Macau gaming growth tops forecasts

By BLOOMBERG

HONG KONG • Macau gaming revenue growth topped analysts’ estimates in November, as casino operators regained some momentum following months of weakness tied to China’s economic slowdown.

Gross gaming revenue in Macau rose 8.5% in November to 25 billion patacas (RM12.96 billion) from a year earlier, according to data on Saturday from the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau. That beat the median analyst estimate for growth of 4%.

November’s result is a welcome signal for investors, and represents a 28th straight month of growth in the world’s biggest gambling hub. Yet, it’s not quite a recovery.

This is the third month in a row of single-digit growth, with September and October notching the weakest showings in more than two years.

Analysts are debating the prospects for the industry as rich gamblers pull back amid an economic slowdown in China.

Profits are still climbing and are forecast to hit a record next year, but the rate of growth is seen slowing as casinos face stiffer competition and emerging new hot spots in Asia. The data come as Macau is pushing out the timeline for casino operators to bid for licences, a move that adds further uncertainty on top of concerns about the impact of the trade war between China and the US.

The Bloomberg Intelligence index of Macau casino stocks climbed about 12% in November, the best monthly showing in more than a year.