Southeast Asia's recovery may be delayed amid lingering Covid disruption: S&P - The Daily Guardian
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Southeast Asia’s recovery may be delayed amid lingering Covid disruption: S&P

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Singapore, February 22 (ANI): A pause in southeast Asia’s economic recovery can steepen permanent economic losses as people stay home more and spend less, according to a report by S&P Global Ratings published on Monday.
Major emerging markets in the region — Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand — are living with the effects of new COVID-19 waves that only recently look to have peaked, said the report titled ‘Delay Risk on the Rise for Southeast Asia’s Recovery.’
“Our baseline estimates still assume emerging southeast Asia will return to its pre-pandemic level of GDP around August of this year,” said economist Vishrut Rana.
“However, delay risks are rising, and a prolonged recovery will drag on the region’s growth rate and lead to higher permanent economic costs,” he added.
As hospitals are filled up with COVID-19 patients in recent months, governments again restricted mobility and households voluntarily stayed home more often. Through late 2020 and into the early part of the new year, mobility stalled and then fell — most dramatically in Malaysia.
While this has not led to a return to the harsh lockdowns of early 2020, it can drag on first-quarter economic performance.
Rana said the biggest threat to timely economic recovery is individual consumer behaviour as people stay home more and spend less. Household spending is key for growth in these economies.
For example, household consumption accounts for almost 60 per cent of GDP in Indonesia and Malaysia compared to less than 40 per cent in China.
Coming into 2021, activity in southeast Asia’s big four emerging markets was between 2 and 8 per cent below pre-pandemic levels. These economies usually grow quickly so this implies very large gaps between where these economies were and where they would have been in the absence of COVID-19.
A two-month delay in the recovery can cut S&P’s 2021 growth forecasts by about 1 percentage point to 5.2 per cent. About two-thirds of this decline will likely come from weaker-than-expected activity in the first quarter, which would have carry-over effects into the second half.
It will also mean higher growth rates in 2022 off a lower base. The longer an economy is stuck with unemployed resources, the larger the damage to balance sheets and workers.
More businesses will close, and more workers will lose jobs, skills and motivation. Together, this will hold back the level of activity once the economy reaches its new normal.
S&P forecasts the permanent loss at about 7.4 per cent. This will rise to 8.1 per cent in a scenario with a two-month delay in the recovery timeline. The Philippines and Thailand will likely see the largest permanent losses at about 12 per cent and 10 per cent respectively.
The Philippines suffered from a deep contraction in 2020 amid exceptionally tight mobility restrictions. For Thailand, the issue is structural and related to the tourism sector, which S&P expects to be one of the last industries to recover from the pandemic.
Aside from the direct effects of the coronavirus, some other risks are tilting to the upside. Most important, external demand may boost growth more than expected this year, especially if the US adds more stimulus soon.
China’s recovery may also rebalance faster than expected, lifting consumer spending and imports, including from the rest of Asia.
Emerging economies in southeast Asia have secured enough vaccine doses for 40 to 50 per cent of their populations on average, although efficacy of the vaccines and timing of distribution remain unclear.
“We still assume a broad vaccine rollout will be in place by the second half of 2021,” said the S&P report. (ANI)

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Air passenger demand globally falls further: IATA

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Geneva [Switzerland], March 3 (ANI): The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has said air passenger traffic fell in January, both compared to pre-Covid levels (January 2019) and compared to the immediate month prior (December 2020).
Total demand in January 2021 measured in revenue passenger kilometres was down by 72 per cent compared to January 2019. That was worse than the 69.7 per cent year-over-year decline recorded in December 2020.

Total domestic demand was down 47.4 per cent versus pre-crisis (January 2019) levels. In December it was down by 42.9 per cent on the previous year.
IATA said this weakening is largely driven by stricter domestic travel controls in China over the Lunar New Year holiday period.

International passenger demand in January was 85.6 per cent below January 2019, a further drop compared to the 85.3 per cent year-to-year decline recorded in December.
“2021 is starting off worse than 2020 ended and that is saying a lot. Even as vaccination programmes gather pace, new Covid variants are leading governments to increase travel restrictions,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

