14 per cent drop year-on-year in the quarter.
Leather goods, adults clothing, and cosmetics and sanitary articles and goods in pharmacies made up 11.5 per cent, 13.2 per cent, and 7 per cent of the retail sales during the quarter, all of which saw single digit year-on-year growth in the quarter, at 6.1 per cent, 4.1 per cent and 5 per cent growth, respectively.
Over the course of 2016, leather goods saw an 18.1 per cent year-on-year increase, only topped by that of dried seafood, whose sales increased 23.2 per cent during the year compared to 2015.
Noticeable year-on-year drops were seen in communication equipment, which fell 19 per cent year-on-year in the quarter to MOP319 million, and household appliances, which saw a 10.3 per cent year-on-year drop.

For the first quarter of the year, nearly 50 per cent of surveyed retailers predict that sales volumes will remain stable, while only 4 per cent predict them to increase year-on-year.
In terms of pricing, a majority 74.5 per cent predict that retail prices will remain stable, while 8.3 per cent expect prices to increase.
On a quarter-to-quarter comparison, 49.8 per cent of surveyed retailers predict that business performance will deteriorate in the first quarter of 2017, while only 6.8 per cent predict an improvement.
Business segments in which over 50 per cent of respondents predict first quarter results will deteriorate quarter-to-quarter include: goods in supermarkets (50.6 per cent), goods in department stores (61.8 per cent), dried seafood (53.4 per cent), cosmetics and sanitary articles (57 per cent), footwear (66.43 percent), leather goods (56.2 per cent), household appliances (54.5 per cent), furniture and lighting (57.2 per cent), and others (53.2 per cent).