Coronavirus News Asia

Lockdown extensions roil Asian markets

(ATF) HONG KONG: Asian markets slid on Friday as investors worried about the severity of the economic damage from the coronavirus pandemic, which has now claimed over 190,000 lives and forced governments to extend lockdowns.

Following India’s decision to extend the nationwide lockdown by nearly three more weeks to May 3, Philippines President Duterte announced an extension of the lockdown on Metropolitan Manila and half the main island of Luzon until 15 May.

This week has already seen governments in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia extend ongoing movement restrictions further while Japan and Thailand are planning extensions as well.

“All this boils down to suggestions that we are likely to see a much deeper economic slump in the region this quarter and a more stretched out recovery than we thought earlier,” ING analyst Prakash Sakpal wrote in a note.

“Extension of containment measures around the region now endangers a steeper economic dip than we earlier thought. No prizes for guessing – most of the data releases next week could be the worst readings in recent history.”

Normalising economy

These challenges in normalising economic activity with no clarity on a proven vaccine means that the current quarter could see another wave of dire economic data.

“The pressure to lift the lockdowns more rapidly will now intensify as the economic damage becomes more apparent,” said Keith Wade, Schroders Chief Economist and Strategist. 

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