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Throttled by Beijing’s zero-tolerance approach to Covid-19, China’s economy is facing a spell of slower growth. Economists are toying with the term “recession” to describe it, the Wall Street Journal reported. A recession commonly means two straight quarters of contraction, and that remains unlikely for China, many economists say. The country has many ways to ensure it posts stronger growth than the U.S. and Europe this year, including the ability to unleash heavy government spending.
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South Korea's factory activity accelerated in April, but cost pressures due to the Ukraine crisis and China's strict lockdown measures continued to weigh heavily on manufacturers, a private-sector survey showed on Monday, Reuters reported. The S&P Global purchasing managers' index (PMI) rose to 52.1 in April from 51.2 in March, standing above the 50-mark threshold for the 19th straight month that indicates expansion in activity. Output returned to expansion after shrinking in March, with new orders increasing at a faster pace, though those for exports continued to decrease.
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Japan's manufacturing activity grew at a slower pace from the previous month in April as supply chain disruptions and strict Chinese coronavirus lockdown measures hurt overseas demand, Reuters reported. Activity in the sector was held up by resilience in output, overall orders and optimism about the year ahead, even as producers grew more wary of persisting price pressures, the Ukraine war, logistics logjams and the global economic outlook.
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Companies reopening factories in locked-down Shanghai are booking hotel rooms to house workers and turning vacant workshops into on-site isolation facilities as authorities urge them to resume work while complying with tough COVID-19 curbs, Reuters reported. Hundreds of companies including multinationals Tesla and 3M have reopened factories in the Chinese economic hub under local guidelines requiring them to isolate workers inside a "closed-loop".
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China's three biggest airlines have reported heavy first-quarter losses as prolonged COVID curbs weighed on travel demand and a weakening Chinese currency and rising fuel prices inflated costs, trends which persist in the current quarter, Reuters reported. Analysts expect another year in the red for Chinese airlines as Beijing sticks with its zero-COVID policy to stop the spread of the virus. China Eastern Airlines on Friday reported a first-quarter net loss of 7.8 billion yuan ($1.18 billion) versus 3.8 billion a year earlier.
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The National Company Law Tribunal has directed to initiate insolvency proceedings against Andhra Cement, a company owned by debt-ridden Jaypee Group. The Hyderabad bench of the NCLT (National Company Law Tribunal) has also appointed Nirav K. Pujara as the Interim Resolution Professional (IRP) of the company, and declared a moratorium in respect of the company as per the provision of the Insolvency & Bankruptcy Code (IBC). The company has also shared the order passed by the insolvency tribunal on April 26, 2022, in this regard.

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China will cut import tariffs for all types of coal to zero from May 1, 2022, until March 31, 2023, the finance ministry said on Thursday, as Beijing strives to ensure energy security amid soaring global prices and supply disruption concerns, Reuters reported. Top Chinese officials, including President Xi Jinping, have repeatedly addressed the vital role of coal in China's energy mix despite climate pledges to gradually reduce coal use and to bring the country's carbon emissions to a peak by 2030.
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Indonesia widened the scope of its export ban on raw materials for cooking oil to include crude and refined palm oil, its chief economic minister said on Wednesday, leaving markets in shock over the latest policy reversal, Reuters reported. The announcement flipped the minister's statement a day earlier, in which he had said the export ban would only cover refined, bleached, and deodorized palm olein. The change was "in line with the president's decision and after taking into account the feedback and views from the people," Airlangga Hartarto said in a short statement.
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Singapore authorities aim to conclude their probe of commodity trader Noble Group Ltd. and its subsidiary for potential breaches by the third quarter, with investigations now at an advanced stage, Bloomberg News reported. The investigations -- which have been ongoing since November 2018 -- involve suspected disclosure-related offenses, according to the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s enforcement report published on Wednesday.
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The World Bank has agreed to provide Sri Lanka with $600 million in financial assistance to help meet payment requirements for essential imports, the Sri Lankan president's media division said in a statement on Tuesday, Reuters reported. "The World Bank has agreed to provide $600 million in financial assistance to address the current economic crisis," the statement said. The World Bank would release $400 million "shortly", it said. According to the statement, the World Bank said it would continue to help Sri Lanka to overcome the current economic crisis.
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