“The uncertainty around how long these restrictions will last also has an impact on future travel. Forward bookings in February this year for the northern Hemisphere summer travel season were 78 per cent below levels in February 2019,” he said.
Asia Pacific airlines’ January traffic plummeted by 94.6 per cent compared to the 2019 period, virtually unchanged from the 94.4 per cent decline registered for December 2020 compared to a year ago.
The region continued to suffer from the steepest traffic declines for a seventh consecutive month. Capacity dropped by 86.5 per cent and load factor sank 49.4 percentage points to 32.6 per cent, by far the lowest among regions.
“To say that 2021 has not gotten off to a good start is an understatement. Financial prospects for the year are worsening as governments tighten travel restrictions,” said de Juniac.
“We now expect the industry to burn through 75 billion to 95 billion dollars in cash this year, rather than turning cash positive in the fourth quarter as previously thought. This is not something that the industry will be able to endure without additional relief measures from governments.” (ANI)

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Wipro joins WEF initiative to advance racial justice, social equality

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Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India], Mar 3 (ANI): IT software major Wipro Ltd has joined the Partnering for Racial Justice in Business initiative launched by the World Economic Forum to promote a culture of diversity, inclusion, equity and justice for people of all racial backgrounds in the workplace.
The initiative is aimed towards driving action and accountability for companies to confront racism at a systemic level, set new global standards for racial justice in business and accomplish necessary policy changes for the inclusion and advancement of professionals with under-represented racial and ethnic identities.
“As a global brand that influences millions of lives across the world, it is our responsibility to accelerate every attempt towards equity and justice,” said Thierry Delaporte, Wipro’s Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director.
“We will do everything we can to help us all rise up and together strive for racial justice. Wipro seeks to access as many different resources as possible to learn from them and introduce inclusive practices into our hiring, retention and employee growth approach,” he said in a statement on Wednesday.
Saadia Zahidi, Managing Director at the World Economic Forum, said with just one per cent of Fortune 500 companies led by black chief executives, the need to tackle racial under-representation in business is urgent and obvious.
“To design racially and ethnically just workplaces, companies must confront racism at a systemic level, addressing not just the structural and social mechanics of their own organisations, but also the role they play in their communities and the economy at large,” she said. (ANI)

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Equity indices on upward trajectory, metal stocks shine

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Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], Mar 3 (ANI): Equity benchmark indices traded higher by 0.8 per cent during early hours on Wednesday with metal stocks witnessing smart gains amid mixed global trends.
At 10:15 am, the BSE S&P Sensex was up by 390 points or 0.78 per cent at 50,687 while the Nifty 50 edged higher by 125 points or 0.84 per cent to 15,044.
Except for Nifty auto which slid slightly, all sectoral indices at the National Stock Exchange were in the positive zone with Nifty metal up by 3.2 per cent, PSU bank by 1.7 per cent and realty by 1.2 per cent.
Among stocks, Tata Steel rose by 5.5 per cent to Rs 775.80 per share while JSW Steel and Hindalco moved up by 4.1 per cent and 2.6 per cent respectively.
The other prominent gainers were Adani Ports, Tata Motors, HDFC, State Bank of India, SBI Life, Axis Bank and UltraTech Cement.
However, auto stocks skidded with Hero MotoCorp down by 1.5 per cent to Res 3,423.60 per share. Bajaj Auto slipped by 1.4 per cent, Maruti Suzuki by 1.3 per cent, Mahindra & Mahindra by 0.6 per cent and Eicher Motors by 0.1 per cent.
Ircon International was down by 5.8 per cent as the offer for sale opened for up to 16 per cent government stake at a floor price of Rs 88 per share in the railway PSU.
Meanwhile, Asian shares edged higher as investors shrugged off concerns that stocks may have rallied too far too fast in the past year.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia Pacific shares outside Japan was up by 0.44 per cent. Japan’s Nikkei stock index rose only 0.03 per cent and shares in China gained by 0.63 per cent. (ANI)

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Nanosafe all set to launch copper-based technology that kills bacteria, viruses and fungi

