03/01/2012 :  MACAU SURGES UPWARD AGAIN
 
Offshore island gambling centre delivers another outstanding set of February revenues
 
Gambling revenue in Macau, the world's largest gambling destination off the coast of China, jumped 22.3 percent year on year in February 2012, slightly ahead of forecasts and buoyed by a strong flow of gamblers from mainland China.
 
Government figures released Thursday showed that revenue for February totalled 24.3 billion patacas ($3.04 billion), slightly higher than analysts expectations of 24 billion patacas, the Reuters news agency reports.
 
While gaming revenue in the former Portuguese colony reached $33.5 billion last year, many investors and analysts are pricing in a slowdown in growth from 42 percent in 2011 to 11-20 percent in 2012. February's stats may put a more a positive spin on some of the more pessimistic forecasts.
 
"The momentum is still there. If you look at February, there are only 29 days and no public holidays. The postings are surprisingly good," said Teng Yee Tan, analyst at CIMB Securities in Hong Kong.
 
Reuters notes that macro risks in China, including slowing economic growth and curtailed private lending due to rising bad debts, remain a key concern for Macau's lucrative VIP segment, which depends largely on the availability of private credit.
 
The majority of visitors to Macau still come from neighbouring Guangdong province, but analysts say improvements in transport and infrastructure in the coming year will help to penetrate deeper into China's interior.