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Carefree gambling and partying in Las Vegas may signal a US recession isn’t imminent, short seller Jim Chanos says

GettyImages 488325214Jim Chanos.

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  • The party mood in Las Vegas could mean a recession isn’t around the corner, Jim Chanos says.
  • The short seller pointed to data showing casinos on the Las Vegas Strip had a bumper February.
  • Spending at Vegas casinos dropped during the dot-com crash and financial crisis, Chanos noted.

Fears of an imminent recession could be overblown given the carefree vibe in Las Vegas, Jim Chanos says.

“The recession that FinTwit is convinced is upon us may be delayed because it is still partying in Vegas…,” the short seller tweeted on Tuesday, using the nickname for Twitter’s finance community.

The Chanos & Company boss shared a tweet from Las Vegas Locally, which reported casinos on the Las Vegas Strip raked in $713 million in February, a 19% year-on-year increase. The strong growth drove overall revenues from Nevada casinos to $1.2 billion, a new record for February.

Chanos noted in a follow-up tweet that Vegas casino revenues fell during the dot-com crash and financial crisis, making them a useful gauge of consumer sentiment and spending.

“Las Vegas Strip revenue has been a pretty good leading/coincident indicator of the US Consumer,” he said, referring to an attached table showing yearly revenues from the city’s famous stretch of hotels and casinos. “Note the slowdowns in 2000 and 2007, before the last two recessions.”

Chanos’ table shows that revenues from the Las Vegas Strip surged nearly 18% in 1997, slowed to 7% in 1998, then declined slightly in both 2001 and 2002 after the tech-stock bubble burst. The data stems from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas’ Center for Gaming Research.

The table also shows casino takings on the Strip rose by double-digits in the mid-2000s. They slowed to 2% growth in 2007, then slumped 10% in 2008 and 9% in 2009 after the housing bubble burst.

Numerous investors, economists, and other commentators have predicted a recession as the Federal Reserve continues to battle historic inflation.

The US central bank has hiked interest rates from nearly zero to upwards of 4.75% since last March. Higher rates encourage saving over spending and make borrowing more costly, fanning fears they could choke consumer spending, cause unemployment to spike, and tank the economy.

Chanos is best known for exposing and profiting from Enron’s accounting scandal. His fund ramped up its bet against Elon Musk’s Tesla last quarter, and placed bearish wagers against AMC Entertainment, Trump-linked DWAC, and a slew of cryptocurrency companies and technology upstarts.

Read the original article on Business Insider
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