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COVID-19 Set to Dampen Asean and China’s Economic Growth

The SARS outbreak provides a useful benchmark, but there are significant differences between that epidemic and the latest one.

Boris Sullivan

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Coronavirus Asia

The ongoing coronavirus outbreak will dampen economic growth in China this year, but the scale of the impact remains uncertain and will depend on the duration and intensity of the health crisis, says Fitch Ratings.

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Huge uncertainties remain over the impact of the coronavirus on China’s economy. We believe it is still too early to make definitive adjustments to our GDP forecasts at this stage and instead have examined some illustrative scenarios.

The SARS outbreak provides a useful benchmark, but there are significant differences between that epidemic and the latest one.

Notably, the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) has spread faster than SARS, and official travel and workplace activity restrictions have been more aggressive.

These factors suggest that the impact of the current outbreak on economic activity on a daily basis may be more intense than SARS, but the impact on GDP will also depend on the length of time taken to contain the virus.

https://www.fitchratings.com/site/pr/10109959

The novel coronavirus (Covid-19) will cause damage worth US$2.4-3.4 billion to Southeast Asian nations, the Kasikorn Research Center estimated.

The impact would result from the Covid-related economic slowdown of China that had close ties with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in terms of trade, investment and tourism, the center reported.

If Covid-19 outbreak is contained in 6 months, the Chinese economic growth may be at 4.7% this year, 1.0% lower than earlier expected. That would cut the ASEAN economic value by US$2.4-3.4 billion equivalent to 0.07-0.11% of ASEAN’s yearly gross domestic product. Damage in Thailand would be moderate at US$500-700 million or 0.09-0.13% of its annual GDP, the research center wrote.

Economics

The Future of Asia: greener but with a public and private debt hangover

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a perfect storm, destroying jobs, worsening poverty and inequality, and creating a public and private debt problem—especially for countries and firms already in fragile financial health beforehand

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The Sydney Opera resumed live performances and the city of Melbourne recently hosted the Australian Open tennis tournament with fans (mostly) in attendance.

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Economics

50:50 campaign may not get immediate extension

National News Bureau of Thailand

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BANGKOK (NNT) – The government’s 50:50 co-pay campaign expiring on 31st March may not be getting an immediate campaign extension. The Minister of Finance says campaign evaluation is needed to improve future campaigns.

The Minister of Finance Arkhom Termpittayapaisith today announced the government may not be able to reach a conclusion on the extension of the 50:50 co-pay campaign in time for the current 31st March campaign end date, as evaluations are needed to better improve the campaign.

Originally introduced last year, the 50:50 campaign is a financial aid campaign for people impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, in which the government subsidizes up to half the price of purchases at participating stores, with a daily cap on the subsidy amount of 150 baht, and a 3,500 baht per person subsidy limit over the entire campaign.

The campaign has already been extended once, with the current end date set for 31st March.

The Finance Minister said that payout campaigns for the general public are still valid in this period, allowing time for the 50:50 campaign to be assessed, and to address reports of fraud at some participating stores.

The Fiscal Police Office Director General and the Ministry of Finance Spokesperson Kulaya Tantitemit, said today that a bigger quota could be offered in Phase 3 of the 50:50 campaign beyond the 15 million people enrolled in the first two phases, while existing participants will need to confirm their identity if they want to participate in Phase 3, without the need to fill out the registration form.

Mrs Kulaya said the campaign will still be funded by emergency loan credit allocated for pandemic compensation, which still has about 200 billion baht available as of today.

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Economics

Customs Department Considers Measures to Help SMEs

National News Bureau of Thailand

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BANGKOK (NNT) – The Customs Department is seeking ways to reduce the impact of the exemption on import tax and value-added tax (VAT) for imported goods worth up to 1,500 baht, as such measures are hurting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

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