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Daily Archives: June 17, 2009

Monetary Authority releases credit card statistics

The Monetary Authority of Macau released the credit card statistics for the first quarter of 2009. The total number of personal credit cards in circulation was 330,734 at the end of March 2009, down 1.18 percent from the previous quarter. The numbers of Pataca (MOP) cards, Hong Kong Dollar (HKD) cards and Renminbi (RMB) cards were 266,964, 55,012 and 8,758 respectively. HKD cards and RMB cards increased 0.44 percent and 3.00 percent quarter-to-quarter whereas MOP cards witnessed decrease of 1.63 percent. Compared with the same period last year, RMB cards grew at a strong pace of 14.32 percent whereas MOP cards and HKD cards dropped 0.17 percent and 14.53 percent respectively.

As at the end of March 2009, credit card credit limit granted by banks in Macau amounted to 6.04 billion patacas, up 1.74 percent from end-December 2008. Credit card receivables reached 0.95 billion patacas while the rollover amount totalled 0.46 billion, accounting for 47.77 percent of credit card receivables. The delinquency ratio, i.e. the ratio of credit card receivables overdue for more than three months to total receivables, was 1.03 percent. In the first quarter of 2009, the credit card turnover dropped 5.62 percent from the last quarter to 1.52 billion patacas. The cash advance turnover amounted to 0.13 billion patacas, accounting for 8.24 percent of total credit card turnover. Credit card repayments, in which payments for interest and fees are included, totalled 1.69 billion patacas.

Just ridiculous

by Sara Farr

Ridiculous. That's how lawmaker Au Kam San describes the government's move to make available 50 million patacas to distribute to package tour visitors as part of a new subsidy plan to lure tourists into staying in Macau longer.
Criticising the territory's tourism slogan – The Difference is Macau – the lawmaker said “Macau is in fact different. So different in fact that nowhere else can we find governing bodies like the ones in Macau. So incompetent.”
Addressing the government in his interpellation at the Legislative Assembly yesterday, Au said that the government is not being realistic. “Given the lack of tourism venues in Macau, how will a tourist be lured into staying longer, even if only for one day, with a subsidy of 100 patacas?”
Not even in dreams, Au said, adding it this would be the same as throwing money out.
Tourism and gambling are the two biggest contributers to the SAR's economic growth, bringing in as much as 30 million tourists a year and generating around eight billion patacas in gross gaming revenues every month. However, the government has done little to develop the local tourism industry. Prove of such fact, according to the lawmaker, is the fact that the number of foreign visitors remains considerably low compared to that from mainland visitors.
Giving real examples of how neighbouring cities have developed their tourism industry, and now attracting thousands of foreign visitors, Au said Shenzhen has three theme parks and 10 times more the population of Macau and attracts around 20 million of visitors each year.
“Macau having a population of half a million people is still able to attract as many as 30 million visitors each year. How can it even be said that theme parks would not survive in Macau? Where is scientific proof for such affirmation?,” the lawmaker questioned, adding that the territory has had plans for a theme park ever since the Portuguese administration.
According to the lawmaker, it was also used as a pretext several times in order to grant huge land concessions without first opening a public tender, and therefore “selling land at sale prices.”
Au also cites examples of lands for project that never were – Ocean Park, a 16 hectare land that was sold for a mere 10 billion patacas, due to the interest the project gathered which would help develop local tourism. The development project never went ahead and the land is yet to be used.
Au also cited the land where the Macau Studio City is being built. The lawmaker said the land was initially to develop a theme park, is now meant to be for a hotel and luxury apartment units. “Everything but a cinema-graphic studio,” the lawmaker said.
He also criticised the fact that the Chief Executive had said it was best not to construct theme parks as these wouldn't be able to survive in Macau.
“After granting the lands, does the government come up and say that it's best not to build theme parks?,” Au said.
According to the pro-democratic lawmaker, if a land is granted for a theme park and the party granted can't comply with building what was initially planned, the land should be returned to the government which can then find another developer to carry out a similar theme park project planned.
This would allow for Macau's tourism to be more diversified and not solely based on gaming, Au added.

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