Having your back

The head of the Macau Institute of Financial Services believes that with this year's MIF seeing announcements that an Export Credit Agency would be opened in Macau, together with branch offices from two of Angola’s largest banks, local exports and businessmen can reduce the risk of their investments abroad

If it comes to fruition, the recent announcement to implement an Export Credit Agency (ECA) in Macau will bring several advantages to local businessmen involved in export and import services, according to the Chairman of the Executive Board of the Macau Institute of Financial Services (IFS), António José Félix Pontes.
Speaking at the Sustainable Cities forum held at the 22nd Macau International Fair (MIF) last Friday, Mr. Pontes opined that Macau has long been at a disadvantage in terms of credit insurance, when compared to mainland China or Hong Kong, which have established mechanisms to cover risk in markets deemed to be high risk.
Last week, Portuguese credit insurance company COSEC - Companhia de Seguro de Créditos S.A. (COSEC) - signed a protocol with the Monetary Authority of Macau (AMCM) to create an ECA in the MSAR.
“Credit insurance brings many advantages to exporters, together with the concession of more credit lines by Macau. The Mainland has already played its role: it provides credit lines to all countries and is obtaining not just financial returns, but also political returns,” the IFS head said.
According to Mr. Pontes, Portuguese-speaking countries in Africa, and others like Brazil and East Timor, are described in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) as being high-risk markets.
“This makes local businessmen a little reluctant to export to those countries. But credit insurance, possibly covered by the Macau government, could allow them to be less reluctant. Some businessmen consider these markets to be high risk, but also see they present very good opportunities,” he added.
Mr. Pontes pointed out that in 2001, mainland China established a state-owned insurance company called the China Export & Credit Insurance Corporation (SINOSURE), covering overseas investment insurance and medium- to long-term export credit insurance.
In the neighbouring SAR, the Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corporation has also provided the same service since the 1960s, with several other insurance companies such as AIG, Euler Hermes and Coface appearing in the 1990’s.

PARTNERS NOT BOSSES
At the same Friday event, two of Angola’s largest bank’s - Banco SOL and Banco BIC - reiterated their intention to open branches in Macau, in order to assist local and Mainland companies in obtaining credit for investments in the Portuguese-speaking African country.
“We think that in the coming days we can count on a representative office here, to enable us to better study the Asian market, to explore the opportunities it offers, and to support our Angolan business fabric,” stated the President of Banco Sol, Coutinho Nobre Miguel, on Friday.
Banco BIC had previously made a request to the Monetary Authority of Macau (AMCM) to open a local branch, with the bank’s President, Fernando Teles, stating on Friday that he would be working in the next days with local law offices and financial experts to better evaluate the economic situation of Asia and Macau.
Mr. Miguel also advised Chinese entrepreneurs on Friday to invest in agriculture, livestock and fisheries; assuring them that Angolan banks have enough liquidity to support these investments.
However, the Banco BIC President criticised the fact that, despite mainland China having made a large amount of investments in Angola, it had “forgotten its compromise that 30 per cent of developments should go to Angolan companies”.
“A large part of the Chinese companies’ contracts are mainly carried out with Chinese workers and companies. This is not welcomed in Angola,” insisted Mr. Pontes.