South Korea's central bank is expected to cut its policy rate to a record low on Thursday, as the coronavirus pandemic hits exports in the trade-reliant economy and prospects of a second wave of infections cloud the outlook. Twelve of 19 analysts surveyed by Reuters expect the Bank of Korea (BOK) to cut its base rate by 25 basis points to 0.50% after a 50 basis point emergency cut in mid-March and new quantitative easing measures. "The impact of COVID-19 has started materialising in economic indicators in earnest...The economy would take a considerable amount of time to recover, which adds to the case for a 25 basis point cut," said Paik Yoon-min, fixed-income analyst at Kyobo Securities.
AXA said on Tuesday it would meet the bulk of claims from some restaurant owners after a Paris court ruled last week the French insurer should pay one owner two-months' worth of coronavirus-related revenue losses. Chief executive Thomas Buberl said AXA planned to compensate business interruption losses to the majority of restaurant owners whose contracts were similar to the one studied by the court.
Macau gambling king Stanley Ho, who built a business empire from scratch in the former Portuguese colony and became one of Asia's richest men, died on Tuesday at the age of 98. Shielded from challengers by a four-decade monopoly on gambling, Ho helped transform Macau from a sleepy peninsula dotted with seedy, windowless gambling dens into the world's biggest casino centre. Ho lost his gambling monopoly in 2002 when Macau was opened up to competition, three years after the enclave returned to Chinese rule.
Uber Technologies Inc will cut around 600 jobs in India as part of its plans to cut 23% of its global workforce, as the company navigates a lockdown that has brought businesses in the country to a grinding halt. Last week, Uber said it would focus on its core businesses of ride-hailing and food delivery, and cut staffing by more than a third globally in an attempt to become profitable despite the coronavirus pandemic. "The impact of Covid-19 and the unpredictable nature of the recovery has left Uber IndiaSA with no choice but to reduce the size of its workforce," Uber India and South Asia President Pradeep Parameswaran said.
"Asset quality at smaller banks will also be under pressure this year, and credit risks in some institutions will continue to accumulate," according to a statement sent by China's Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC) to Reuters. Chinese lenders recorded rising soured debt and shrinking net interest margins, a gauge of banks' profitability, amid the economic impact from a prolonged pandemic. Small firms have been allowed to delay loan and interest repayments to help them weather the dislocation in the economy caused by the lockdown ordered while bringing China's epidemic under control.
U.S. private equity firm Warburg Pincus is raising its stake in Asian real estate fund manager ARA Asset Management Ltd (ARA) to 48.7% from 30.7%, as it seeks to capitalise on rising investor interest in property funds, both firms said in a statement. "We look forward to leveraging our strong capital base to help the business become the largest real estate fund management platform in Asia Pacific and one of the largest globally," said Jeffrey Perlman, head of Southeast Asia at Warburg Pincus.
German consumer morale improved slightly heading into June after hitting its lowest level on record in the previous month, a survey showed on Tuesday, suggesting that Europe's largest economy is slowly recovering from the coronavirus pandemic. The GfK consumer sentiment indicator, based on a survey of some 2,000 Germans, remained in negative territory, but rose to -18.9 points from an upwardly revised -23.1 in the previous month. The gradual reopening of many businesses across the country helped to lift the propensity to buy, GfK researcher Rolf Buerkl said.
LATAM is the latest corporate victim of the coronavirus pandemic that has brought a virtual halt to air travel, joining Colombia's Avianca Holdings SA and Australia's Virgin Australia Holdings Ltd in bankruptcy protection as it seeks to restructure its debt. "We have implemented a series of difficult measures to mitigate the impact of this unprecedented industry disruption, but ultimately this path represents the best option," LATAM Chief Executive Officer Roberto Alvo said in a statement.
Suzuki Motor posted its lowest annual operating profit in four years on Tuesday as the coronavirus pandemic hit demand for its cars, but the earnings beat estimates and the Japanese automaker raised its dividend, sending its shares surging.
Aston Martin confirmed on Tuesday that Tobias Moers, CEO of Mercedes-AMG, would become chief executive on August 1, replacing Andy Palmer who stepped down on Monday. The Financial Times newspaper reported over the weekend that Palmer would step down, before he had been informed. "The board has determined that now is the time for new leadership to deliver our plans," Lawrence Stroll, Aston Martin Lagonda's Executive Chairman said.
Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Ltd said on Tuesday it would begin a clinical trial in India to test a combination of two anti-viral drugs, favipiravir and umifenovir, as a potential COVID-19 treatment. Glenmark has secured Indian regulatory approval for the study, which will aim to enroll 158 hospitalized patients with moderate COVID-19, the company said. In India, now among the 10 most affected nations, the death toll reached 4,167 on Tuesday.
Shares in Japan's Marvelous Inc on Tuesday closed up 17% at their daily limit of 682 yen after the games maker announced China's Tencent Holdings Ltd would take a 20% stake. Tencent will spend around 7 billion yen ($65 million) acquiring shares from Marvelous and its largest shareholders, Amuse Capital and its chief executive, Hayao Nakayama, a former Sega executive whose son founded Marvelous.
