The Centre of Expertise on Trade,
Investment and Public Policy

  • Asia House
  • 63 New Cavendish Street
  • London W1G 7LP
  •  
  • enquiries@asiahouse.co.uk
  • +44 (0) 20 7307 5454
  • The Centre of Expertise on Trade,
    Investment and Public Policy

    The Week in Asia

    Published On: 31 July 2020

    Asia House Advisory takes a look at the top developments in Asia this week affecting trade, investment and public policy.

    Join our mailing list to receive The Week in Asia direct to your inbox every Friday.

     

    FRIDAY 31 JULY 2020

     

    UK and Japan working towards trade deal

    The first round of trade negotiations between the UK and Japan concluded on Wednesday. Despite missing the initial deadline of 31 July by which to conclude talks, negotiators on both sides of the table remain optimistic that a deal will be struck in the coming weeks, with Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi expected to travel to London next month to announce the agreement between the two countries. Such a deal with Japan will likely be the largest to be signed by the UK before 2021. However, certain points of contention remain, including issues around market access, investment protection, and rules of origin.

    Asia House welcomed Nikkei Asian Review Politics and Economy News Editor Toyoaki Fujiwara this week to brief Corporate Members on Japan’s trade trajectory. Read more.

     

    India enforces new restrictions for Chinese companies bidding for government contracts

    This week saw new restrictions implemented on Chinese companies bidding for government contracts in India. Procurement regulations have been revised to require businesses in countries that share a land border with India, such as China, to register with authorities and receive permission from relevant federal ministries before bidding for contracts. The move marks further action in India’s economic retaliation against Beijing over recent border clashes. The rules will apply to a broad range of public sector businesses, including state governments, state-run banks and businesses, and public-private partnerships. The Indian government has said the new measures will strengthen national security.

     

    Nissan warns of biggest ever operating loss

    Nissan this week forecast its biggest ever operating loss for the financial year ending March 2021, expecting a loss of around US$4.5 billion. Delivering quarterly results earlier this week, Nissan pointed to the pandemic and the resulting loss of demand in key markets as the reason behind the projection. The reports also suggest that Nissan does not expect to see a ‘v-shaped recovery’. During the three-month period to end of June, Nissan’s global vehicle sales saw a 48 per cent drop year-on-year, largely due to a drop in demand in its North American and Chinese markets. Full-year forecasts expect a 16.3 per cent drop in global sales volume. This comes as companies across the board in the auto industry face similar losses.

     

    Indonesian start up Traveloka raises US$250 million

    Indonesian travel booking start-up Traveloka has received US$250 million in funding from international investors. This comes as the company sees plunging demand for travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The funding round was led by Qatar Investment Authority, with others including Indonesian venture capital firm East Ventures participating. Other existing investors include GIC and Expedia. The company is now valued at around US$3 billion and operates across Southeast Asia and Australia. As travel restrictions begin to ease across the region, Traveloka is expecting to see recovery across its key markets – in Vietnam, the company is already seeing a return to pre-COVID-19 levels of activity.

     

    ANA and Singapore Airlines see record quarterly losses

    ANA Holdings and Singapore Airlines have reported record quarterly losses in the April to June quarter due to the pandemic. ANA Holdings saw a net loss of US$1 billion in the second quarter, and Singapore Airlines reported a loss of US$810 million in the same period. The airline industry has been badly hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to lockdowns and the cancellation of most flights during recent months. The companies will be implementing further cost cuts. Though domestic flights for some airlines are slowly improving, a return to pre-COVID-19 demand remains unlikely in the short term.

     

    NEXT WEEK IN ASIA

     

    Indonesian government to sell bonds to central bank next week:  The Indonesian government is likely to sell bonds directly to its central bank next week, under a US$27.5 billion fiscal deficit financing scheme.

    Fifth round of military talks between China and India next week: The two countries are expected to hold a fifth round of military talks next week to discuss disengagement of troops in the Ladakh region.

     

    COVID-19: ASIA ROUND UP

     

    Q2 data reveals extent of COVID-19 economic impact across APAC

    As Q2 2020 data is released by Asia Pacific economies, the full extent of the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is becoming apparent. Several economies saw a double-digit drop in quarterly GDP between Q1 and Q2, with many economies experiencing negative or static growth in Q2 compared to last year. However, China bucked the trend reporting an upswing of 3.2 per cent year-on-year for Q2, a healthy increase from -6.8 per cent in Q1. Vietnam also just managed to maintain positive growth.

