Asia

China’s economy has come roaring back from the depths of the coronavirus pandemic, and its currency has joined the ride, the New York Times reported. The currency, known variously as the yuan or the renminbi, has surged in strength in recent months against the American dollar and other major currencies. Through Monday, the U.S. dollar was worth 6.47 renminbi, compared with 7.16 renminbi in late May and close to its strongest level in two and half years.

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China is battling its biggest coronavirus outbreak in months, imposing lockdowns on hard-hit areas, quarantining more than 20 million people and urging citizens to forgo unnecessary travel as the Lunar New Year holiday approaches in February, the Wall Street Journal reported. The tightening, which comes during northern China’s coldest winter in a generation, underscores official skittishness nearly a year after authorities shut down the city of Wuhan to contain the initial outbreak.

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The decision by India’s highest court on Tuesday to temporarily suspend the implementation of new farming laws at the center of huge protests appeared unlikely to end the weekslong showdown choking New Delhi, as protesting farmers declared the suspension a politically-motivated “trick” to ease the pressure on the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the New York Times reported.

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South Korea’s central bank meets this week with Governor Lee Ju-yeol flagging the fragility of an economic recovery threatened by the resurgence of the virus, Bloomberg News reported. With the country facing a possible slowdown in demand at home and abroad, the Bank of Korea is expected to maintain its support for the economy on Friday by keeping interest rates at a record low and showing a readiness to help stabilize markets if necessary.

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India has proposed a pre-packaged insolvency option that will allow creditors and debtors to work on an informal plan and then submit it for approval even as the nation braces for a spike in bankruptcies once the freeze on filings is lifted, Bloomberg News reported. The Ministry of Corporate Affairs has invited comments on the proposal that, if accepted, will become part of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016, according to a statement. A sub-committee that suggested the option has recommended to quickly amend the code, preferably by an ordinance, to implement it.
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Severe coronavirus restrictions around the world to contain surging infection rates weighed on fuel sales, weakening the prospect of energy demand recovery in the first half of 2021, Reuters reported. Most of Europe is now under the strictest restrictions, according to the Oxford stringency index, which assesses indicators such as travel bans and the closure of schools and workplaces. The United Kingdom’s new national lockdown is expected to last until mid-February at least.

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India’s key money-market rates and yields on short-term debt are set to rise after the central bank took its first small step to unwind emergency pandemic measures, Bloomberg News reported. The Reserve Bank of India will aim to drain 2 trillion rupees ($27.3 billion) of banking funds via a 14-day reverse repo operation on Jan. 15, the central bank said in a statement late Friday. This is the first move in a phased normalization of the central bank’s liquidity operations, it said.

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Adani, Tata, Brookfield and JSPL have said they won’t submit financial bids for KSK Mahanadi Power’s ultra-mega power plant unless its water and railway infrastructure are included in the sale, according to people aware of the matter, creating a hurdle in the company’s insolvency process, the Economic Times (India) reported. The four bidders were among seven applicants that had expressed interest in acquiring the power company that owns a 3,600 MW thermal power plant in Chhattisgarh.

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The International Monetary Fund said that China urgently needs to take steps to contain financial stability risks as the economy’s recovery takes hold, Bloomberg News reported. Virus relief measures that are “potentially distortionary” should be gradually phased out, the Washington-based lender said in its annual Article IV report released on Friday.

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New rules from a major Japanese financial industry group to encourage transparency in the corporate bond market took effect this year, with the first debt sales under the guidelines set for Friday, Bloomberg News reported. Japan Securities Dealers Association--which comprises about 500 securities firms, banks, and other financial institutions--put the rules into force on Jan. 1. They require banks underwriting bond deals of over 10 billion yen ($97 million) to disclose to issuers the names and order sizes of major buyers and any investors who bought 1 billion yen or more.

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