Spot gold was down 0.3% at $1,724.74 per ounce by 0906 GMT. U.S. gold futures fell 0.6% to $1,725.10. "We are seeing U.S. stocks breaking key levels to the upside, so that is adding bit of selling pressure to gold which has otherwise been supported by the recent geopolitical worries related to Hong Kong," said Saxo Bank analyst Ole Hansen.
The report by the Washington-based National Ocean Industries Association comes as Biden and other Democrats hoping to unseat Republican President Donald Trump in November's election have vowed to shift the country away from planet-warming fossil fuels to help avert the worst impacts of climate change. "It's important for the public and policymakers to understand the ramifications, which are severe," NOIA President Erik Milito said in an interview about the study.
Indian shares gave up early gains to end slightly lower on Tuesday, led by a fall in Bharti Airtel and information technology shares amid concerns over a sharp rise in domestic coronavirus cases. The NSE Nifty 50 index fell 0.1% to 9,029.05, while the S&P BSE Sensex dropped 0.21% to 30,609.30. "Markets didn't have much of a momentum to make a rally after opening higher," said Anand James, chief market strategist at Geojit Financial Services in Kochi, adding that the futures and options expiry later in the week also caused volatility.
Air New Zealand Ltd said on Tuesday it would report an underlying loss in the financial year ending June 30 due to the coronavirus outbreak, but had slashed costs to the extent it had not yet needed to draw down a government loan. The airline has cut 30% of its staff, or 4,000 employees, and will ground its fleet of 16 Boeing Co 777 widebody planes until at least the end of December. "We are preparing for a scenario in which the airline is still 30% smaller than pre-COVID levels in two years' time," Chief Financial Officer Jeff McDowall said in a statement.
Daimler AG plans to invest in Farasis Energy's planned $480 million IPO, aiming to ensure a stable supply of batteries from the Chinese firm as it ramps up electric vehicle production, three people familiar with the matter said. The two firms struck a deal last year for Farasis to supply Daimler with lithium-ion battery cells and Farasis is building a factory in Germany. Daimler and Farasis declined to comment on the potential IPO investment.
Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said on Tuesday the central bank may take more steps to cushion the economic impact from the coronavirus pandemic, maintaining his gloomy outlook even as a state of emergency was lifted in the capital Tokyo. Kuroda, however, said it would be difficult for the BOJ to directly take on any losses financial institutions incur from loans that go sour as a result of the fallout from the pandemic. "Offering subsidies or debt waivers for financial institutions is something that's quite difficult for central banks to do," Kuroda told a semi-annual testimony to parliament.
Chinese social media and gaming giant Tencent Holdings is testing the market's appetite for a U.S. dollar bond deal it plans to offer, according to a term sheet reviewed by Reuters. The company said in a statement on Monday it planned to conduct an international offering of notes under a programme to certain professional investors and would use the proceeds raised for general corporate purposes. The limit means future deals for Tencent would have to be under $8 billion.
China's aviation regulator may make it difficult for Hong Kong's Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd to merge regional arm Cathay Dragon into its main brand because of infractions during last year's pro-democracy protests, two sources said. The airline is looking to cut costs, streamline marketing and consolidate pilot contracts around Cathay Pacific and low-cost arm HK Express, the sources said on condition of anonymity. Rival Singapore Airlines Ltd is doing the same with regional arm SilkAir and budget arm Scoot.
China will strengthen its economic policy and continue efforts to lower interest rates on loans, central bank Governor Yi Gang said, reinforcing expectations of further support measures to revive an economy ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic. Yi, in an interview published by the central bank on Tuesday, said China's economic fundamentals are unchanged despite many uncertainties and reiterated that its current stance on monetary policy will be more flexible.
India's economy is likely to have expanded at its slowest pace in at least eight years in the January-March quarter, partly as a result of the coronavirus clampdown, a Reuters poll predicted. Asia's third-largest economy began slowing last year, but a countrywide lockdown implemented by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 25 halted economic activity completely. "Activity in January and February was strong, but the slowdown in March is likely to have largely offset those gains," Aayushi Chaudhary, an economist at HSBC in Mumbai, said.
Russia overtook Saudi Arabia as China's top crude oil supplier in April, customs data showed, with imports rising 18% from the same month a year earlier as refiners snapped up cheap raw materials amid a price war between the two producers. Russian shipments reached 7.2 million tonnes last month, equivalent to 1.75 million barrels per day (bpd), according to data from the General Administration of Customs released on Tuesday. Supplies from Saudi Arabia fell to 1.26 million bpd, down from 1.53 million bpd in April 2019 and 1.7 million bpd in March.
Nissan has long resisted Renault's proposals for a full-blown merger as executives felt the French carmaker was not paying its fair share for the engineering work it did in Japan, sowing discord that some feared could wreck the partnership. "After the rain, the earth hardens," said one senior Nissan source, citing a popular Japanese proverb that means relationships become stronger after a period of strife. All five sources within the alliance, which also includes Mitsubishi Motors Corp, declined to be named because they are not authorised to speak with media.
World shares forged ahead on Tuesday and commodity markets drove higher as well, as investors disregarded Sino-U.S. tensions to focus on more stimulus in China and a re-opening world economy. Britain's FTSE and Japan's Nikkei led their regions with 2.2% gains, while U.S. S&P 500 futures cleared the 3,000 level for the first time since early March, when the economic impact of the coronavirus was just becoming clear.