THE M3: 1Q S'PORE GDP; CAP ON LABOUR GROWTH; SMOKING BILL; TOUR/HOTEL STATS; NORTH KOREA CASINO

The Macau Metro Monitor, April 14, 2011

S'PORE ECONOMY CONTINUES TO GROW Channel News Asia, Strait Times

Singapore 1Q GDP rose 8.5% YoY, beating estimates of 5.7% growth. On a seasonally-adjusted, annualized basis, the economy grew by 23.5% QoQ.  The Ministry of Trade and Industry said the strong growth was driven by the manufacturing sector, particularly in the electronics and precision engineering clusters, which benefited from a pick up in business investment in the region.  Meanwhile, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said that economic activity is likely to be sustained at a high level for the rest of the year even with inflation concerns.  To combat inflation, MAS said the exchange rate policy band will be re-centered below the prevailing level of the SGD/USD, which suggests a higher S'pore $.

LABOUR FORCE TO GROW BELOW 10 PERCENT YEARLY: GOVT macaubusiness.com

According to Secretary Tam, the overall total labour force (including imported labour) must not increase by more than 10% per year.  The restrictions are needed due to “concerns over the use of social resources”.  Macau’s current unemployment rate is below 3%, with the Monetary Authority saying that the territory has already achieved full employment.
 

INDOOR SMOKING BILL PREPARED FOR FINAL VOTE Macau Daily TImes

The smoking bill is ready for final reading even though the issue of whether to exempt casinos from the smoking ban is still not fully resolved.  Nonetheless, it’s likely the law will be approved.  There is no date set for the vote.


PACKAGE TOURS AND HOTEL OCCUPANCY RATE FOR FEBRUARY 2011 DSEC

Visitor arrivals in package tours increased slightly by 0.5% YoY to 466,843 in February 2011. Visitors from Mainland China (332,349), Hong Kong (19,880), Japan (19,453) and Malaysia (9,191) decreased by 1.2%, 1.5%, 11.4% and 9.0%, respectively.  Visitors from Republic of Korea (25,596); Taiwan (24,895) and India (8,374) increased by 85.0%; 16.0% and 61.2% respectively.

Total number of available guest rooms of the hotels and guest-houses increased by 1,146 (+6.1%) YoY to 20,083 rooms.  Hotels and guest-houses received 600,248 guests in February 2011, +3.7% YoY, with the majority coming from Mainland China (55.1% of total) and Hong Kong (18.8%).

MOUNT KUMGANG MULLS OPENING CASINO TO LURE MAINLAND TOURISTS Macau Daily News

After the exclusive operation right of a casino granted to Hyundai Corporation in Mount Kumgang was terminated, North Korea plans to set up a casino to lure Chinese tourists. Currently, there is only one casino in the country located in Rason, which is exclusively open to foreigners.  The Chinese government has previously banned residents from going to Rason’s casino.  The feasibility of a casino in Mount Kumgang remains uncertain.