    Click here to read the full Asia House Advisory note.

    HONG KONG: Hong Kong this week imposed its strictest social distancing measures yet as case numbers continue to rise. This includes a ban on in-restaurant dining, though this was partially overturned one day after it came into effect. Face masks are also now compulsory on public transport.

    JAPAN: Japan will next week lift a ban on the re-entry of some foreign residents into the country. From 5 August, residents who fall under the new protocol will be able to apply to return.

    INDONESIA: The government will allow domestic tourists to re-enter Bali from 31 July, under new social distancing protocols in place. The government is hoping to open tourist destinations in the country to international visitors in September.

    THAILAND: The Thai Cabinet extended the country’s state of emergency for the fourth time, now running through to 31 August. The intention behind the extension is to keep the country’s COVID-19 case numbers under control.

    VIETNAM: The country is back on high alert as the first locally transmitted cases in over 100 days were detected this week and last week. Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City have been placed on high alert, with bars ordered to close and large gatherings banned. The city of Danang is under full lockdown.

    These COVID-19 insights are taken from Asia House Advisory’s focussed monitoring service, one of the ways in which Asia House is providing analysis on economic and public health policy measures taken by governments across Asia and the Middle East. Please reach out to Ed Ratcliffe, Head of Advisory, at ed.ratcliffe@asiahouse.co.uk for further details on this and our other advisory services.

    Asia House Advisory helps organisations understand new operating environments and meet business-critical challenges. Find out more.

     


    FRIDAY 24 JULY 2020

     

    Ant Group announces long-awaited public offering

    Chinese payments company Ant Group, part of Alibaba, this week announced its public offering – a dual listing on Shanghai’s NASDAQ-style tech-focused STAR market, and Hong Kong’s HKEX. Ant is China’s most popular mobile payments company, with 900 million annual users. A timeline for the listing and fundraising goal has yet to be announced – but a listing of even a small portion of Ant’s shares would make it one of the biggest IPOs by any Asian company. Ant was last valued at US$150 billion in 2018, though this has likely risen to around US$200 billion. The announcement of the IPO pushed HKEX to a position as the world’s most valuable bourse, bringing its market capitalisation to US$62 billion.

     

    US investors look to buy TikTok from Chinese owner

    A group of US investors, led by General Atlantic and Sequoia Capital, has launched plans to buy TikTok from Chinese owner ByteDance. This comes as the US government considers banning the app in the US over data privacy concerns. If the buyout is successful, ByteDance will retain a minority stake in the international business with non-voting shares. Other investors, including US private equity and technology firms, have approached ByteDance but none are as far advanced as this group. The White House is currently reviewing whether to take action against TikTok, which could include putting it on a ‘banned entity’ list that would severely impact its business. These issues will likely need to be cleared before any deal closes.

     

    China opens up more of its financial sector

    The Chinese government on Thursday officially scrapped almost all foreign ownership limits in the country’s financial sector. Foreign investors can now fully own businesses in most areas of the financial sector, including insurance, brokerage, and wealth management. Recent studies suggest that foreign firms could invest as much as US$1.1 trillion worth of assets onshore over the next few years. The change in foreign ownership rules comes as part of a new round of reforms announced last month by the National Development and Reform Commission, and came into effect this week. Foreign ownership restrictions in infrastructure, commercial vehicle making, smelting, and agriculture have also been relaxed. The move is expected to encourage more big foreign players into the domestic capital market, which could take some pressure off local banks. However, analysts warn that obstacles remain for foreign companies looking to grow their business in the country.

     

    Chinese demand for Australian resources remains high

    Despite increasing political tensions between China and Australia, economic data released by the Australian government shows record demand in the mining and energy sectors from China. Demand in these sectors has helped support the national economy through the COVID-19 crisis, with most jobs in the sectors retained throughout the pandemic, and mining investment forecasts positive for the first time in seven years. The government has ruled out the imposition of new mining taxes on resources companies, but despite the strong growth it may begin to look at diversifying the economy away from commodities exports as political tensions continue to rise. Australia has reported an overall budget deficit of 4.3 per cent in the year to June 2020 – the largest since the Second World War.

