Asia

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe doubled Japan’s stimulus measures as he looked to deliver on his bold promise to keep businesses and households afloat with the world’s biggest virus-response package, Bloomberg News reported. His cabinet approved Wednesday a 117 trillion yen ($1.1 trillion) set of measures that includes financing help for struggling companies, subsidies to help firms pay rent and several trillion yen for health care assistance and support for local economies.

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The worst crisis in more than two decades among Indonesia’s smaller companies will boost loan losses and curtail profit at the nation’s largest lender, according to PT Bank Rakyat Indonesia Finance Director Haru Koesmahargyo, Bloomberg News reported. Bank Rakyat expects more than 10 million customers in its core segment -- micro, small and medium enterprises -- to be affected by the Covid-19 outbreak, Koesmahargyo said.

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At a time when fresh bids have been invited for the grounded Jet Airways, the deadline for completion of its insolvency resolution process has been extended till August 21 due to the nation-wide lockdown, imposed to contain the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, Business Standard reported. The full service carrier, which shuttered operations in March 2019, is under Corporate Insolvency Resolution Process (CIRP) and the time period given for its completion was to end on June 13.

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To truly get an idea of how much the COVID-19 pandemic seems poised to change life in Japan over the next few months or so, just take a few minutes to check out the hundreds of online crowdfunding drives currently in operation nationwide, The Japan Times reported. Campfire, Japan’s largest crowdfunding website, has created a devoted section featuring campaigns that help stores, artists and other institutions in need of financial assistance in the wake of the novel coronavirus outbreak.

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The Bank of Thailand cut its benchmark interest rate to a fresh record low and said it was ready to use additional policy tools if needed with the economy expected to shrink further. By a 4-3 vote, the central bank lowered the policy rate Wednesday by 25 basis points to 0.5%, its third cut this year, Bloomberg News reported. All but three of 24 economists in a Bloomberg survey correctly predicted the decision, with the others expecting no change.

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On the night of May 12, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi set the nation of 1.3 billion people abuzz with promises of unleashing a massive stimulus to shore up an economy facing its deepest recession in decades, Bloomberg News reported. A week later and after five drawn-out press conferences by his Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, the entire package of about 21 trillion rupees ($277 billion), or 10% of India gross domestic product, underwhelmed economists and investors alike.

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The Tanzanian unit of Kenya’s ARM Cement Plc has been sold to China’s Huaxin Cement company, its administrator PricewaterhouseCoopers and Huaxin said on Wednesday, paving way for completion of one of its production plant, Reuters reported. Huaxin would inject $116 million into the unit, Maweni Limestone Ltd, to settle liabilities, and another $30 million to complete plant construction and upgrade, according to their joint statement. ARM Cement was put under administration in August 2018 by some of its creditors over a $190 million debt and its shares were suspended from the Nairobi bourse.

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Thailand’s cabinet approved a plan to restructure troubled Thai Airways International Pcl’s finances through a bankruptcy court, the Southeast Asian country’s prime minister said on Tuesday, Reuters reported. The plan for a court-led restructuring of the national carrier replaces a previous proposal of a government-backed rescue package that was heavily criticised in the country. The airline’s troubles are the latest example of how the coronavirus pandemic is crippling the global airline industry.

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The world’s post-coronavirus economic future could depend on mass career migration away from sectors such as retail, entertainment and travel, Japan’s most powerful business leader has warned, the Financial Times reported. Hiroaki Nakanishi, chairman of Hitachi and head of the Keidanren business lobby, told the Financial Times in an interview that propping up businesses during lockdown was not sufficient and governments would need to shift spending away from furloughs towards fundamental economic restructuring.

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Thyssenkrupp AG is considering the sale of units that make steel and submarines as the conglomerate fights for survival in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic, Bloomberg News reported. The company said on Monday it will explore “consolidation options” for the two businesses in the latest plank in management’s strategy to downsize the firm and concentrate on higher-margin business areas after years of struggles. “We have taken some difficult decisions that were long overdue,” Chief Executive Officer Martina Merz said in a statement.

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