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International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept

IMF Country Report No. 22/120

International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept

IMF Country Report No. 22/121

International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept

KEY MESSAGESSetting. Discussions took place for the first time since the handover of Macao SAR from Portugal to China in 1999. Prudent macroeconomic management has underpinned rapid development in the territory, which is now the world’s largest gaming center. As a small, open and tourism-dependent economy, Macao SAR is currently also benefiting from loose global monetary conditions and a Mainland-related boom.Outlook and risks. Growth should stay strong over the next few years at 8–10 percent buoyed by gaming exports and investment, with inflation remaining around 5–5½ percent. However, the economy is vulnerable to external shocks, in particular a slowdown in tourism, due to shocks in the Mainland or Hong Kong SAR or other setbacks to the global recovery. The buoyant property market could also correct if demand fundamentals shift or interest rates rise abruptly with the withdrawal of unconventional monetary policy abroad.Macroeconomic policies. The policy stance is appropriate, with scope for further tightening of macroprudential policies should property prices continue to rise sharply. If downside risks materialize, targeted fiscal stimulus should be used to buttress growth. In the event of a severe property downturn, some countervailing measures could be cautiously unwound. The currency board is the best arrangement for Macao SAR.Financial stability. Important progress has been made in strengthening financial stability in line with the 2011 FSAP recommendations. Prudential measures should focus on managing potential credit and liquidity risks from a gaming slowdown and the property sector, as well as spillovers from shocks in the Mainland and Hong Kong SAR.Longer term challenges. Looking further ahead, Macao SAR’s public finances face a moderation in gaming revenues juxtaposed against spending needs from population aging. A sovereign wealth fund to manage part of the territory’s fiscal reserves and medium-term budgeting could therefore be useful. As the gaming sector matures, economic diversification toward other services will be key for stable growth.

International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept

In recent years, the Macao SAR economy contracted by a cumulative 30 percent due to a sharp fall in spending by gaming tourists from Mainland China. Spillovers to the rest of the economy were relatively contained with unemployment staying under 2 percent and asset quality in the financial sector unaffected. Nonetheless, the size and speed of the shock underscored the need to transition to a more diversified economic model going forward. Fortunately, Macao SAR is entering this transition from a position of strength with large fiscal and external buffers.

International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept

2019 Article IV Consultation Discussions-Press Release; Staff Report; and Statement by the Executive Director for Macao SAR

Yongzheng Yang
Improving market access in industrial countries and retaining preferences have been Africa's two key objectives in the Doha Round trade negotiations. This paper argues that African negotiators may have overlooked the potential market access gains in developing countries, where trade barriers remain relatively high and demand for African imports has expanded substantially over the past decades. As reductions in most-favored-nation tariffs in industrial countries will inevitably lead to preference erosion, African countries need to ensure that the Doha Round leads to liberalization in all sectors by all World Trade Organization (WTO) members, so that the resulting gains will offset any losses. Such an outcome is more likely if African countries also offer to liberalize their own trade regimes and focus on reciprocal liberalization as a negotiation strategy rather on preferential and differential treatment.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
Macao SAR’s recovery is expected to continue in 2022, but it will take several years before the economy returns to its pre-crisis level. Although strong fiscal support and the financial strength of Macao SAR’s casino groups cushioned employment and consumption, the sharp contraction in activity exposed Macao SAR’s vulnerability to external forces affecting the inflow of tourists. Short-term risks to the outlook include a re-intensification of the COVID-19 pandemic and an increase in Macao SAR’s financial sector stress. The heavy impact of the pandemic on Macao SAR’s growth highlights the need to diversify the economy beyond the gaming industry. The high exposure to climate-related shocks poses long-term concerns.