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Macau’s economy contracted by the most in almost four years in the fourth quarter, even before the coronavirus outbreak forced its casinos to shut down for about two weeks.
The city’s gross domestic product fell 8.1% in the fourth quarter from a year earlier, the most since the first three months of 2016. That was almost double the revised 4.4% decline in the previous three months, as revenue from casinos slumped 8.4%. The city’s economy shrank 4.7% in 2019.
The city closed its borders with China and ordered casino operators to shut down for 15 days earlier this month as it took precautions against the coronavirus outbreak centered in Wuhan. Macau has reopened the casinos but maintained limits on individual travelers and group tours from the mainland, which account for about 70% of visitors from China.
Macau Gaming Revenue Seen Plunging by Record 90% on Virus: Chart
Galaxy Entertainment Group’s Deputy Chairman Francis Lui said this week that the impact of the virus “won’t be small.” He said he expects construction of the company’s new casinos in Macau will be slowed by the virus outbreak. Macau’s monthly gaming revenue, scheduled to be announced Sunday, is expected to decline by a record in February because of the disruptions.
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