February could be the first month of casino gross gaming revenue (GGR) growth in year-on-year terms for the Macau market since May 2014, say two investment houses based on unofficial month-to-date returns.
“Macau’s gaming revenue picked up strong momentum since the latter part of the Chinese New Year holiday, despite a somewhat slow start in the beginning of the Chinese New Year,” brokerage Sanford C. Bernstein Ltd stated in a Monday note.
Analysts Vitaly Umansky and Simon Zhang wrote that, according to industry channel checks, Macau’s GGR for the week from February 14 to 21 was about MOP5.9 billion (US$737.2 million). That implied an average daily rate (ADR) of MOP843 million, an increase compared to estimated ADR of MOP628 million for the first 14 days of February, they said.
“Assuming an ADR of MOP600 million to MOP620 million for the remainder of this month, February GGR would be MOP19.5 billion to MOP19.7 billion, representing a minor year-on-year decline, or potentially positive year-on-year growth,” the two analysts added.
Casino GGR in February 2015 was MOP19.5 billion, according to data from Macau’s casino regulator.
“If February GGR grows year-on-year, it would mark the end of a 20-month consecutive GGR decline that started in June 2014,” Sanford Bernstein’s note stated.
It added: “While it does not necessarily reverse the trend (as we believe March and April may register year-on-year decline again), February GGR is poised to top our earlier estimate (and street consensus), which could provide some upside catalyst to Macau gaming stocks in the near term.”
Analysts David Katz and Brian Davis, from Telsey Advisory Group LLC, also said on Monday that – according to unofficial industry returns – a “marginal monthly improvement year-on-year” was possible for full-February.
“The set-up for the month remains that results could show a modest increase year-on-year, despite no meaningful fundamental change,” the two analysts said. Telsey’s note added that GGR for full-February faced an easier comparison in year-on-year terms than the previous month.
GGR for January 2015 was MOP23.7 billion, the highest monthly tally recorded in Macau last year. GGR for January 2016 was MOP18.7 billion, a year-on-year decline of 21.4 percent.
Daiwa Securities Group Inc still predicts GGR to decline in year-on-year terms in full-February. “At current run rates, we continue to expect the full-month February GGR to see a 4 percent year-on-year decline, likely reaching all-in GGR of MOP18.8 billion,” analysts Jamie Soo, Adrian Chan and Jennifer Wu wrote in a note on Monday.
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