(Reuters) - Macau is preparing to slash in half the amount of cash China UnionPay card holders can withdraw from ATM machines in the world's largest gambling market, the South China Morning Post reported on Thursday, citing a finance industry source.
The move by the Monetary Authority of Macau would cut daily withdrawal limit to 5,000 patacas (£497.4) from 10,000 currently, and is expected to take effect from Saturday, the newspaper reported. (bit.ly/2hpKhHI)
Macau accounts for a substantial portion of U.S. casino operators' annual revenue.
Shares of Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd MPEL.O fell as much as 17 percent, Las Vegas Sands Corp (LVS.N) declined 14 percent, Wynn Resorts Ltd (WYNN.O) fell 12 percent and MGM Resorts International (MGM.N) fell 7 percent.
Curbs on the daily cash withdrawal limit in Macau will come as China steps up measures to stem capital outflows, after its yuan currency skidded to more than eight-year lows at the end of November and its foreign exchange reserves fell far more than expected in the month to $3.05 trillion (£2.42 trillion), the lowest in nearly six years.
Chinese State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) began vetting transfers abroad worth $5 million or more and was increasing scrutiny of major outbound deals, even those with prior approval, Reuters reported in November citing sources with knowledge of the matter.
Reporting by Ankit Ajmera in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta