The chief executive of the SAR predicts a slow recovery for an economy severely hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Macau.- The chief executive of the SAR, Ho Iat Seng, has said in his 2021 policy address that the government now estimates that final GDP will be down by 60.9 per cent this year.
That’s a steeper decline than the fall of 52.3 per cent predicted by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) last month.
During his speech, Ho Iat Seng stressed that “the forecast for the next year appears to be positive.”
He said: “[if the] pandemic situation in Macau and neighbouring regions remains controlled and improved, GDP may reach double-digit annual growth.”
He added: “The economy is expected to gradually recover its growth. As soon as the gaming and tourism sectors recover their growth, and with the further development of new industries, the employment situation and product prices will stabilise.”
He noted however that “most sectors and small and medium-sized enterprises [will] continue to experience economic difficulties”.
He said: “Border control of entry and exit, carried out by other visitor markets and mainland China, remains rigorous, which constitutes an obstacle to the rapid economic recovery of Macau. The increase in the number of visitors is also a risk factor, in epidemiological terms, with the possibility of the pandemic situation to fluctuate still being large”.
The SAR registered its first case of Covid-19 on January 22 and adopted tough measures to control the spread of the virus, such as the closure of casinos for 15 days, a plan to distribute masks and tight border controls.