     

    South Korean tech company relocates from Hong Kong to Singapore

    Naver, a South Korean technology company that rivals Google in the domestic market for web services, has announced it will relocate its data back-up centre from Hong Kong to Singapore. The company, which also owns a majority stake in WhatsApp competitor Line, is one of the first major foreign technology companies to announce an exit from Hong Kong since the controversial new national security law was announced in the city. Other major technology companies, including Facebook, Twitter, and Google, are reviewing their operations in Hong Kong in response to the recent changes amid concern that private user data may be subject to the new laws.

     

    NEXT WEEK IN ASIA

     

    Tougher e-commerce laws to come into effect in India: New regulations for e-commerce businesses will come into effect next week in India. Under the new regulations, e-commerce companies will have to provide much more detailed information around their operations and adhere to stricter standards.

     

    Philippines to present COVID-19 plan: President Duterte is expected to unveil his COVID-19 recovery plan for the country during his State of the Nation Address next week. He will be presenting a detailed roadmap for recovery.

     

    COVID-19: ASIA ROUND UP

     

    INDIA: The state of West Bengal has announced plans to implement a complete lockdown two days a week from 23 July to contain the spread of the virus.

    JAPAN: Foreign residents will be able to re-enter Japan from August as the government begins to ease travel restrictions.

    SOUTH KOREA: New economic data released this week shows that South Korea has fallen into recession, with exports at a 59-year low. GDP fell by 2.9 per cent year-on-year, the steepest decline since 1998.

    INDONESIA: President Joko Widodo signed a presidential regulation bringing COVID-19 mitigation planning and national economic recovery under one division. The move is expected to streamline bureaucratic procedures and will be overseen by Minister of State-Owned Enterprises, Erick Thohir.

    THAILAND: The government has announced its intention to extend the country’s state of emergency by one month through the end of August to effectively control the COVID-19 outbreak. The Cabinet is expected to approve the extension on Tuesday.

     

    These COVID-19 insights are taken from Asia House Advisory’s focussed monitoring service, one of the ways in which Asia House is providing analysis on economic and public health policy measures taken by governments across Asia and the Middle East. Please reach out to Ed Ratcliffe, Head of Advisory, at ed.ratcliffe@asiahouse.co.uk for further details on this and our other advisory services.

    Asia House Advisory helps organisations understand new operating environments and meet business-critical challenges. Find out more.

     


    FRIDAY 17 JULY 2020

     

    SMIC IPO becomes China’s biggest listing in a decade

    Semiconductor Manufacturing International Co. (SMIC), one of China’s biggest chipmakers, has listed on the Shanghai STAR market, becoming the country’s most valuable domestically listed stock. SMIC has a market capitalisation of more than US$85.87 billion after shares surged on their first day of trading on Thursday. SMIC, which is also listed in Hong Kong and counts Huawei and Qualcomm as clients, had said it was aiming to raise at least US$6.55 billion in its share offering to increase its investment firepower. Investor enthusiasm comes as the Chinese government looks to reduce its reliance on foreign chipmakers and boost the country’s semiconductor industry. SMIC’s listing reflects the high priority Chinese policymakers are putting on encouraging domestic technology companies to list in China – and also signifies a move towards a greater decoupling from US capital markets.

     

    Google invests big in India

    Google has announced a US$4.5 billion investment into India’s Reliance Industries digital business, Jio Platforms. It follows a dozen other international investors – including Facebook and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund –committing a total of US$20 billion in the last few months. Reliance Industries has to date sold 33 per cent of the company to various investors as part of a bid to cut debt in the company. For foreign investors, buying into companies such as Jio may be an effective way to tap the country’s fast-growing digital market. Google’s investment in Jio is part of a drive announced earlier this week to invest US$10 billion in Indian digital businesses over the next five to seven years. This marks the latest move by a big international technology company to boost its presence in India’s complex regulatory market.

     

    UK government orders ban on Huawei

    The UK government this week banned Huawei from the building of its 5G network, reversing a decision earlier this year allowing the company a limited role in developing the infrastructure. Operators involved in the development must remove existing Huawei equipment from their 5G networks by 2027, with new legislation to prohibit the purchase of any 5G kit from Huawei by 2021. Existing broadband networks will need to phase out Huawei equipment. The US sanctions imposed on the company prompted a further UK security review of Huawei’s involvement in the national 5G network. The reversal this week is a big win for the Trump administration, which has been encouraging the UK government to exclude Huawei from their 5G networks on the basis of threats to national security. The move, however, could delay the UK’s rollout of its 5G networks by up to three years.

