JP Morgan Says HK Protests Won’t Affect Macau GGR

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A protester holding a poster at the Hong Kong International Airport , the day when protesters locked down the international airport in the country.
  • JP Morgan says HK protests won’t affect Macau’s GGR
  • Macau notches up record 25% increase in overall visitors
  • HK protests could affect some future tourist performance in Macau

With protests beating on in Hong Kong, Macau seems to retain its GGR prospects, analyst firm JP Morgan has said.

Macau in the Clear Despite Brewing Hong Kong Storm

Hong Kong’s ongoing protests are unlikely to affect Macau’s Gross Gaming Revenue (GGR), analyst company JP Morgan Securities (Asia Pacific) Ltd reported on Friday, August 16. According to the financial firm, the ongoing turmoil in the territory is not very likely to put a dent in demand for products in one of Asia’s largest gaming hubs.

Some concerns were expressed regarding the connecting Hong KongZhuhaiMacau Bridge , but JP Morgan explained that parties interested in visiting Macau could simply avoid that specific infrastructure to this end, or avoid Hong Kong altogether.

Three analysts from the company, to name DS Kim, Jeremy An and Christine Wang confirmed the company’s forecast by saying:

We thus guestimate the Hong Kong protests may hurt Macau GGR by about mid-single-digit , which should fade away gradually as people will find alternative ways to visit Macau.”

Protests were prompted by Hong Kong voting a draft law that would allow Hong Kong nationals to be extradited to mainland China at the behest of authorities in Beijing, catalysing the largest protests Hong Kong has seen in decades.

Overall peaceful, there have been clashes between protesters and policemen. The situation temporarily escalated when Hong Kong protesters closed the International Airport, although nothing serious happened on that occasion. However, one alleged Chinese spy, who tried to infiltrate the crowd and sow discord, was roughed by the crowd and taken to the hospital when police were finally able to extract him.

Media reports later established the identity of the person as Fu Guohao, a mainland reporter who was touted as a hero back home.

No Correlation Between Macau Tourists and Hong Kong

All observers noted that the number of tourists visiting Macau wouldn’t decrease as a result of the ongoing civil turmoil in Hong Kong. To put things in perspective, analysts said that 60% of all arrivals in Macau come through Shenzhen whereas only 17% used ferries from Hong Kong. As to the bridge, analysts estimate that only 15% make use of it so far. Summing up the situation, the JP Morgan experts had this to add:

Our on-the-ground checks suggest that there has not been a discernible slowdown in casino traffic yet, while actual GGR impact is difficult for us to check.”

JP Morgan also cautioned that any slow-down in current operations could also be attributed to the holiday season rather than a direct impact from protests in Hong Kong. Based on estimates of Macau Government Tourism Office (MGTO), Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes, the region hasn’t seen a tangible decline in the number of tourists.

In fact, Ms. Fernandes argued, there had been a 10% year-over-year (YOY) increase when she spoke to reporters on Friday. In the first half of 2019, visitors to Macau have reached 20.3 million, a respectable overall number, or a nearly 25.6% YOY increase.

Yet, Ms. Fernandes did remain cautious about the future, pointing out that there have been reports of cancelled bookings in the hospitality business. She said that negative results wouldn’t be surprisingly, but that she remained hopeful they would be ultimately avoided.

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