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By Tony Lai


Cautious optimism


T 22 JANUARY 2020


hough the city’s economy is likely to finish 2019 with the first annual contraction in three years, over the gaming woes and global economic uncertainties, there’s cautious optimism next year, provided the committed efforts in public


infrastructure by the government to ramp up the economic fundamentals. Following a decline of 3 per cent in the gross domestic


product (GDP) in the first half of 2019, the economy of Macau deteriorated in the third quarter, with a retreat of 4.5 per cent from the previous year, extending the downward trend into three straight quarters. Attributing the drop mainly to “a larger decline in exports of


services” – namely, the gaming sector in which the gross gaming revenue went down 4.12 per cent in the third quarter – the Statistics and Census Service noted in a statement that that the external demand of the territory “continued to slow,” while the domestic demand “decreased at a slower pace.” “The dwindling exports of services are mainly due to the


macroeconomic factors from the trade war between China and the United States to the depreciating yuan to the ongoing incident in Hong Kong,” said Samuel Tong Kai Chung, President of Macau Political Economy Research Association. The incident refers to the months of unrest and


confrontational scenes in the nearby Asian financial centre over an extradition bill, now-shelved since June, which have deterred some Mainland Chinese – particularly those coming under package tours – from visiting the two special administrative regions.


Despite three consecutive quarterly declines, observers still strike a positive tone towards the city’s economic prospects.


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