The Macau Special Administrative Region is suspending its proposal to set up a $6.7 billion investment fund.
It seemed as if the Asian latest investment fund would come from Macau as the region’s chief executive Chui Sai On said on 18 April Macau was planning to set up a fund.
However, the government is now looking to conduct a public consultation on the creation of the fund, according to On, speaking at a press conference on Monday.
The investment and development fund would have been managed by an operating entity known as Macau Investment Development Fund Management Company, and was initially sized at 60 billion Macau patacas ($6.7 billion; €6 billion), according to an amendment bill to the budget for the fiscal year of 2019 released on 26 July.
The initial capital of 60 billion patacas for the fund’s management company would have come from three sources. A total of 59.88 billion patacas of the money was to come from the excess reserves in the fiscal reserve of Macau. “It is to be drawn from the 2019 budget, as its [the new investment fund’s] capital,” a spokesman from the Government Information Bureau wrote to PDI in July.
The SAR’s basic fiscal reserves and surplus reserves amounted to 569.54 billion patacas ($70.9 billion; €63.6 billion), and its foreign-exchange reserves stood at the equivalent of 163.25 billion patacas, at the beginning of this year, Xinhua reported on 19 April.
The statistics released by the Monetary Authority of Macau also showed that the estimated foreign exchange reserves of Macau amounted to 166.4 billion patacas ($20.7 billion) as of 30 June.
The remaining 120 million patacas was to come from two other sources, The Macau Trade and Investment Promotion Bureau, and the Industrial and Commercial Development Fund. Both would have been shareholders in the new company.
The investment fund launch was considered as a way to improve returns on publicly held capital, as well as for assisting in a development plan for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area.
Further details on the fund’s investment mandate and its asset allocation plan were not available.
The Secretary for Economy and Finance, Leong Vai Tac, said at the press conference that the establishment of such development fund was considered necessary to ensure the long-term prosperity of Macau.
“The Government had taken notice of opinions expressed by members of the public, requesting a more efficient management of the fiscal reserves, eyeing to ensure the city’s stable economic development, to contribute to the city’s adequate economic diversification, and to obtain greater returns from investments,” Leong noted, adding that a report issued in 2014 by the International Monetary Fund said that Macau would benefit from establishing a publicly owned quasi-sovereign wealth fund.
According to Macau’s Five-Year Development Plan, the investment fund was to be set up in 2019.