The Economist Asia Edition

The Economist Asia Edition April 18, 2020


The Economist is the premier source for the analysis of world business and current affairs, providing authoritative insight and opinion on international news, world politics, business, finance, science and technology, as well as overviews of cultural trends and regular Special reports on industries and countries.

United Kingdom
The Economist Newspaper Limited - Asia Pacific
51 期号


coronavirus briefs

Boris Johnson was discharged from hospital, where he had been admitted to intensive care. The British prime minister is convalescing at Chequers, an official residence. Taiwan reported no new coronavirus cases on April 14th, the first such interlude in more than a month. China recorded scores of new cases, including an increase caused by local infections. A cluster of cases was discovered on China’s north-east border with Russia. Russia reported several record daily surges in new cases, bringing its total to 25,000. New York City’s cumulative death toll soared past 10,000 as officials added 3,700 previously unrecorded deaths from the disease to the rolls. America’s Supreme Court said it would hold its first-ever hearings by telephone conference, starting next month. For our latest coverage of the virus and its consequences please visit coronavirus or…

the world this week

Politics Donald Trump said that data suggested America was past the peak of the covid-19 outbreak, as he mooted guidelines to reopen the economy. The president created a council to look at the options, some of whose members were surprised to be included. Earlier he started a row with state governors who are trying to co-ordinate the lifting of some restrictions. He claimed they needed his permission; the constitution says they don’t. When a journalist asked Mr Trump what he had done all February to prepare for covid, he called her “disgraceful”. Mr Trump said he would suspend American funding to the World Health Organisation, accusing it of pushing “China’s misinformation” on the coronavirus. Bernie Sanders bowed out as the sole remaining challenger to Joe Biden and endorsed his hitherto rival for president.…

is china winning?

THIS YEAR started horribly for China. When a respiratory virus spread in Wuhan, Communist Party officials’ instinct was to hush it up. Some predicted that this might be China’s “Chernobyl”—a reference to how the Kremlin’s lies over a nuclear accident hastened the collapse of the Soviet Union. They were wrong. After its initial bungling, China’s ruling party swiftly imposed a quarantine of breathtaking scope and severity. The lock-down seems to have worked. The number of newly reported cases of covid-19 has slowed to a trickle. Factories in China are reopening. Researchers there are rushing candidate vaccines into trials (see Briefing). Meanwhile, the official death toll has been far exceeded by Britain, France, Spain, Italy and America. China hails this as a triumph. A vast propaganda campaign explains that China brought its…

a view of the future

OIL, IT HAS been said, is the blood coursing through the veins of the world economy. In 2020 the economy is bleeding red. As covid-19 keeps workers at home and planes on the ground, demand for oil has fallen faster and further than at any point in its history. Amplifying the shock, a furious row between Saudi Arabia and Russia set off a price war in early March. Last month oil prices fell by more than half, leaving a giant industry reeling. On April 12th the world’s energy superpowers broke bread and reached a new deal to try to prop up prices. The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies, including Russia, said they would slash production by 9.7m barrels a day from May to the end of…

fumbling for the exit strategy

SUDDENLY EVERYONE has a plan. Ideas for exiting the covid-19 lockdown are spreading faster than the virus ever did. Spain has let builders return to work, Italy has opened stationers and bookshops, Denmark is allowing children back into nurseries and primary schools. South Africa’s opposition is calling for a relaxed “smart lockdown”. In America President Donald Trump has been sparring with state governors over who should decide what reopens when. Every country is different, but already two things are clear. First, governments need to explain to their people that the world is not about to return to normal. Without a vaccine or a therapy, life will be constrained and economies will remain depressed. Second, testing and contact-tracing are vital to keeping the virus at bay. Countries that failed to invest enough…

jam postponed

OVER THE next month the toll that lockdowns are inflicting on businesses will become more visible as big Western companies report their first-quarter results and start to give investors a steer on what to expect for the rest of 2020. For some, bankruptcy beckons—this week America’s banks warned of a surge in bad debts as households and firms go bust (see Finance section). Most companies will remain going concerns, but face a collapse in profits. As a result a fraught debate is taking place in boardrooms all over the world about whether firms should cut their dividends, the recurring payments they make to their owners. That may sound like a technicality but it is not. Dividends and share buy-backs (another way of returning money to a company’s owners) amounted to $2.2trn…