Macau Casinos Up 35% To $3.13bn In January 2012

Macau has just released its casino gambling figures, revealing a 34.8%  increase in revenue to 25 billion patacas ($3.13 billion)  for January, compared to the same month last year.
The results were ahead of many analysts’ predictions of between 23 to 26 billion patacas for the month, mostly boosted by the Chinese Lunar New Year falling in January instead of February this year.
However, analysts are still unlikely to revise upwards their forecast for the year based on the result of just one month. In 2012, the prediction is for a 11% to 20% increase in growth, compared to the 42% experienced in 2011, and as  Deutsche Bank gaming analyst Carlo Santarelli explains:
“Given the shift of Chinese New Year into January, we believe February will pose a difficult comparison for the market, despite the extra day. As such, we believe looking at the aggregate of January and February for comparison purposes is more appropriate.”
This all points to February being an interesting month for Macau, with analyst Cameron McKnight from Wells Fargo & Co predicting a fall in revenue of 14% for the month. If that were to be the case, it would mark the first year-on-year fall in over two and a half years, when in June 2009 Macau suffered fall out from the global financial crisis.
Nevertheless, shares in the sector were moderately positive at a time when the benchmark Hang Seng Index was down by 0.3%. Overall, Sands China up 0.8% to HK$26.45, SJM Holdings Ltd up 2% to HK$14.16, MGM China Holdings Ltd up 0.9%, Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd up 1.8%, Wynn Macau Ltd up 0.2% and Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd up 1.4%.
The last quarter of 2011 saw heavy selling of shares due to investor concerns of a sharp slowdown in the Chinese economy, but Macau shares have now gained between 4% and 21% since the beginning of 2012.

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