Asia

India deferred deadlines for filing tax returns, extended a tax amnesty program and unveiled other procedural relief steps, while promising more measures to support the economy amid the coronavirus pandemic, Bloomberg News reported. Tax payers can file their annual returns by June 30 instead of the March 31 deadline for the fiscal year that ended March 31, 2019, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in New Delhi Tuesday. Besides rules will be tweaked to check trigger of insolvency cases against companies, and norms relaxed for holding of board meetings, she said.

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The global airline industry faces losing more than $250bn in revenues, according to the latest forecast from a trade body that has been forced to slash its outlook again as coronavirus spreads. The hit would amount to a more than 40 per cent fall in revenues from 2019, Iata, the industry trade body warned on Tuesday, the Financial Times reported. It is up from a prediction of $113bn made a few days ago and an initial forecast of $30bn at the start of the crisis.

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Malaysia’s banks will offer broader loan deferrals that will involve 100 billion ringgit ($23 billion) of funds as the country seeks more ways to soften the pandemic’s impact on its economy, Bloomberg News reported. Banks will offer six-month deferrals for all loans held by individuals and small businesses and let people convert their credit card debt into a three-year term loan, the central bank said in a statement Wednesday.

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Singapore is bracing for a further jump in bankruptcies after cases surged to the highest in years even before the coronavirus pandemic hit, Bloomberg News reported. The number of individuals filing for bankruptcy soared 47% from a year earlier to 434 in January, the highest since October 2004, according to the latest data from the Law Ministry’s Insolvency Office. Companies in liquidation jumped to 287 last year, the highest since records began in 2005. Singapore’s already-slowing economy is now poised to shrink as the virus slams trade and tourism.

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India will suspend all domestic flights from midnight Tuesday, the final piece of a nationwide lockdown that threatens Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s attempts to revive an economy already expanding at the slowest pace in more than a decade, Bloomberg News reported. The open-ended flight ban compliments a nationwide cancellation of all passenger trains, as authorities try to halt the spread of the coronavirus in the world’s second-most populous nation, and one which has poorly equipped hospitals and inadequate social security.

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Property developers across India’s big cities have been asked to ensure their laborers have enough to eat, even though construction may have halted under a government-imposed lockdown to fight the coronavirus outbreak, Bloomberg News reported. The Hiranandani Group has organized 15 days of food rations for more than 4,000 laborers across sites. Oberoi Realty Ltd. will continue to pay its staff, and Boman Irani, vice president at the Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Associations of India, said large contracting companies, such as Larsen & Toubro Ltd.

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Turkish banks on Monday offered customers some relief from debt repayments and pledged more cash, the latest steps in the campaign to limit the economic fallout from the coronavirus outbreak, Bloomberg News reported. State lenders including Ziraat Bank, Halkbank and Vakifbank allowed clients to postpone repaying debt by three months. Banks also pledged to restructure existing loans to give companies grace periods of as long as 12 months when they aren’t required to make any payments.

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Was that it? Markets’ reaction to the Bank of Japan’s unscheduled monetary policy moves last week in response to the coronavirus outbreak was a swift and highly negative dismissal of the actions taken as inadequate to the challenge posed, the Financial Times reported in a commentary.

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Singapore’s most high-profile restructuring case has attracted a new offer from a Spanish company, adding more uncertainty to a drawn-out process that’s left many retail investors in the lurch, Bloomberg News reported. Water treatment firm Hyflux Ltd. said in an exchange filing that FCC Aqualia SA, which is also in the water management business, plans a potential transaction involving it or its assets, without giving details. Hyflux investors have already been evaluating two different takeover offers and one debt-purchase plan.

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In a related story, Bloomberg News reported that OneWeb, the satellite operator backed by SoftBank Group Corp., is mulling a possible bankruptcy filing to address a cash crunch as it grapples with high costs and stiff competition, according to people with knowledge of the preparations. The company is considering seeking court protection even as it continues to review possible out-of-court alternatives, said the people, who asked not to be named discussing private company plans. OneWeb would be among the first SoftBank-backed companies to file for bankruptcy.

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