Macau Casinos Sink on Concern High Rollers Hit by China Slowdown

(Bloomberg) -- Macau casinos shares tumbled Tuesday on concerns that a softening Chinese economy is damping the allure of the baccarat tables for high rollers.

The Bloomberg Intelligence index for Macau casinos dropped as much as 5.2 percent, to the lowest level in a year, as Deutsche Bank became the latest firm to lower its forecast for revenue growth in the world’s biggest gaming hub. It cut its 2019 outlook by more than half, to 4 percent growth from 11 percent previously, citing concerns about the VIP segment and saying Macau is at the start of a downward earnings revision cycle.

Investors in Macau casinos are bracing for a pullback in spending by high rollers as China wrestles with an economic slowdown and faces uncertainties over the impact of a trade war with the U.S. The challenges threaten a rebound in the enclave that began more than two years ago.

Macau Casinos Sink on Concern High Rollers Hit by China Slowdown

The move by Deutsche Bank follows a note by Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. analysts Monday that showed Macau gaming revenue for the first nine days of September was below estimates. Bernstein in July also forecast 4 percent growth for gaming revenue next year, citing expectations for decelerating VIP gambling.

That pace would be far below the consensus for 14 percent revenue growth in 2018 and 8.8 percent in 2019, according to a Consensus Metrix survey of 10 analysts in late August. Macau gaming revenue was $33 billion in 2017, a gain of 19 percent from a year earlier.

Macau Casinos Sink on Concern High Rollers Hit by China Slowdown

The Macau index of casino shares has fallen 37 percent since the end of May, and has dropped every day but one this month even as gaming revenue for August topped analysts’ forecasts.

MGM China Holdings Ltd. led declines on Tuesday, falling as much as 8.8 percent for the biggest intraday drop in almost two years. Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd. and SJM Holdings Ltd. dropped more than 6 percent intraday as Deutsche Bank cut its ratings on both stocks to a sell.

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