Macau gaming stocks surge on border relaxation news

Cotai strip, Macau

Stocks in Macau’s gaming operators jumped on Tuesday on news of a relaxation in border measures on arrivals from Guangdong province, the city’s key feeder market.

The measure, announced Monday and coming into effect on Wednesday, relaxes the period of issuance for nucleic acid test results travellers must display to 7 days, from 48 hours.

The announcement caused a 12.24 percent uptick in SJM Holding’s listed price on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on Tuesday, the largest daily gain amongst the Big Six operators.

The group opened its flagship property on the Cotai Strip on July 30th, a soft-debut that was quickly overshadowed by the discovery of four cases of the Delta variant in Macau, which prompted increased border restrictions and the mass testing of the entire city’s population.

At the time the cases were discovered, those crossing the Guangdong border were first required to display a negative test result taken within 12 hours, which was later relaxed to 24 hours and then to 48 hours, a measure in place until Wednesday.

The news of the seven-day validity period for the tests prompted Wynn Macau stock to gain 10.88 percent in value on Tuesday, followed by Sands China, up 9.3 percent.

Melco saw an 8.93 percent rise in stock value, with Galaxy close behind with an 8.89 percent rise.

MGM China also saw gains, but more subdued than the other five, up 6.25 percent.

While the border relaxations between Macau and Guangdong encourage land-based travel, a requirement for a 48-hour nucleic acid test period is still in effect for air travel, with the airport authority predicting air traffic to only return to normal levels in October.

Entrants from China are the only ones allowed into Macau without requiring quarantine, with certain entry restrictions on regions of Mainland China that are still controlling the recent outbreak.

Entry from Hong Kong or Taiwan still requires a 14-day quarantine, while entry from other nations requires a 21-day quarantine.

Only residents of Chinese territories are currently being allowed into Macau.

But according to reports, on Monday lawmakers in Hong Kong and the deputy director of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office urged leaders to consider opening the city’s border to China.

Plans to reopen Macau to Hong Kong have previously been linked to Hong Kong’s reopening to China.

This has been dependent on the financial hub controlling its local Covid cases, with the city registering seven imported infections on Tuesday, but no local cases.