Lionel Leong: expecting slight economic growth

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If no unforeseen circumstances appear in the year ahead, the local government is confident that the city’s economy will produce slight positive growth this year, stated the Secretary for Economy and Finance, Lionel Leong Vai Tac on the sidelines of the Spring Lunch held by the Macau Association of Banks (AMB) last Friday.
The Secretary reviewed the economic situation experienced last year, pointing out that development had been better than expected.
“In the first half of 2016, we were still experiencing economic adjustment, but by the second half the economy had stabilized,” said the Secretary. “As such, the scale of adjustment was narrower than we had expected.”
Secretary Leong remarked that the uncertainties that affected the city throughout 2016 will persist this year, pointing to examples such as speculation over U.S. interest rates driving changes in the rate of the Chinese yuan.

Normal changes
Regarding local labour affairs, meanwhile, the Secretary stressed that the government will continue to support workers to broaden their opportunities in different industries.
“We encourage workers who are working in the gaming industry, especially dealers, to receive training so as to gain opportunities to work in the non-gaming sectors,” Secretary Leong noted.
He also explained that the change in the labour structure was the outcome of meeting the current changing demands for labour, saying that more non-gaming jobs are being introduced in the city.
“I think, most importantly, that the government should stay in close connection with industries and sectors […] in the way that we’ve always mentioned: providing on-site training, so as to enable workers to cope with the changing demands of the market,” added the Secretary.

Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge
With the announcement of the soon-to-be-completed construction of the super bridge, the Secretary indicated that the government will carry out studies regarding the management of the operations of the bridge.
“We must have cautious consideration in introducing different parties to take part in the operation of the bridge,” said Secretary Leong. “Once the bridge is opened, challenges and business opportunities will be created, such as in the logistics and retail sectors.”
He further declared that the government will continue communicating with industries and will provide enough information, claiming that it will offer necessary support in areas such as personnel training.

Necessary steps taken
Meanwhile, with the decreasing rate of the yuan, the President of the Administrative Committee of the Macao Monetary Authority (AMCM), Anselmo Tang Lin Seng said it has taken necessary precautions for its yuan investments, part of its fiscal reserves.
“We have taken necessary steps such as hedging,” said President Tang.
The AMCM head indicated that more data about the investments will be released soon.
The Deputy Director-General of the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government, Yao Jian and the Chairman of AMB, Wang Shaojun also attended the Spring Lunch held by the Macau Association of Banks last Friday.