REPORT OF MACAU A.T.M. CLAMPDOWN HAS LAND CASINO STOCKS REELING
Reports are that UnionPay ATM daily withdrawal limits are to be slashed in half.
The newspaper South China Morning Post precipitated a wide decline in land casino stock prices Thursday when it reported that China is imposing a drastic cut in UnionPay ATM daily withdrawal limits in Macau.
However there was some recovery after UnionPay International said its overseas withdrawal limits were unchanged.
The Reuters news agency reported stocks as far afield as Australia and the USA were impacted on the news that withdrawal limits in Macau would be cut. The agency reported that the Monetary Authority of Macau plans to cut daily limits for clients of China's largest provider of bank cards to 5,000 patacas ($626) from 10,000 currently, and that the reduction will take place this Saturday (December 10)
Land casino operators with interests in Macau were worst hit by the report, and are sensitive to such possibilities following the harsh impact in recent years of the Chinese government's severe crackdown on corruption and ostentatious spending in a slowing economy.
Monthly revenues from Macau only returned to growth in August this year and have since enjoyed a positive trend for the last four months.
Reuters noted that Australia-Macau operator Melco Crown stock plummeted 17 percent, Las Vegas Sands 14 percent, Wynn Resorts 12 percent and MGM Resorts 7 percent on the SCMP news.
Other companies to feel the pain included Crown Resorts (down 6 percent), MGM China (down 8 percent) and Galaxy Entertainment (down 7 percent).
One analyst commented that the reduction in ATM withdrawal limits is another illustration of China's serious intent on stamping out corruption, and that it was clear that the drive was not simply short-term window dressing.
"The Chinese government has been very consistent about this and continues to do things aimed at limiting the problems of corruption, and that suggests that the lower levels of demand seen in Macau are fairly permanent," he said.
The Chinese State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) has been vetting transfers abroad worth $5 million or more and is increasing scrutiny of major outbound deals, even those with prior approval.
Macau’s Financial Intelligence Office received a total of 1,118 suspicious transaction reports during the first half of 2016, a surge of 22.9 percent compared to the first half of 2015.