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Singapore’s Q2 GDP slumps, but recovery under way, says ANZ

July 14, 2020

SINGAPORE- Advance Q2 GDP estimates show the Singapore economy contracting by 12.6% y/y, sending the country into its deepest recession on record, but ina research note, ANZ Bank says that as large as the slump in economic activity was in Q2, it also marked the low point. "We expect growth to return to positive in Q3 on a sequential q/q basis," ANZ says.

Hong Kong Government accuses Australia of “political agenda” in response to Beijing’s security clampdown

July 10, 2020

HONG KONG - The Hong Kong SAR Government has issued a statement accusing Australia of allowing what it terms a "political agenda" to "override legal co-operation in criminal matters" by suspending "the agreement on surrender of fugitive offenders".

"Obviously such unilateral action will not be helpful to the fight against international crime," the statement says.

China raises flood response to second-highest level

July 13, 2020

BEIJING - China's Ministry of Water Resources (MWR) on Sunday raised its emergency response alert for flood control to Level II, the second-highest in the response system, as heavy downpours continued to lash vast stretches of the country.

The State newsagency, Xinhua, said that, since July 4, alert-triggering floods had been observed in 212 rivers nationwide, among which 19 topped previous water level records, according to the MWR.

China’s Weibo to heavily restrict external links

July 13, 2020

BEIJING - Weibo, one of China's biggest social media outlets, has said it will start to block user links to all but a select number of websites within weeks "in an effort to fight fraud", according to TechNode, one of China's leading high-tech media groups.

Technode quoted Weibo as saying it made the decision because the free service is heavily abused by scammers, as well as pornography and gambling sites.

S&P revises Malaysia Outlook to Negative; 'A-/A-2' Foreign Currency, 'A/A-1' Local Currency Ratings affirmed

June 26, 2020

KUALA LUMPUR -- The economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, combined with depressed oil prices and fiscal stimulus, will weaken the Malaysian Government's debt position for the next few years, according to Standard & Poor's, which is revising its outlook on Malaysia to negative. This reflects additional downside risk to the Government's fiscal metrics, owing to the weak global economic climate and heightened policy uncertainty, S&P says.

S&P affirms Hong Kong 'AA+/A-1+' Ratings, Outlook Stable

June 26, 2020

HONG KONG - S&P Global Ratings today affirmed its 'AA+' long-term and 'A-1+' short-term issuer credit ratings on Hong Kong., and said the outlook remains stable,  reflecting the agency's expectation that Hong Kong's strong economic and financial metrics will allow the Government's creditworthiness to withstand fallout from prolonged social tensions and the COVID-19 pandemic over the next one to two years.

Total China debt reached 258% of GDP in Q1 2020, says Natixis

June 22, 2020

HONG KONG - The global finance group Natixis has updated its estimates of debt dynamics in China, finding that total debt, as a percentage of GDP, rose as much as 11 percentage points of GDP in the first quarter of 2020, to 258% of GDP from 247% at the end of 2019. Natixis says most of the increase came from the corporate sector (excluding LGFVs), which resulted in a 7% jump to 129% in corporate debt as a percentage of GDP in Q1 2020.

Seoul’s 'deep regret' over inter-Korean office demolition by North Korea

June 22, 2020

SEOUL--South Korea's National Security Council held an emergency meeting hours after North Korea demolished an inter-Korean liaison office in the border city of Gaeseong. The council expressed "strong regret" over the North's unilateral destruction of the building, which was established with the signing of the 2018 Panmunjom Declaration.

China’s 2020 growth tipped at 1.8%, India minus 5%, Singapore minus 5.9%, Vietnam plus 3.3%

June 23, 2020

HONG KONG - ANZ Bank has revised its 2020 GDP growth forecasts for Asia to reflect the intensity of the COVID-19 pandemic. The impact of COVID-19 on growth is starting to ease, ANZ says, but the ensuing recovery will be weak, despite an unusually large policy response.

"We expect the output gap to be negative at end-2021 and cannot rule out the possibility that trend growth will be reset at a lower level," ANZ says.