(Xinhua/Cheong Kam Ka)

Highest predicted economic growth in 2021 at 41.5 per cent – UM

The Macau economy could finish 2021 with a growth rate of 41.5 per cent, the highest possible scenario considered by the latest by the University of Macau’s (UM) Centre for Macau Studies and Department of Economic forecasts.

“Macao experienced a severe economic contraction in 2020. Although there will be a recovery in 2021, the projected GDP does not yet reach the level of 2019, and the income of many residents has fallen,” UM researchers indicate in the 2021 Macao Macroeconomic Forecast report.

Due to the “lack of a clear process of vaccination and the uncertainty regarding the speed of the Macau SAR government’s relaxation of travel restrictions”, the research team contemplated four baseline scenarios for the number of visitor arrivals in 2021 to reflect different recovery speeds.

These four estimates consider 2021 to finish with 13.8 million visitor arrivals (35 per cent of the number in 2019), 17.7 million visitor arrivals (45 per cent of the number in 2019), 19.7 million visitor arrivals (half of the number in 2019), and 21.7 million visitor arrivals (55 per cent of the number in 2019), or a forecasted economic growth of 21.4 per cent, 27.7 per cent, 30.4 per cent, and 33.5 per cent, respectively.

The UM economic researchers also expect the median monthly employment earnings are projected to increase by 1 per cent, with the unemployment rate projected to be between 2.2 per cent to 2.3 per cent, as compared to 2.5 per cent in 2020.

“Excluding non-resident workers, the unemployment rate among residents is projected to range between 3.2 per cent and 3.3 per cent, as compared to 3.6 per cent in 2020,” the report added.

Government revenue – excluding reimbursement from government reserve – is also projected to be between MOP59.3 billion and MOP73.9 billion.

Most of the local government revenue is generated by taxes on gaming revenues, with the public purse collecting MOP29.8 billion in gaming taxes in 2020, a 73.6 per cent drop from the previous year as gross gaming revenues also plunged by 79.3 per cent to MOP60.4 billion.