Expert forecasts fresh wave of business shutdowns in 2021

Macau may see a fresh wave of business shutdowns in 2021, Lei Cheok Kuan, the president of the Industry and Commerce Federation of Macau Central and Southern District, told Chinese media outlet, Chengpou.
Lei’s pessimistic forecast for the first quarter of 2021 is predicated on several factors, including the termination of the second round of fiscal stimulus, the deteriorating Covid-19 situation in nearby cities and an expected lowering of travel intentions during winter.
In 2020, the SAR government rolled out two rounds of financial aid to help the city’s residents and businesses weather the economic storm.
However, Lei argued that the actual grants small and medium enterprises (SMEs) receive from the government are of an insignificant amount. But it is better than “nothing,” he added.
For now, local SMEs are struggling either to shut down their businesses or press ahead despite so many unfavorable conditions.
Lei commented that the ending of the last round of stimulus in the end of December 2020 is the key reason for the forthcoming wave of shutdowns.
As a solution, he suggested the government enter a closer partnership with the Great Bay Area cities to further expedite and foster the bilateral tourist flow by enabling tourist groups from the GBA to enter Macau.
Lei also called on the authorities to facilitate the provision of loans to cash-strapped SMEs.
The unemployment statistics, which are showing improvement, do not show a complete picture of Macau’s economy. Hence, locals should not be too optimistic about the overall situation, he stressed.
The unemployment rate of local residents was 4.0% from September to November, down by 0.1 percentage points compared to the previous three-month period from August to October, according to the Statistics and Census Service.
Earlier, Secretary for Economy and Finance Lei Wai Nong remarked that Macau’s economy will be “stable and improving” in 2021. He is also confident in the city’s ability to bring in MOP130 billion in gross gaming revenue this year.

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