International Rating Agencies Maintain Macao SAR’s Credit Ratings

On 10 March 2016, Fitch Ratings affirmed Macao SAR’s credit ratings (long-term foreign and local currency issuer default ratings) at “AA-” with a “stable” outlook, attributable to Macao SAR’s prudent fiscal strength, strong external financial position, credible policy framework and high per-capita income. On the other hand, Moody’s Investors Service today placed Macao SAR’s “Aa2” rating on “review for downgrade” and expected to complete the review for a final decision in three months. In a period of deepened economic adjustment, especially when Macao’s gross domestic product recorded a negative growth of 20.3%, Macao SAR still maintains its high investment-grade double-A ratings, which help stabilise financing costs of the SAR and its institutions, reflecting the recognition of international rating agencies on Macao’s fiscal and financial stability. At the moment, Macao’s fiscal and financial conditions are sound. Since the establishment of Macao SAR, the Government’s fiscal account has been in surplus. The fiscal surplus stood at MOP29.3 billion in 2015. The Government has assets of over MOP400 billion in the Fiscal Reserve and is debt-free. The employment situation remains stable as the unemployment rate stays below 2.0%. In the banking sector, profits and assets reached historical highs. Bank profits increased 16.3% to MOP12.8 billion in 2015 while their assets rose 14.2% to MOP1,340.8 billion at end-2015. Macao banks continue to maintain good asset quality and adequate capital. At end-2015, the non-performing loan ratio stayed at the ultra-low level of 0.12% and the capital adequacy ratio, mainly composed of tier-one capital, marked at 15.1%. In addition, the financial industry actively developed their businesses and won the approval by the People’s Bank of China in 2015 to conduct renminbi clearing business for the Portuguese-speaking countries. Macao banks successfully conducted the first batch of credit business with the Mainland’s Free Trade Zones. Amid the persistent downward pressure on the global economy, some international rating agencies have recently adjusted the rating outlooks for some financial institutions in the Mainland, Hong Kong and Macao, and placed the credit ratings of some oil-exporting countries, within the same high-investment-grade double-A rating category as Macao’s, on “review for downgrade”. The Monetary Authority of Macao will continue to monitor the situation with close communications with the local financial industry and safeguard Macao’s financial stability.

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