     

    South Korea to invest US$133 billion in digital and green sectors

    The South Korean government announced a US$133 billion package to create 1.9 million jobs over the next five years, focused on the digital and green sectors. The funding will be invested in 10 projects that promote the development of digital technology and environmental sustainability. The new stimulus is also expected to support the export-driven economy as it seeks to tackle the economic damage from COVID-19 lockdowns. Projects earmarked for the investment include a ‘data dam’ to establish infrastructure for collecting and trading big data for use in finance, environment, and transportation; and green energy and eco-friendly future mobility plans.

     

    Global tensions around Hong Kong continue to rise

    Following US President Donald Trump’s signing of a Hong Kong sanctions bill that will strip Hong Kong of its preferential trading status with the US and clear the way for further sanctions, companies are increasingly looking at the viability of future business in Hong Kong. This week has seen The New York Times announcing a move of its Asia-based digital operations from Hong Kong to Seoul; and Deutsche Bank’s new Asia CEO has chosen a base in Singapore. This, coupled with China’s move to tax its citizens’ global income, is continuing to raise doubts about Hong Kong’s appeal to both the financial services industry and international corporations who have set up Asia Pacific headquarters there. However, some commentators argue that the new law will provide stability which will benefit businesses, while Carrie Lam, Chief Executive of Hong Kong SAR, has previously challenged concerns around private sector confidence, citing positive “market sentiments” in response to the law.

     

     

    NEXT WEEK IN ASIA

     

    India to decide on Australian inclusion in defence exercises: India’s defence ministry will make a decision next week on Australia’s participation in the Malabar exercises – an annual set of war games. Japan and the US will also be taking part, and, if Australia joins, the exercise will bring all Quad countries together.

    South Korea to report Q2 GDP next week: South Korea will report its Q2 GDP next week, following reports from Singapore and China this week. A contraction in GDP is widely expected, and would confirm a technical recession in the country – the first since the SARS pandemic in 2003.

     

    COVID-19: ASIA ROUND UP

     

    CHINA: China saw 3.2 per cent GDP growth (year-on-year) in Q2, exceeding forecasts. This follows the first annual decline in decades in Q1.

    HONG KONG: Hong Kong has re-imposed stringent social distancing measures as the city battles a ‘third wave’ of surging infections. Public gatherings have been limited to four people and passengers taking public transport must wear masks.

    INDIA: The Indian government is re-imposing two-week lockdowns in high risk areas across the country as the number of cases continues to surge.

    JAPAN: Tokyo has moved to its highest coronavirus alert level after a spike in new cases. However, businesses have not yet been asked to close or postpone events.

    AUSTRALIA: The government will spend a further US$1 billion to extend a programme to subsidise the wages of apprentices. The country’s wage subsidy package is currently set to expire in September.

    THAILAND: The country’s finance, , energy,, and higher education and science ministers have all handed in their resignations this week ahead of an anticipated reshuffle coming over the next few months.

    PHILIPPINES: The police have been deployed to ensure that those testing positive are following stay at home notices and helping to move others to state-run quarantine centres.

    These COVID-19 insights are taken from Asia House Advisory’s focussed monitoring service, one of the ways in which Asia House is providing analysis on economic and public health policy measures taken by governments across Asia and the Middle East. Please reach out to Ed Ratcliffe, Head of Advisory, at ed.ratcliffe@asiahouse.co.uk for further details on this and our other advisory services.

    Asia House Advisory helps organisations understand new operating environments and meet business-critical challenges. Find out more.

     


    FRIDAY 10 JULY 2020

     

    Singapore heads to the polls

    Singaporeans are voting today in the 2020 general election, with the incumbent People’s Action Party (PAP) expected to retain its supermajority with ease. The relatively competent handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and uncertainty in the face of a looming economic crisis are expected to bolster the mandate of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and the PAP. Other key issues at play in this election include rising unemployment, planned increases in the country’s goods and services tax, and ensuring a diversity of views in parliament. The election will also be a key indicator of public support for Prime Minister Lee’s expected successor, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat, who has been at the forefront of the COVID-19 response.

    Read Asia House Advisory’s guide to Singapore GE2020

     

    TikTok to exit Hong Kong

    TikTok, the social media video app owned by Chinese technology company ByteDance, has announced it will be pulling out of the Hong Kong market. The move follows the passage of a controversial national security law that has raised concerns over the future of Hong Kong as a global business hub. TikTok has joined other technology giants – including Facebook, Google, and Twitter – in reassessing their presence in Hong Kong. The three American tech companies have temporarily blocked Hong Kong authorities from accessing user data while reviewing operations in the city. Global companies across industries, who have traditionally maintained large scale operations in Hong Kong, are continuing to review operations in the city as its future looks increasingly uncertain.