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New Delhi [India], March 2 (ANI/NewsVoir): With the COVID-19 pandemic still largely looming, and a whopping 11,000 new cases reported daily in India, the demand for microbe killing objects and materials are surging.
A Delhi based technology start-up called Nanosafe Solutions has come up with a copper-based technology that can kill all types of microbes including SARS-CoV-2. The technology called AqCure (Cu being an abbreviation of element copper) is based on nanotechnology and active copper.
According to different types of materials, Nanosafe Solutions offer active copper products to various polymer and textiles manufacturers as well as cosmetic, paints and packaging firms. Actipart Cu and Actisol Cu are their flagship products in powder form and liquid form respectively which can be used while formulating paint and cosmetics. Other than these, Nanosafe Solutions also have AqCure range of masterbatches suitable for every type of plastic items and Q-Pad Tex suitable for converting fabrics to antimicrobial. Overall, their comprehensive copper-based products can be used in every type of everyday materials.
Dr Anasuya Roy, CEO, Nanosafe Solutions said, “Till now, 80% of antimicrobial products are imported by India from developed countries. As ardent promoters of indigenous technology, we would like to bring a change to that scenario. Also, we would like to discourage the use of silver-based antimicrobial compounds imported from such countries, as silver is a very toxic element. On the other hand, copper is an essential micronutrient having no toxicity issues.”
India is home to many bright young researchers and has developed many cutting-edge technologies in institute and research laboratories. But there is no systematic approach to bring those technologies to the commercial marketplace where industries can adopt them. Nanosafe Solutions aims to bridge the gap with a vision aligned with “Atma Nirbhar Bharat”.
NSafe mask, a 50 times reusable antiviral mask and Rubsafe sanitiser, a zero alcohol 24-hour protection sanitiser were products launched by Nanosafe in lockdown times. With such innovative technology-based products in its portfolio, Nanosafe Solutions is also looking for raising the next round of investment so that AqCure technology will reach millions faster.
This story is provided by NewsVoir. ANI will not be responsible in any way for the content of this article. (ANI/NewsVoir)

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Piramal Glass leads the way in streamlining cross-border trade digitisation using the #dltledgers blockchain platform

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Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], March 2 (ANI/BusinessWire India): Piramal Glass, Asia’s largest speciality glass manufacturer, has successfully kicked off its first cross-border trade digitisation programme using blockchain.
The company is prioritising the technology in 2021 as a means of unlocking hidden margins and efficiency through digital automation. The team partnered with the enterprise blockchain platform, #dltledgers, a leading fintech operating out of Singapore and India.
The first phase of this project had four main objectives: to validate the production use of blockchain in Piramal Glass’ supply chain and export operations; to increase transparency while protecting sensitive data and customer integrity; to understand if the technology could enable multiple stakeholders to collaborate on initiatives, such as sustainability; and to establish if blockchain delivers business value in terms of efficiency improvement and ease of use.
The Piramal Glass project may signal for India what is already happening elsewhere around the world – the rising penetration of blockchain in enterprise applications. For years, blockchain was criticised for failing to deliver on its initial business promise. 2020, however, appears to have been a pivotal year. As Deloitte’s 2020 global blockchain survey concluded: “leaders no longer consider the technology ground-breaking and merely promising – they now see it as integral to organisational innovation.”
India has yet to see the exponential rise in blockchain adoption that is being witnessed elsewhere globally, but with organisations like Piramal Group starting to move, this may be about to change. The Piramal Glass project will now progress into its next phase. Focusing on driving visibility and efficiency, the objective will be to streamline supply chain processes throughout the company’s global manufacturing operations and to build out the company’s private, digital network of suppliers and buyers.
The #dltledgers platform will have seamless connectivity with Piramal’s existing SAP systems and will enable export and import digitisation with multiple, global suppliers and buyers simultaneously. As the project proceeds, it will expand into more supply chain product flows, new areas like sustainability tracking, and tackle processes that depend on time-sensitive document transfer, IP security, and authenticity.
Vijay Shah, Vice Chairman of Piramal Glass and Piramal Group board member, added: “Piramal Glass is transforming into a digitally-enabled business. The board is aligning digital initiatives with the company’s organizational strategy. Our customers and vendors are key to our business, so secrecy, privacy, and protecting the Intellectual Property of our stakeholders is of paramount importance. We see blockchain technology is an integral part of our ability to achieve this going forward.”
Sudip Mazumder, Global Chief Digital and Information Officer, Piramal Glass Ltd, said of the project: “The most obvious benefits were the increased level of transparency and audibility between stakeholders in the supply chain, as well as a reduction in manual processes. We were also pleasantly surprised to find that the platform created a sense of urgency, speeding up key business processes, improving collaboration, and even increasing confidence among customers.”
#dltledgers’ Managing Director, India and South Asia, Raji Iyengar, commented: “Piramal Glass took a very structured approach to this project, enabling the #dltledgers team to work almost as an extension of the Piramal team. Clearly, the leadership here has a crisp vision and an urge to stay ahead in the digital transformation journey. Blockchain-based trade digitisation is a great way to keep the wheels of trade moving, especially in pandemic times.”
Singapore-headquartered #dltledgers has a global partnership agreement with Microsoft’s cloud offering, Azure. This enables the platform to scale quickly via a subscription-based “software-as-a-service” (SaaS) model. Designed to be “plug-and-play”, the platform integrates easily with existing processes, with a relatively light touch on existing systems.
This story is provided by BusinessWire India. ANI will not be responsible in any way for the content of this article. (ANI/BusinessWire India)

