Gambling revenue in Macau fell 33 percent year-on-year in September, in line with forecasts but still near five-year lows as wealthy gamblers continued to stay away from the Chinese casino hub.
Macau is the only place where casino gambling is legal in China and VIP gamers, which account for about half of revenues, have been staying away, deterred by Beijing's widespread crackdown on corruption which has also targeted the illicit outflow of money from the country.
Gambling revenue in Macau dropped 35.5 percent in August from a year earlier, sliding for fifteen months in a row – more evidence of a deepening downturn that prompted the territory's government to announce on Tuesday it would tighten fiscal spending.
Gambling revenue in Macau fell 34.5 percent in July from the previous year, hovering around five-year lows as wealthy Chinese punters stayed away from the world's biggest gambling hub.
The decline, however, was narrower than the 36 percent drop in June and in line with analysts' estimates for a fall of around 34-35 percent.
Gambling revenue fell year-on-year to MOP18.6 billion (USD2.33b), according to data released by the Macau government on Monday. In June, revenues fell to MOP17.4 billion.
With casino revenues in Macau in free fall due to Beijing's anti-corruption crackdown and a slowing Chinese economy, the gambling hub is hoping to reinvent itself as a family-friendly mass market destination.
But the city's plan to replace the high-rolling elite with tourists drawn by new entertainment-focused mega-resorts will not be plain sailing.
Macau's creaking infrastructure is already struggling to cope with visitor numbers, and analysts and residents question how the city can accommodate the influx necessary to make up for the loss of VIP gamblers.
Asian retail giant Dairy Farm International said on Thursday that its wholly-owned subsidiary, The Dairy Farm Company, had acquired the Macau-based supermarket operator – San Miu Supermarket.
San Miu operates 15 mass-market supermarkets with an average gross store size of approximately 9,500 square feet. The acquisition of San Miu reinforces Dairy Farm's retail presence in Macau, and complements its well-established convenience store and health and beauty businesses in the territory.
The value of retail sales in Macau was MOP67.6 billion (US$8.46 billion) last year, 1 per cent more than the year before, Business Daily reports, citing Census and Statistics Service data.
The newspaper says the growth was small because the campaign against corruption in the mainland deterred mainlanders from spending lavishly in Macau and the protests in Hong Kong against curbs on democracy there deterred mainlanders from visiting both cities.
The annual rate of consumer price inflation slowed to 4.7 percent in January from 5.5 percent in December, official data show.
The Census and Statistics Service attributed January’s lower rate to slower increases in the costs of food and housing, which make up 60 per cent of the basket of goods and services used to gauge inflation, and cheaper transport, which makes up 10 percent.
The annual rate of housing and fuel price inflation slowed to 11.64 per cent, and food and non-alcoholic drink price inflation slowed to 5.42 percent.
The value of retail sales fell to MOP15.82 billion (USD1.98 billion) in the third quarter of this year, 1 percent less than a year earlier, the government says. The Statistics and Census Service says retail sales of watches, clocks and jewellery fell by 15 percent to MOP4.11 billion, while sales of leather goods fell by 12 percent and sales of motor vehicles fell by 11 percent.
The number of credit cards on issue in Macau that are billed in two currencies had risen to 148,770 by the end of June, 3.4 percent more than three months earlier, official data show. The Monetary Authority of Macau says the total number of credit cards on issue rose by 3.8 percent to 796,855.
The confidence of Macau people in the economy waned in the second quarter of this year, the consumer confidence index falling to 112.56 points from 118.43 points in the preceding quarter. A reading above 100 indicates confidence, and a reading below indicates lack of confidence.
The index was compiled from the results of a survey which found a preponderance of confidence about employment but preponderances of uncertainty about housing and consumer prices.