More competitive Macau has jumped from 15th to 13th in the latest report on the overall competitiveness of China’s cities. The 2010 annual report on China’s urban competitiveness is the eighth of its kind released by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences after a comprehensive survey of almost 100 Chinese cities. The report released that the top ten competitive cities are Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Shanghai, Beijing, Taipei, Guangzhou, Tianjin, Kaohsiung, Dalian and Qingdao. Of them, three are from the Pearl River Delta, one is from the Yangtze River Delta, two are from Taiwan, three are from around the Bohai Sea region and one is from north-eastern China. In terms of sub-competitiveness factors, Macau’s economic efficiency was ranked in 6th place overall. Macau took second spot in the ranking regarding economic levels. Forex reserves up again The preliminary estimate of Macau’s foreign exchange reserves amounted to MOP156.2 billion (USD19.53 billion) at the end of March. The reserves rose by 4.3 percent from MOP149.8 billion (USD18.73 billion) for the previous month, the Monetary Authority of Macau said. This is an increase of MOP21.8 billion or 16.3 percent on last year. Macau’s foreign exchange reserves at end-March 2010 represented 29 times the currency in circulation or 254 percent of patacas M2 at end-February 2010. The trade-weighted effective exchange rate index for the pataca, a gauge of the domestic currency’s exchange rates against the currencies of Macau’s major trading partners, rose by 0.25 points month-to-month but fell by 2.73 points year-on-year to 90.53 in March 2010. Adelson’s pay goes up Las Vegas Sands chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson got a raise in his pay package last year. He was paid US$5.58 million (MOP44.64 million) in 2009, according to an Associated Press analysis of a regulatory filing. The pay package included a US$1 million salary and US$2.73 million in perks – including US$2.45 million for security for Adelson and his immediate family – besides stock awards, option awards, car and driver and US$100,000 for the reimbursement of professional fees. Adelson got US$3.4 million in 2008, but this did not include roughly US$2.1 million for security. Tax Break for green cars Macau is preparing to launch a tax-reduction scheme for purchases of environmentally-friendly vehicles. The scheme is to be put forward still this year – after a period of public consultation – according to the Environmental Protection Bureau (DSPA) director Cheong Sio Kei. Hong Kong announced a similar scheme last year to encourage “green driving”. Zaia show to stay Cirque du Soleil’s Zaia show has no plans to leave Venetian Macau, the senior vice-president for resident shows, Jerry Nadal, told Macau Daily Times. “As far as we’re concerned, we have eight more years to run on our contract with the Venetian,” he said, adding there had been no discussions about scrapping the show. Nadal admits audience numbers have been far from what were expected, but claims things are changing. He also revealed that early-stage conversations have been held with the Venetian about entertainment possibilities for other properties under construction. Green hotels unveiled The third Green Hotel Awards winners have been announced and they are: The Grand Waldo Hotel, Hotel Golden Dragon, Sands Macau Hotel, Hotel of Taipasquare, MGM Grand Macau, Wynn Macau and Hotel Guia Macau. The awards are effective for three years. A total of 19 hotels have been awarded as Green Hotels since 2007, which covers about 40 percent of hotel rooms in Macau. The award is organised by the Environmental Protection Bureau in collaboration with the Macau Government Tourist Office and supported by several local associations. It is designed to leverage the importance of environmental management within the sector, and honour hotel establishments that have committed to environmental management. Prices rising The composite Consumer Price Index (CPI) for March 2010 increased by 1.88 percent year-on-year, attributable to increases in the price of food and non-alcoholic beverages. Price indices for transport and clothing and footwear rose by 8.40 percent and 5.51 percent respectively, on account of expensive gasoline and the arrival of new Spring clothing. The composite CPI for March 2010 decreased by 0.25 percent month-to-month. The average composite CPI for the first quarter of 2010 increased by 1.52 percent year-on-year. For the 12 months ending March 2010, the average Composite CPI rose by 0.74 percent over the preceding period. TV switch off Six public antenna companies gave up broadcasting four TV channels starting April 19. The TV channels are Celestial Movies and Thailand’s “TrueSport” 1, 2 and 3 channels. The Telecommunications Regulation Bureau (DSRT) director Lawrence Tou Veng Keong welcomed the decision and said it will have “positive effects”. Tou stressed the move “is part of a process, not an isolated action” and added the government will continue negotiations with the public antenna companies in order to gradually remove other channels which Macau Cable TV allege abuse copyright breaches. Tou added that the government will maintain conversations with both Cable TV and public antenna companies in order to solve the conflict, without affecting the public interest. The public antenna companies are accused by Macau Cable TV of providing TV signals for American and European content without license or authorisation from respective copyright owners. Imports up for four monthsFebruary this year became the fouth month in a row to register a rise in imports, up by 9.2 percent year-on-year to MOP2.89 billion. However exports continued to decline, down by 24.5 percent year-on-year to MOP461 million, according to official data. A trade deficit of MOP2.43 billion was recorded for February 2010. Exports to Hong Kong in the first two months of 2010 increased by 6.4 percent year-on-year to MOP479 million, while those to the mainland, the USA and the EU decreased by 26.5 percent, 62.1 percent and 48.5 percent respectively. Slight pay cut for Steve Wynn Wynn Resorts CEO Steve Wynn was paid US$8.39 million (MOP67.1 million) last year. Wynn’s renumeration was down less than one percent year-on-year, according to an Associated Press analysis of a regulatory filing. Wynn received US$2.95 million in salary, plus a US$4.06 million cash bonus. He also got US$1.37 million in perks, mostly for personal use of a company aircraft.