Macau casino stocks rise in Wednesday trade due to news of relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions

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Macau casino shares surged on Wednesday following the announcement by the local government that it would adopt the mainland’s strategy of gradually easing Covid-19-related curbs.

A Bloomberg index tracking six casino companies rose up to 9.5%, reaching its highest level since September 2021. The gains were led by MGM China Holdings Ltd. and Wynn Macau Ltd. which increased by more than 12%. The majority of airlines and tour operators also made advancements.

China made a significant shift in its national strategy on Wednesday that eased a number of Covid-19 regulations in an effort to appease the public and revive the economy.

In addition to the initial round of easing implemented across the country a month ago, the 10 new steps include accelerating vaccination among the elderly and eliminating some test requirements.

The actions provide another proof that the world’s second-largest economy is moving quickly to remove its harsh Covid-19 restrictions, a catalyst that is highly anticipated to support risk assets in weathering recessionary headwinds.

It is this optimism that has helped the Macau casino index to more than double in less than six weeks after it had fallen to its lowest point in 12 years in October.

The outlook for Macau casino operators has become more optimistic among analysts. As casino operators profit from license renewals, reopening, and low valuations, JPMorgan analyst DS Kim predicted 2023 may be dubbed “Macau’s year.”

According to a note released on Monday by Morgan Stanley analysts, including Praveen K. Choudhary, the industry will fully recover in 2024 when earnings growth returns to normal.

While many harsh regulations have been dropped for the tourists in order to increase the number of visitors, the front-line casino staff will have to do a nucleic acid test every two days.

People working in casinos like game dealers, security staff, and cleaners will have to provide the test results to the authorities. Earlier the period for this test was seven days but due to the recent outbreak at MGM Cotai new rules have been framed.