(Bloomberg) -- Macau casino shares jumped, leading the advance in stocks tied to China’s reopening, after the local government said it will follow the mainland’s policy to gradually relax Covid-induced curbs.
A Bloomberg gauge tracking six casino operators surged as much as 9.5% to the highest since Sept. 2021. MGM China Holdings Ltd. and Wynn Macau Ltd. rose more than 12% each, leading the gains. Most of the airlines and tour operators also advanced.
China eased a range of Covid restrictions Wednesday in a sharp change to its national strategy to quell public discontent and fire up the economy again. The 10 new measures, including accelerating vaccination among the elderly and scrapping some test requirements, add to the nation’s first round of easing carried out a month ago.
The moves add to evidence that the world’s second biggest economy is moving fast to dismantle its draconian Covid curbs, a catalyst that is widely expected to help risk assets in weathering recessionary headwinds. That optimism has helped the Macau casino index to more than double in less than six weeks after it dropped to its lowest in 12 years in October.
Analysts have become increasingly bullish on Macau casino operators. JPMorgan analyst DS Kim said 2023 could be a “year of Macau” as casino operators benefit from license renewals, reopening and cheap valuations.
The sector is expected to see a full recovery in 2024 as earnings growth normalizes, Morgan Stanley analysts including Praveen K Choudhary wrote in a note Monday.
(Updates to add China’s move to further ease Covid restrictions in third paragraph)
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