     

    Bank Indonesia buys government bonds

    In a rare departure from usual practices, Indonesia’s central bank has agreed to buy US$27 billion in government bonds directly from the finance ministry. This is part of a new push to fund the country’s economic recovery programme and is worth close to 70 per cent of the debt the government is currently planning to issue to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and boost economic recovery. Recent regulatory changes now allow Bank Indonesia to buy government bonds directly at auction or in the primary market. The changes come as the government continues to look for creative ways to finance economic relief and recovery efforts.

    Luhut Pandjaitan, Indonesian Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment, briefed Asia House Corporate Members on Indonesia’s investment strategy this week.

     

    AirAsia Group shares temporarily suspended

    AirAsia’s shares were temporarily suspended this week due to doubts over the airline’s ability to operate amid widespread travel restrictions. Border and travel restrictions implemented globally during the COVID-19 pandemic have led to a massive fall in demand for air travel, and significantly impacted AirAsia’s business. On Monday, the airline reported a Q1 loss, with only 22 per cent of passengers carried in the period compared to a year before. Though operations are slowly improving as countries begin to relax travel restrictions, AirAsia’s recovery will depend entirely on how the region emerges from the pandemic. The company is in talks to raise more US$234 million in funds.

     

    UK re-evaluating Huawei role in 5G network

    The UK is re-evaluating Huawei’s role in the country’s 5G network following the announcement of US sanctions on the company. In light of new security concerns, the National Cyber Security Centre this week submitted a new report to the government and ministers are now considering the impact of US sanctions on Huawei’s viability as a supplier for the 5G network. Huawei has called for the UK government not to rush their decision, which comes amid a gradually toughening stance on Huawei. If implemented, the new restrictions will further squeeze Huawei’s ability to operate in the UK and could result in an exit from any operations in the country.

     

    NEXT WEEK IN ASIA

    Bank of Japan quarterly report due next week: Japan’s central bank’s quarterly report is due next week, in which it is expected to maintain the view that the economy will see a gradual recovery later this year, despite fears of a second wave of infections.

    China and India to meet for next round of border talks: Indian and Chinese commanders will meet for a fourth round of border talks next week, amid increasing tensions. The talks are expected to focus on a disengagement plan following a border clash earlier this year.

     

    COVID-19: ASIA ROUND UP

    China: Beijing city government reported no new confirmed cases for three consecutive days this week, the first time since the recent surge in infections in the city.

    India: The capital city of Kerala state, Thiruvananthapuram, announced a ‘triple lockdown’ this week as the number of cases continues to surge. India now records the third highest number of cases globally.

    Australia: A new six-week lockdown was imposed in Melbourne this week, with five million residents required to stay home for all but essential businesses. State border closures have also been reintroduced between Victoria and New South Wales.

    Malaysia: Social distancing measures further eased to allow social events of up to 250 people.

    Thailand: The Thai Cabinet approved US$3.2 billion in economic relief efforts to support the economy in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Saudi Arabia: The government has extended private sector stimulus measures to support businesses still recovering from pandemic.

    Iran: The government has reimposed restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including mandatory wearing of masks.

    These COVID-19 insights are taken from Asia House Advisory’s focussed monitoring service, one of the ways in which Asia House is providing analysis on economic and public health policy measures taken by governments across Asia and the Middle East. Please reach out to Ed Ratcliffe, Head of Advisory, at ed.ratcliffe@asiahouse.co.uk for further details on this and our other advisory services.

    Asia House Advisory helps organisations understand new operating environments and meet business-critical challenges. Find out more.

     


    FRIDAY 3 JULY 2020

     

    India bans 59 Chinese mobile apps

    India this week announced a ban on 59 Chinese mobile apps in the country, including TikTok, WeChat, and Alibaba’s UC Browser. The Indian Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has alleged that the apps are breaching the privacy of users and mining data. This comes as bilateral tensions continue to escalate following a deadly border clash last month in which 20 Indian soldiers were killed. The apps will no longer be available from app stores in India, which will halt the rapid growth they have been enjoying in the lucrative Indian market – although users who have already downloaded the apps won’t be affected. The straining political ties between India and China could impact many Indian sectors, including manufacturing and pharmaceuticals.

