Wuhan lockdown ends, Japanese retailer earnings, and Samsung results

Wuhan lockdown ends, Japanese retailer earnings, and Samsung results

April 5, 2020 Off By administrator

Welcome to Nikkei Asian Preview.

Cities around the world besieged by the coronavirus may find some hope this week as Wuhan — the Chinese city that was the initial epicenter of the coronavirus — lifts its lockdown. But if the experience of other Chinese cities is any guide, it may be a while before shoppers return to malls and stores.

In Japan, the coronavirus impact on retail appears to have been more mixed. The nation’s largest retailers will report results this week for most recent quarter, when the country saw a steep drop in inbound tourists that hurt business. But for Japan’s convenience stores and supermarkets, sales actually rose in February, as consumers stocked up on daily necessities and food in anticipation of a Wuhan-style lockdown, according to government data.

Also this week, two Asia-Pacific central banks are also scheduled to meet to address the pandemic’s far-reaching economic consequences.

Keep up with our reporting by following us on Twitter @NAR.


Japan adopts $500 billion stimulus package

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his cabinet are expected on Tuesday to approve a new stimulus package worth 56 trillion yen ($502 billion) to combat the pandemic’s economic impact. The package will include support for the aviation, travel, and restaurant industries, where demand has dropped sharply, as well as providing 300,000 yen to households that have seen a drop in their income.

Singapore shutdown starts

Although Singapore authorities have avoided using the term “lockdown,” the monthlong closure of schools and workplaces in the city-state begins Tuesday. All businesses will close except essential services such as supermarkets, hospitals and transport.

“We have decided that instead of tightening incrementally over the next few weeks, we should make a decisive move now, to pre-empt escalating infections,” Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in a televised message last week.

Read more: Singapore’s “circuit breaker” measures to rein in infections

Australia central bank meets

Australia’s cash rate has been slashed by 125 basis points over the last 12 months. Another cut in March brought the rate to a record low 0.25%, but Australia’s central bank has already ruled out negative interest rates ahead of its next board meeting on Tuesday, saying that interest rates had reached their “effective lower bound.”

Chips a bright spot as Samsung reports 1Q earnings

Samsung Electronics will announce tentative figures for revenue and operating profit from the first quarter. Smartphone sales are expected to have dropped sharply during the January-March period due to the coronavirus outbreak squeezing consumers’ wallets.

But its memory chip segment may have weathered the crisis — CEO Kim Ki-nam said at last month’s annual shareholder meeting that demand for DRAM and NAND chips is still robust.


Wuhan lockdown ends

Wuhan’s complete lockdown will end on Wednesday, marking a total of 76 days of home quarantine endured by the city’s 11 million population in…

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