Macau casino stocks have surged the most in six months amid news that the city is set to resume issuing electronic visas and allowing Chinese group tours in late October or early November.
Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng over the weekend announced that eVisas and package tours will be reinstated following discussions with China’s central government. Such offers have been suspended since January 2020 amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
A Bloomberg Intelligence gauge of Macau’s six licensed casino operators showed overall gains of more than 10% on Monday morning. Sands China rose 16% to HKD20.50 (US$2.61), with SJM Holdings and Wynn Macau up around 14% and 10% respectively, according to RFI.
Analysts said the news about eVisas came earlier than expected, with JPMorgan noting that the move was the most significant easing of restrictions since Macau’s border with China reopened two years ago.
JPMorgan Analyst DS Kim explained that the move should “alleviate friction for a Macau trip, as well as signal to many that it’s okay to visit Macau.”
Kim added that the lack of eVisas has been “the most common push-back we heard”, saying that group tours had previously accounted for around 25% of Chinese visitors to the region prior to the pandemic.
According to Kim, mass GGR could recover to 25-30% of pre-Covid levels in the fourth quarter of 2022, increasing to around 85% by the end of 2023. It could also be enough to see come concessionaires return to profitability before the end of 2022.