APAC Market Update - 15/09/21
Japan’s COVID-Induced Busines Failures Increases by 49%
- The total number of coronavirus-induced bankruptcies from January to August reached 1,026, accounting for around 26% of all business failures in Japan over the period, with the restaurant and bar businesses having hit hardest
- Restaurants and bars saw revenues plummet due to bans on serving alcohol and restrictions on the movement of people during Japan's on-off state of emergency
- There were 138 coronavirus-induced bankruptcies in July alone. The number has remained above 100 since January
China and India send coal prices soaring
- The price of thermal coal used to generate electricity is nearing a record high as surging demand in China and India collides with a reluctance to invest in new capacity in a world heading for decarbonization
- While coal is sometimes called the least-loved commodity because of carbon emissions, Asia's two largest economies are currently still hooked on the fuel, meaning the rising costs could feed through to higher energy bills and impact economic activity if they persist
- The benchmark coal price was $177.50 per ton on Sept. 10, more than double the level at the beginning of the year and up from about $50 a year ago. The price is the highest in the past 11 years and is nearing the all-time high of the mid-$180s seen in July 2008
Beijing to Break up Ant’s Alipay
- Beijing wants to break up Alipay, the payment app which has more than 1bn users, to create a separate app for the company’s highly profitable loans business, as it intensifies a crackdown on China’s big tech groups
- Chinese regulators have already ordered Ant to separate from its main business the company’s two lending units — Huabei, which is similar to a traditional credit card, and Jiebei, which makes small unsecured loans — into a new entity and bring in outside shareholders
- Officials now want these lending businesses to have their own independent app as well. The plan would also require Ant to turn over the user data that underpins its lending decisions to a new and separate credit scoring joint venture that would be partly state-owned, according to two people briefed on the process
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