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The Macau Metro Monitor.  December 30th, 2009

MACAU SEES JOBLESS DROP ON CHINA TAKEOVER ANNIVERSERY Bloomberg

Macau’s Statistics and Census Service (DSEC) reported that the jobless rate dropped 20bps to 3.3% for the 3 months ended November 30, 2009.  The 3.3% unemployment rate marks an 11-month low on the 10th anniversery of the former Portuguese enclavess's return to Chinese rule.

MACAU NOVEMBER TRADE DEFICIT WIDENS RTTNews

According to Macau’s Statistics and Census Service (DSEC), the trade deficit widened to MOP 2.78BN in November from MOP 2.60BN last month. Exports plummeted 40.4% y-o-y to MOP 635MM, with domestic imports dropping 65.4% to MOP 195MM.  Imports edged up by 0.4% to MOP 3.41BN, which was driven by an increase in consumer durable imports.  YTD, the value of merchandise exports fell 53.7% y-o-y, while imports fell 16.9% for a total trade deficit of MOP 26.04BN.

NEW JERSET COULD COME BETWEEN MGM MIRAGE, MACAY Las Vegas Sun

According to the Las Vegas Sun, the departure of MGM's General Counsel Gary Jacobs earlier this month stemmed from NJ regulator's concerns about the way Jacobs handled MGM's Macau partnership.  During the state's investigation of the Macau JV, regulators found that Jacobs, who structured the deal and served as the company's go-to man in Macau, was not forthcoming with inforrmation about the deal and how it was vetted by the company.

Whether the investgation initiated by NJ regulators in 2005 eventually forces MGM to chose between exiting its interests in Macau or NJ remains to be seen.  However, the departure of Jacobs might pave the way for a more favorable outcome in the regulatory hearing, according to "familiar" sources.