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MACAU BUSINESS


“Some retail business and SMEs might want to cut headcounts, should the economic conditions worsen.” The city’s retail sales have declined by three consecutive quarters as of the July-September period of 2019, the longest losing streak since the third quarter of 2016 when the city was affected by the anti- corruption campaign in the mainland, latest official data show. Retail sales totalled MOP18.06 billion (US$2.26 billion) in the third quarter of 2019, down by 0.5 percent from the previous year.


Low vacancy rates


Lei Cheok Kuan, chairperson of the Industry and Commerce Federation of Macau Central and Southern District, noted local SMEs have been struggling to stay afloat in recent times. “The economic figures of the city have so far been not bad, but this only means the business of the resorts and gaming operators, accounting for a large proportion, have not been severely impacted,” he said. “The SMEs, on the other hand, have been crying out for help.” “We only hope the downward adjustment period of the economy will end soon,” he continued. “There has


24 FEBRUARY 2020


lately been some good news about the trade war, which I hope could stimulate the market and revive the consumption power of travellers.” With the trade war lasting for more than a year negatively affecting both the United States and China, as well as the global economy, the world’s two largest economies announced in December both sides have reached a phase-one trade deal, but the details have not been unveiled yet. “If the economy continues to deteriorate, there’s no doubt that the SMEs will start to sack some staff,” Mr. Lei noted. Latest official data indeed show the labour demand in some sectors has begun to slow. According to the Statistics and Census Service, the job vacancy rate in the Macau hotel industry stood at 2.2 percent by September 2019, down by 1.8 percentage points year-on-year, while the vacancy rate in the food and beverage sector amounted to 6.6 per cent, also down by 1.8 percentage points over the same time period. Both figures respectively represented the lowest vacancy rate on record in the two sectors since such official data was available in 2008.


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