China-ASEAN Monitor: Malaysian manufacturing sector likely to feel impact of Wuhan virus
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Economy, Investment and Trade
Malaysian manufacturing sector likely to feel impact of Wuhan virus
(9 February 2020) Supply chain disruptions due to the coronavirus outbreak in China could potentially curtail growth in the manufacturing segment in Malaysia, according to an economic research firm. Pong Teng Siew, head of research at InterPacific Securities foresees difficulties for Malaysian manufacturers, particularly in the short-term. He added that the impact from this disruption could be seen as early as in the February manufacturing results. In December 2019, Malaysia’s Industrial Production Index (IPI) growth slowed down to 1.3% from 2.0% in November 2019, due to a slump in the mining index. Meanwhile, manufacturing sales in December 2019 expanded 5.2% to RM76.1 billion from RM72.3 billion a year ago, on the back of an increase in transport equipment & other manufactured products (7.7%), petroleum, chemical, rubber and plastic products (5.9%) and electrical & electronics products (2.7%).
Most Southeast Asia Stocks rise as new virus cases slow
(11 February 2020) Stock markets in most Southeast Asian countries rose on 11 February as the number of new coronavirus cases slowed in China. However, the rising death toll prompted concerns over how soon Chinese factories could return to work and kept the gains in check. Singapore stocks closed 0.4% higher, after rising as much as 1.0% earlier in the session while Indonesian shares gave up early gains to end flat. The Philippine index closed slightly higher, lifted by gains in big caps Globe Telecom and GT Capital Holdings while Malaysian stocks gained 0.6%, aided by shares of Tenaga Nasional and Petronas Chemicals Group. Bucking the trend, the Thai index fell 0.7%, marking its worst day in a week.
Thailand cancels China-led project that involves blasting open the Mekong River
(5 February 2020) The Thai government has scrapped a Chinese-led project to blast rapids on the Mekong River, according to a government spokeswoman. The plan to dredge the Mekong River was initiated by China in 2001 to make room for large ships carrying goods from its landlocked southern province of Yunnan to several ports in Thailand, Laos and the rest of Southeast Asia. The plan was, however, opposed by conservationists and Thai communities living along the Mekong River who voiced concerns of environmental harm of the plan that was seen to only benefit China. The Thai Cabinet agreed to scrap the dredging plan during a weekly meeting on 4 February. The Mekong River flows from China, where it is known as the Lancang river, through five Southeast Asian countries.
ADB approves US$2 million funding for COVID-19 tests
(9 February 2020) The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved US$2 million in new funding to support efforts to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus, recently renamed by the World Health Organization (WHO) to COVID-19. According to the ADB, the funds will supplement an ongoing regional technical assistance programme and strengthen response capacity in Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. The new funding will support the development of recommendations for improved outbreak investigation and surveillance, including in rural areas, and the strengthening of health systems’ resilience and capacity for epidemic response. The ADB said that additional technical assistance is under preparation to help other developing member countries improve key economic and health systems, including disease surveillance, provision of medical supplies, outbreak response plans and regional cooperation.