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COVID-19: Twin hits for Asia in 2020, three key risks for 2021

April 24, 2020

HONG KONG - Asia will be hit twice in 2020 by both domestic and external demand shocks, according to the global financial group, Natixis, which says its "rather benign" scenario in terms of growth rebound in 2021 is subject to three key risks. The risks, it says, are:

* A protracted global recession in 2021 as stimulus measures fail, or a new wave for the pandemic;
* Rapid de-globalisation of trade and investment and, possibly an extension of barriers to the cross-border movement of people; and
* A spike in financial risk leading to a domino effect in defaults in the corporate and/or sovereign space.


Weak economic conditions see Hong Kong’s MTR downgraded

March 12, 2020

HONG KONG - Standard and Poors has lowered its stand-alone credit profile (SACP) for Hong Kong' s MTR Corporation to 'a' from 'a+' because it expects the metro operator to face an increasingly volatile operating environment amid the COVID-19 outbreak, Hong Kong's social unrest, and a generally weaker economic environment. S&P says it has also revised its assessment of MTRC's liquidity to adequate from strong to reflect its expectation of weaker cash flow in 2020.

Singapore non-resident bank deposits up 23% in January, Hong Kong inflows dip

March 13, 2020

HONG KONG - Compared to their Asian peers, Singapore banks have been seeing more deposits - they increased by 23% YoY from non-residents in January 2020, according to the French banking group Natixis. In Hong Kong, net foreign portfolio inflows reduced in February and turned negative in March, driven by the escalated global coronavirus outbreak and the recent oil shock.

Swire Pacific has preserved financial buffers for a difficult 2020: S&P

March 13, 2020

HONG KONG -- S&P Global Ratings said today that Swire Pacific Ltd. (A-/Stable/-) had built up greater balance sheet flexibility to weather increasing macro uncertainties in the coming year. This should support the company's credit standing, but its financial cushion would be compressed over the next 12 months, the agency said.

Beijing to donate medical supplies to Seoul, Tehran, Tokyo, Yokohama

March 13, 2020

BEIJING -- Beijing Municipality will donate protective supplies including medical isolation gowns and gloves to the cities of Seoul, Tehran, Tokyo and Yokohama to help with their novel coronavirus control. Xinhua, China's State newsagency, says hand sanitizers, nucleic acid testing kits, intelligent thermometer equipment and ventilators are also among the items to be donated.

Vietnam moves to protect economy as COVID-19 impact strikes

March 12, 2020

HANOI - While Vietnam has been able to contain the spread of COVID-9, initial measurable impacts of the outbreak on its economy have shown up in growth figures for several sectors in the first two months of 2020. Aviation and the tourism industry are those most badly hit. Vietnam's overall Index of Industrial Production (IIP) and manufacturing IIP in 2M2020 slowed to 6.2% YoY and 7.4% YoY vs. 9.2% and 11.4% in 2M2019, respectively.

Where global supply chains are most feeling pinch from China’s manufacturing slowdown

March 10, 2020

 HONG KONG - Looking beyond the human tragedy of the coronavirus, the global banking group, Natixis, says the epidemic has exposed the downsides of depending too heavily on China to power global manufacturing - and predicts a continuation of the diversification trend by manufacturers to move away from China.

COVID-19 could mean US$211 billion loss for Asia-Pacific economies: S&P

March 6, 2020

SINGAPORE - Ratings agency Standard and Poors is predicting that growth across Asia-Pacific will slow to 4.0% in 2020, the lowest since the Global Financial Crisis, due to the coronavirus outbreak. A U-shaped recovery should start later in 2020, but, by then, overall economic damage is likely to reach US$211 billion, S&P says.