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Bloomberg Businessweek-Asia Edition April 27, 2020

Each issue of Businessweek features in-depth perspectives on the financial markets, industries, trends, technology and people guiding the economy. Draw upon Businessweek's timely incisive analysis to help you make better decisions about your career, your business, and your personal investments.

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Bloomberg Finance LP
50 Issues

in this issue

3 min
in brief

President Trump said he’d stop the issuance of green cards for two months. He also hinted at additional restrictions that could complicate planning for businesses and workers looking to rebound from the coronavirus pandemic. Demonstrators gathered at the Washington state Capitol in Olympia on April 19 to protest Governor Inslee’s stay-at-home order, which is in effect through May 4. Oil suffered an historic price plunge because of massive oversupply and a dearth of storage facilities. West Texas Intermediate futures plummeted to -$37.63 per barrel on April 20, the first negative price ever, as idled industries around the world have depleted demand. ▷ 20 Kim Jong Un was in critical condition after undergoing cardiovascular surgery last week, U.S. officials said they were told. The health of the North Korean leader, who is overweight and a heavy…

1 min

From Boom to Bust in a Few Weeks The U.S. reports GDP for the first quarter on April 28. The data will likely reveal a rapid reversal from a booming economy into one that’s contracting amid a nationwide lockdown, factory closures, and mass unemployment. UBS reports first-quarter earnings on April 28. CEO Sergio Ermotti plans to leave in November, handing the world’s biggest wealth manager to Dutch banker Ralph Hamers. The U.S. Federal Reserve sets its interest rates on April 29. The central bank has little room to maneuver after two emergency cuts brought borrowing costs to near zero. On April 27 the first trial starts to determine whether utility Southern California Edison is liable for damages from the Woolsey wildfire, which tore through Malibu last year. BP’s April 28 first-quarter earnings release will show…

12 min
how china lost biden—and america

Way back in late February, when the U.S. still hadn’t seen a death from Covid-19 and Joe Biden’s campaign for the White House was hanging by a thread, the former vice president made a remark that could prove consequential in shaping global events over the next five years. “I spent more time with Xi Jinping than any world leader had by the time we left office,” Biden said on the debate stage in South Carolina. “This is a guy who doesn’t have a democratic-with-a-small-‘d’ bone in his body. This is a guy who is a thug.” Candidates’ statements aren’t necessarily a guide to how they’ll act in office, but the line now stands out coming from the presumptive Democratic nominee. For one thing, Biden really does know Xi better than anyone…

5 min
dealing with a virus double whammy

As businesses around the globe buckle under the strain of Covid-19, the world’s biggest pork producer is fighting not just one highly contagious virus, but two. And the outcome could determine whether Americans will have enough hot dogs, bacon, and ham this summer. Hong Kong-based WH Group Ltd. is struggling to cope with the virus that causes African swine fever (ASF), a deadly malady that’s devastated hog herds and helped more than double pork prices in China, while also spreading to other countries in Asia and Europe. Like Covid-19, ASF is currently incurable and researchers have yet to come up with a vaccine. China’s pork production fell 29% in the first three months of 2020; the swine disease has slashed the size of the country’s hog herd by about half. Now the…

1 min
products that got harder to buy online

Online shopping has been plagued by shortages since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, according to data compiled by market research firm Euromonitor International. Below is a look at how the inventory of products sold on e-commerce platforms changed in selected countries as the virus spread there. —Mark Glassman *THE FIRST DATA POINT FOR THE CHINA SERIES IS TAKEN 18 DAYS PRIOR TO THE CONFIRMATION OF 100 CASES BECAUSE DATA PRIOR TO JAN. 1, 2020, WEREN’T AVAILABLE. † THE SHARE OF A PRODUCT THAT’S OUT OF STOCK IS THE PROPORTION OF STOCK-KEEPING UNITS FOR A GIVEN PRODUCT CATEGORY THAT ARE LABELED OUT OF STOCK ON RETAILER WEBSITES TRACKED BY EUROMONITOR. DATA: E-COMMERCE PRODUCT AVAILABILITY FIGURES PROVIDED BY EUROMONITOR INTERNATIONAL’S VIA E-COMMERCE INTELLIGENCE PLATFORM ON APRIL 13. CORONAVIRUS CASE FIGURES COMPILED BY BLOOMBERG.…

4 min
the glove bonanza

Well before the new coronavirus came to global attention at the end of January, Lim Wee Chai had a feeling his company was headed for a good year. Since he founded Top Glove Corp. Bhd., the world’s largest maker of medical gloves, in 1991, there’s been one constant: Pandemics are good for business. “SARS, H1N1, bird flu, swine flu—there was a big surge in orders and demand,” Lim says. So as reports of a mysterious virus began to emerge from China, “we prepared ourselves for a big thing.” The same is true of Lim’s local rivals. Malaysia is the world’s largest source of medical gloves, with a market share of about 65%. Dozens of companies, most clustered in industrial cities near the capital, Kuala Lumpur, turn out more than 200 billion…