     

    China overtakes UK as world’s fifth-largest fund hub

    China is now the world’s fifth-largest fund hub, overtaking the UK and France, as growth in its investment sector continues despite the COVID-19 pandemic. China now accounts for 4.1 per cent of global assets. Chinese funds grew significantly in the first three months of 2020, pulling ahead of established asset management markets like France, the UK, Japan, and Australia. Overall, this is positive news for the global investment industry, which has seen large investor outflows and asset price decreases since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Continued expansion and focus on China will be critical for global asset managers looking to boost growth coming out of this year.

     

    Huawei and ZTE classified as US security threat; likely to impact Huawei in the UK

    Huawei and ZTE have officially been classified as national security threats in the US. This will preclude US companies from using government money to buy products from the two firms, thus preventing Huawei and ZTE from receiving any of the US$8.3 billion the government provides for US companies working in underserved areas of the company. This is part of the latest round of efforts to tackle perceived security threats from China, but is likely to have wider-ranging impacts, including on Huawei’s position in the UK. The US sanctions against Huawei could play into the UK government’s debates on whether to reverse its decision earlier this year to allow Huawei a limited role in the building of the country’s 5G network.

     

    China passes Hong Kong national security law amid international criticism

    China’s top legislative body this week passed a controversial national security law on Hong Kong, which was drafted and passed in an unusually quick process. The law will empower Beijing to bring into Hong Kong many methods used in mainland China for policing citizens’ activities. The move has been widely condemned by the international community, with the US suspending Hong Kong import rights this week. Protesters took to the streets in their thousands on Wednesday, with Hong Kong police making their first arrests under the new laws. The legislation may have long-term impacts on the viability of the business environment in Hong Kong, with many international firms now assessing alternative hubs for their Asia Pacific businesses.

     

    Malaysia to pursue WTO action against EU over palm biofuel restrictions

    Malaysia has announced its intention to take legal action at the World Trade Organization (WTO) against the European Union’s (EU) restriction on palm oil-based biofuels. Malaysia is the world’s second-largest palm oil producer and any restrictions imposed by the EU could significantly impact Malaysia’s global trade in the commodity. The European Commission has, however, concluded that palm oil results in excessive deforestation and has passed a law phasing out its use as a transport fuel between 2023 and 2030. Malaysia will be challenging the EU via the WTO’s dispute settlement mechanism. Indonesia raised a similar challenge in December, which Malaysia will also be supporting.

     

    NEXT WEEK IN ASIA

     

    Singapore general elections on 10 July: Singapore will hold general elections on 10 July, electing Members of Parliament for the 14th Parliament of Singapore.

    World Health Organization (WHO) to send team to China next week: The WHO will send a team to China next week to investigate the origins of COVID-19. The WHO has also warned that the pandemic is speeding up and is far from over.

     

    COVID-19: ASIA ROUND UP

    The International Monetary Fund this week further downgraded Asia’s growth prospects to negative 1.6 per cent, down from an April projection of zero growth. The region continues to struggle to contain the COVID-19 outbreak, with China locking down half a million people in Hebei province this week as the number of cases continues to rise. Elsewhere, lockdowns have been extended beyond expected end dates – key manufacturing states in India such as Tamil Nadu and West Bengal have extended lockdown measures; Indonesia has maintained restrictions in Jakarta for an additional two weeks; and Thailand has extended its state of emergency through the end of July.

    In the Middle East, some resumption of activities and the easing of social distancing measures have begun across many parts of the region. Dubai has seen the reopening of all economic sectors and will be open to tourists from 7 July; Egypt has further eased social distancing measures; as has Saudi Arabia; and Qatar has resumed some flights to Europe and Asia.

    At the virtual ASEAN Summit last week, Vietnam warned that the pandemic has swept away years of economic gains. As countries across the region continue to work to contain rising numbers of infections, governments are looking for creative ways to provide economic support.

    These COVID-19 insights are taken from Asia House Advisory’s focussed monitoring service, one of the ways in which Asia House is providing analysis on economic and public health policy measures taken by governments across Asia and the Middle East. Please reach out to Ed Ratcliffe, Head of Advisory, at ed.ratcliffe@asiahouse.co.uk for further details on this and our other advisory services.

    Asia House Advisory helps organisations understand new operating environments and meet business-critical challenges. Find out more.

     

    See previous editions of the Week in Asia 

    JUNE 2020

    MAY 2020