Release of Macao SAR Balance of Payments

Preliminary Estimate for 2018

The Monetary Authority of Macao (AMCM) releases today the preliminary balance of payments (BOP) statistics of Macao SAR for the reference year 2018. The BOP, which comprises the current account, the capital account and the financial account, is a statistical statement that summarises external transactions of an economy with the rest of the world.

In 2018, the current account continued to register a large surplus of MOP158.0 billion on account of strong growth in exports of travel services. Meanwhile, the financial non-reserve assets, the dominant component of the financial account, showed a significant net increase of MOP141.8 billion mainly driven by a substantial growth in foreign financial assets of residents and the government sector.

Exports of goods increased by 11.7% year-on-year while imports of goods (f.o.b.) rose by 5.6%. With imports having a higher base than exports, the merchandise trade deficit widened from MOP84.4 billion in 2017 to MOP88.2 billion in 2018. Concurrently, service exports rose by 12.8%, mainly attributable to increasing exports of travel services, while service imports also grew by 10.9%. Therefore, the services account surplus rose from MOP275.0 billion in 2017 to MOP310.8 billion in 2018.

The primary income account, which reflects cross-border flows of factor income, recorded a net outflow of MOP36.2 billion in 2018, with inflows and outflows went up from MOP42.2 billion and MOP75.0 billion in 2017 to MOP56.2 billion and MOP92.4 billion in 2018 respectively. The secondary income account, which comprises current transfers between Macao residents and non-residents, recorded a net outflow of MOP28.3 billion, marking an increase of MOP4.9 billion from 2017.

As the large invisible trade surplus offset the deficit in merchandise trade as well as the net outflows of primary and secondary income, the current account surplus expanded by MOP23.7 billion to MOP158.0 billion from MOP134.3 billion in 2017.

Net financial non-reserve assets registered a net outflow of MOP141.8 billion in 2018, representing an increase of MOP6.1 billion compared to the net outflow in 2017. Of which, a net outflow of direct investment amounting to MOP24.1 billion was recorded in 2018, higher than the net outflow of MOP9.4 billion in 2017. As the growth of external securities investment of Macao residents (including individuals, the government and other legal entities but excluding Macao’s foreign exchange reserves) decelerated markedly while non-residents increased their investment in debt securities issued by local financial institutions, portfolio investment registered a net inflow of MOP34.3 billion in 2018, as against a net outflow of MOP84.0 billion in 2017. Meanwhile, local banks’ external assets registered considerable increases during 2018; the net outflow of other investment thus rose from MOP44.7 billion in 2017 to MOP154.5 billion in 2018. On the other hand, financial derivatives continued to register a net inflow of MOP2.5 billion in 2018.

Reserve assets in the financial account record the net change in Macao’s foreign exchange reserves held by the AMCM. Reserve assets, after price, exchange rate and other adjustments, dropped by MOP2.1 billion in 2018 as compared to an increase of MOP1.6 billion in 2017; the overall BOP correspondingly registered a deficit of MOP2.1 billion in 2018. Given the ample surplus in the current account, the overall deficit was attributable to the continued accumulation in external financial assets of Macao residents and the SAR Government.

Macao’s BOP statistics are compiled in accordance with the International Monetary Fund’s Balance of Payments and International Investment Position Manual (Sixth Edition). The current release incorporates preliminary estimates of key statistics, and a detailed report with revised data will be published in December 2019.

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