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Embassy Group and Ivanhoe Cambridge launch a commercial real estate investment and development platform across India and close first flagship project in Bengaluru

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Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India], March 2 (ANI/BusinessWire India): Embassy Group, a leading Indian real estate player, and Ivanhoe Cambridge, a global real estate industry leader and a subsidiary of the Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec, one of Canada’s leading institutional fund managers, announced their partnership to launch an investment platform focused on office business parks in campus-based and mixed-use environments in India.
The Embassy Group will lead all real estate development, project management, leasing and operations, while Ivanhoe Cambridge will leverage their expertise in investment.
The platform will invest in develop-to-core and acquisition of partially developed business park opportunities to cater to the preferences of the millennial workforce in providing flexible workplaces and building sustainable communities across key Indian urban centres. The platform will have an investment capacity of US USD 500M with Ivanhoe Cambridge and Embassy investing in an 80:20 ratio, with an initial focus on the Southern Indian markets of Bengaluru & Chennai. The concept aims at meeting the demand in the expansion of Global Capability Centres and Research and Development Campuses.
The seed asset for the platform will be the first phase of the 60-acre Embassy East Business Park located in Whitefield Main Road in Bengaluru. The first phase will be developed on a land parcel of 9 acres, with a gross leasable area of 1.3 Million sq. ft. The upcoming Business Park boasts of a mixed-use community offering co-living, essential retail and amenities which will create a vibrant ‘work-live-play’ experience for the occupiers.
With its prominent location in the growth corridor on the ITPL Main Road, the Business Park will have direct commuter access to the upcoming ITPL metro station, connecting the park seamlessly to Bangalore’s CBD and will be complemented by accessibility to social infrastructure including a renowned list of educational institutes, hospitals and hotels. The first phase of the project is expected to be ready for occupancy by early 2024.
“This new venture with Embassy will allow us to reinforce our presence in India, a key country in our diversification strategy in Asia,” commented Karim Habra, Head of Europe & Asia-pacific at Ivanhoe Cambridge. “Over the last couple of decades, several global corporations have acknowledged India as a scalable global innovation hub catalyzed by a deep, world-class talent pool. We anticipate this trend to accelerate thus supporting long term demand for sustainable, class A offices in mixed-use campus environments,” he added.
Chanakya Chakravarti, Managing Director, India, at Ivanhoe Cambridge, explained “The healthy build-to-core economics, quality tenant covenants, deepening secondary markets and overall market formalization make for an interesting opportunity. We look forward to collaborating with Embassy, an experienced developer with a formidable execution track record across market cycles, in expanding our portfolio and supporting the continued institutionalization of the Indian RE sector.”
Speaking on the partnership with Ivanhoe Cambridge, Jitu Virwani, Chairman and Managing Director, Embassy Group, said, “This partnership of Embassy Group and Ivanhoe Cambridge is a strategic step towards transforming the commercial real estate landscape in India. Through the Embassy-Ivanhoe commercial office platform, we aspire to develop state-of-the-art business parks in India. We aim to continue delivering a differentiated and holistic workspace ecosystem by integrating concepts like co-living and co-working, expansive office spaces, and easy to access amenities. We are happy to launch the first phase of the Embassy East Business Park, to kick off this strategic alliance with Ivanhoe Cambridge and look forward to a mutually rewarding relationship.”
About Ivanhoe Cambridge
Ivanhoe Cambridge develops and invests in high-quality real estate properties, projects and companies that are shaping the urban fabric in dynamic cities around the world. It does so responsibly, with a view to generating long-term performance. Ivanhoe Cambridge is committed to creating living spaces that foster the well-being of people and communities while reducing its environmental footprint.
Ivanhoe Cambridge invests internationally alongside strategic partners and major real estate funds that are leaders in their markets. Through subsidiaries and partnerships, the Company holds interests in more than 1,000 buildings, primarily in the industrial and logistics, office, residential and retail sectors. Ivanhoe Cambridge held C USD 64 billion in real estate assets as of December 31, 2019, and is a real estate subsidiary of the Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec (cdpq.com), one of Canada’s leading institutional fund managers. For more information: www.ivanhoecambridge.com
This story is provided by BusinessWire India. ANI will not be responsible in any way for the content of this article. (ANI/BusinessWire India)

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