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Gaming growth ends Macao's downturn

Updated: 2009-12-01 17:30

With gaming gross revenues surging by 22.3 percent year-on-year in the third quarter of 2009, Macao saw its GDP expand by 8.2 percent in the period, putting an end to the economic downturn in the previous three quarters.

Being the only place in China where gambling is legal, Macao's gaming sector reaped a total of 31.8 billion patacas (44.03 billion) in gross revenues in the third quarter of this year, and 83.2 billion patacas in the first three quarters, according to the figures from the city's Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau.

The gaming revenues for the third quarter of this year were the highest quarterly revenues ever recorded in Macao so far.

Under Macao's relevant regulations, local casinos must pay 35 percent of their income as direct gaming taxes to the government, which accounted for over 70 percent of local government's total revenues.

The monthly gross gaming revenues for next year were expected to be about eight billion patacas, said Tam Pak Yuen, secretary for economy and finance of the Macao special administrative region (SAR) government. He made the remark when presenting the SAR government's 2010 budget bill to local legislature.

Local gaming sector saw its monthly gross revenues exceed 10 billion patacas respectively in August, September and October this year.

Tam also said that the SAR government's direct gaming tax income was expected to reach 33.8 billion for the whole of next year.

Aside from gaming revenues, other major GDP components registered mixed results in the third quarter.

Private consumption expenditure dropped by 1.2 percent in the period, moderating from the 2.1 percent decrease in the previous quarter, and household final consumption expenditure in the domestic market fell marginally by 0.1 percent, according to the figures released on Monday by the SAR's Statistics and Census Bureau (DSEC).

The decline of total visitor spending (excluding gaming expenses) also tapered significantly from 20.6 percent in the second quarter to 10.2 percent in the period.

The latest official figures indicated that Macao's visitor arrivals increased by 5.2 percent year-on-year to over 1.9 million in October this year, of which 54.1 percent came from the Chinese mainland.

Related readings:
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Gaming growth ends Macao's downturn Macao's visitor expenditure drops 5% in Q1

Total government investment expanded by 89.3 percent year-on-year in the third quarter, in which construction investment surged by 145.5 percent, while that of equipment went down by 5.6 percent. Integrating data of both sectors, decline of the overall construction investment widened further from 32.4 percent in the second quarter to 48.5 percent in the third quarter.

However, the SAR's gross fixed capital formation contracted by 41.3 percent, slackening further from the 30.3 percent decrease in the second quarter, and total private investment also shrank by 46.1 percent, with construction and equipment investment decreasing by 54.2 percent and 14.4 percent respectively, the DSEC figures indicated.

In terms of visible trade, decline of the total value of merchandise exports tapered off from the second quarter to register decrease of 54.4 percent.

Analyzed by destination, merchandise exports to the United States, the European Union, the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong decreased by 82.7 percent, 60.8 percent, 48.5 percent and 11.1 percent respectively.

Meanwhile, total merchandise imports also saw smaller decline from the previous quarter to drop by 18.5 percent year-on-year in the period. As regards invisible trade (exports of services), exports of gaming services increased by 22.6 percent.

Overall exports of services also grew by 15.8 percent year-on-year, putting an end to the deceleration for three consecutive quarters since the fourth quarter of 2008, while the decline of imports of services also narrowed noticeably from 22.4 percent in the second quarter this year to 7.2 percent in the period, according to the DSEC.