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Asian Economy: Overview, Growth & Development

Israel, S. Korea agree Covid-19 vaccine swap

Israel will deliver about 700,000 expiring doses of Pfizer-BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine to South Korea later this month, and South Korea will give Israel back the same number, already on order from Pfizer, in September and October.

South Korea has quickly distributed the COVID-19 vaccines it has, but has struggled to obtain enough doses in a timely manner amid tight global supplies, particularly in Asia.

“This is a win-win deal,” Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said in a statement announcing the deal on Tuesday. “Together we will beat the pandemic.”

A spokeswoman for South Korea’s Health Ministry said on Tuesday she had no comment on the deal, reported first by Israel’s Haaretz newspaper.

After a world-beating roll-out, Israel has administered both shots to around 55 percent of its population and seen turnout plateau.

India’s services sector activities slump at fastest rate in 11 months in June: PMI

India’s services sector activities contracted further in June as the intensification of the COVID-19 crisis and reintroduction of containment measures restricted demand, a monthly survey said on Monday.

The seasonally adjusted India Services Business Activity Index fell from 46.4 in May to 41.2 in June, as new work intakes and output contracted at the fastest rates since July 2020, which prompted companies to reduce employment again.

Subdued demand conditions resulted in a second successive monthly drop in new business received by services firms. The pace of contraction was sharp and the quickest since July 2020, the survey said.

In Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) parlance, a print above 50 means expansion, while a score below 50 denotes contraction.

When will China’s economy beat the US to become no. 1?

In Beijing, where they’ve just been celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party, leaders are doing their best to present the baton-change as imminent and inevitable. “The Chinese nation,” President Xi Jinping said last week, “is marching towards a great rejuvenation at an unstoppable pace.”

Early in the Covid-19 crisis, when China managed to control infections and maintain growth even as the U.S. suffered hundreds of thousands of deaths and a crunching recession, many were inclined to agree. More recently, an unexpectedly fast U.S. recovery has illustrated just how much uncertainty remains around the timing of the transition—and even whether it will happen at all.

If Xi delivers on growth-boosting reforms, and his U.S. counterpart President Joe Biden is unable to push through his proposals for renewing infrastructure and expanding the workforce, forecasts from Bloomberg Economics suggest China could grab the top spot—held by the U.S. for well over a century—as soon as 2031.

Foreigners entering Indonesia required to show Covid-19 vaccination cards

Foreigners entering Indonesia will be required to show Covid-19 vaccination cards and negative results of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests from Tuesday onwards, an official said.

Foreign diplomats and ministerial-level officials are however exempted, Xinhua news agency quoted spokesman of the Coordinating Ministry for Maritime and Investment Affairs, Jodi Mahardi as saying on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Indonesians who plan to enter the country but have not received any shots of Covid-19 vaccines are only required to show negative PCR test results before their arrivals, he said.

Mahardi said that after their arrival, the Indonesians will receive shots of Covid-19 vaccines after they complete an eight-day quarantine with PCR tests on the first and seventh days.

Indonesia is facing a sharp spike in Covid-19 cases after the long Eid al-Fitr holiday in May and the spread of the more contagious Delta variant.

The country is currently curbing the resurgence by imposing emergency restrictions which will last until July 20.

Bangladesh extends lockdown as cases hit new record

Bangladesh on Monday extended a strict nationwide lockdown, confining people to their homes for another week as coronavirus cases and deaths both hit new records.

Authorities said a record 164 people had died in the previous 24 hours, while almost 1,000 tested positive— the most single day-infections since the first case was detected in March last year.

Nazrul Islam, a top virologist and member of a high-powered national technical committee that asked the government to extend the lockdown, said the situation is“extremely bad”.

“The Delta variant is responsible for 70 percent of the infections. This variant is highly transmissible. And we still have not seen the peak yet,” he told.

Bangladesh has so far reported nearly 950,000 infections and more than 15,000 deaths, figures experts say are likely to be three to four times less than the actual caseload and fatalities.

Under the lockdown imposed at the start of the month, and now extended until July 14, Bangladesh’s 168 million people can only leave home for emergencies and to buy essentials.

Japan business confidence hits highest level since 2018

Confidence among major Japanese manufacturers has hit its highest level since 2018, a key business survey showed Thursday, as they bet on a strong post-pandemic recovery despite some setbacks.

The headline index for big manufacturers’ sentiment jumped to plus 14 from plus five in March, marking the fourth consecutive quarter of improvement, according to the Bank of Japan’s Tankan business survey, a quarterly poll of about 10,000 companies.

The index readings are calculated by subtracting the percentage of respondents who say conditions are poor from those who say they are good. A positive reading means optimists outnumber pessimists.

The figure for large manufacturers has improved for four straight quarters, after plunging into negative territory in April 2020 for the first time in seven years.

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