By Poyi (Natalie) Leung
The value of the gross domestic product (GDP) for the whole year of 2010 is expected to report a double-digital growth of no more than 30 percent, secretary for Economy and Finance Francis Tam Pak Yuen disclosed yesterday.
He made the statement to reporters at the Macau International Airport before departing for the 14th China International Fair for Investment and Trade in Xiamen.
Macau’s GDP in the first quarter of this year showed a 31.4 percent increase in comparison with the same period of 2009, which, according to Tam, was “quite a large growth”. He explained that the local economy was still under the influence of the global financial crisis in the first half of 2009.
“It was by the third quarter of 2009 that the economy started to recover and show a better performance,” he said.
The Statistics and Census Service (DSEC) revised upward the initial GDP increase from 30.1 to 31.4 percent for the first three months of 2010, a statement released yesterday detailed.
In addition, the secretary said that the GDP value for the second quarter of 2010 has surpassed that in the preceding quarter. Although he didn’t give the specific figure, the information was later released by the DSEC.
“GDP for the second quarter of 2010 soared by 49.1 percent in real terms. […] For the first six months of 2010, GDP grew by 40.2 percent in real terms,” a DSEC press statement said.
“The favourable performance of the gaming and tourism sector sustained in the second quarter of 2010, with gross gaming revenue (excluding gratuities) soaring by 76.5 percent year-on-year in nominal terms, and total visitor spending (excluding gaming expenses) rising further from the 14.3 percent increase in the first quarter to 30.9 percent,” the report added.
“It was mainly because the increase in gaming revenue in the first half of this year was larger compared with that in the first half of 2009,” Tam told reporters.
“We also saw some analyses saying that Macau’s gaming revenue from January to August this year has soared over 60 percent than during the same period of 2009,” he added.
However, the secretary pointed out that the GDP growth in the second half of 2010 will “slow down since the same period of 2009 has already entered a stage of recovery”.
“So we speculate that overall Macau will still have a double-digit growth in GDP for the whole year of 2010, but the increase may not be as much as in the first quarter of this year,” he said.
Tam was also asked about the possibility of transferring the Social Security Fund (FSS) department from his portfolio to the secretary for Social Affairs and Culture’s, and while he did not confirm the plan he did stress that such move is “appropriate”.
“The first-tier of the social security system has already passed at the Legislative Assembly and we can see that the departmental functions including responsibilities and personnel structure of the FSS will change in the future,” he said.
In the past the FSS was mainly to provide protection to employees after they retire. But with the newly passed legislation, the social security system has now expanded to provide basic retirement protection to all Macau residents.
“Even if we make such an arrangement in the future to establish a stronger link between the FSS and the functional departments under the portfolio of the secretary for Social Affairs and Culture, this is appropriate,” Tam said.