States face Friday deadline from CDC to submit plans to distribute coronavirus vaccine - CNBC
States have about two weeks to set up coronavirus vaccine distribution centers across the country to meet the Nov. 1 deadline set by the CDC — a monumental undertaking made even more difficult by the fact that a vaccine hasn't been cleared.
Friday marks the deadline for state health officials across the U.S. to submit plans to the federal government on how they will inoculate hundreds of millions ofAmericans against Covid-19 once a vaccine is approved. States have about two weeks to set up distribution centers across the country to meet the Nov. 1 deadline set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention a monumental undertaking made even more difficult by the fact that a vaccine hasn't been cleared by the Food and Drug Administration and clinical trials of two of the four leading candidates have been halted. Most of the potential vaccines require two doses, although Johnson & Johnson's requires just one shot, and some of them need to be transported and stored at varying and specific temperatures. "Everybody needs to realize it's not going to be seamless," said Dr. Marcus Plescia, chief medical officer at the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials. "This is an ambitious undertaking, but we will get there and I think the fact that we have an opportunity to get a little bit in front of something and plan for it is going to make a difference." Operation Warp Speed Once a vaccine is approved, U.S. officials will need tofigure out how many doses go to each state or region. States will then be responsible for disbursing the doses to local providers, according to the CDC's guidelines. "Government does not do these large operational complex functions easily or well," New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, told reporters on a conference call Thursday. "And the federal government has shown that it doesn't have the operational capacity to do these things. That's why the federal government at the beginning of Covid just delegated it all to the states." The federal government is in the process of "actively engaging tens of thousands of provider outlets for these vaccines," Paul Mango, deputy chief of staff for policy in the Department of Health and Human Services, told reporters on an Oct. 9 call. The CDC is also in the process of helping native tribes decide on the best option for vaccine allocation, the agency's deputy director for infectious diseases, Jay Butler, told reporters on the same call. Mango added that the U.S. currently has assembled 40 million-plus vaccination kits with the bottles, needles and other items needed for the shots. "All of those are in warehouses ready to go, so that's a big logistical task or undertaking," he said. Supplies, such as needles and syringes, will be automatically ordered in amounts to match vaccine orders. However, storage and handling of the vaccine will depend on "which vaccines become available and what amount and when," Butler said. Because Pfizer's vaccine needs to be stored at 94 degrees below zero, requiring special storage equipment and transportation, the company's only shipping about 500 to 1,000 doses at a time. The longer it sits on a shelf, the greater a chance it will go bad, Butler said. By comparison, Moderna's vaccine candidate will need to be stored at 4 degrees below zero. There are already tens of thousands ofpotential vaccination centers in the U.S., but not all of them will have the ultra-cold freezers required for some of the vaccines. Funding shortfall So far the CDC has allocated $200 million to jurisdictions for Covid-19 vaccine preparedness, though much of that funding hasn't trickled down to the local level, said Lori Freeman, CEO of the National Association of County and City Health Officials. In many instances, local health departments haven't received any funds for vaccine distribution. Many of them are already strapped for cash and lack the critical data reporting infrastructure and staffing to carry out a vaccine campaign on this scale, Freeman said. The data systems will be critical for understanding what percentage of the population has been inoculated, she said. "When you're talking about executing a mass immunization program on the ground with all the money sitting at higher levels of government, it doesn't make any sense," Freeman said. Plescia, who represents state health officials, said ASTHO has asked the federal government for an additional $8.4 billion in funding to carry out vaccine distribution. That funding would largely go toward filling staffing shortages and ensuring health-care workers have adequate personal protective equipment, he said. "The No. 1 issue that we are trying to be very clear about is the states are going to need more funding," he said. Dr. Janis Orlowski, chief health-care officer at the Association of American Medical Colleges, said public health departments across the country "continue to be underfunded." Health departments will either need more resources and staff to roll out the vaccine or massive assistance from hospital systems and private contractors, she said. Distributing the vaccine will be "very expensive" and complicated, Cuomo said. "How do we administer 20 million vaccines in the state of New York? And how do you do that quickly and how do you do that safely? How do you do the vaccines all across the country?" Cuomo said. "It's clear that the states won't be able to do it on their own ... we need to know what is the plan." Logistical challenges loom In mid-September, the CDC released a 57-page "playbook" to help state health authorities create their own plans for distributing a Covid-19 vaccine. In the playbook, the CDC said it anticipates a coronavirus vaccine will initially be granted an emergency use authorization before earning full formal approval. Even with these guidelines, experts warn the plans submitted on Friday will likely be a rough draft and will vary from state to state as officials scramble toarrange the infrastructure to deliver and store vaccines at below-arctic-cold temperatures and to ease people's potential safety concerns. "We need national guidance. This is going to be a challenge, because states won't know if they'll have enough vials or enough trained people to administer vaccines and some are two shots," said Arthur Caplan, professor of bioethics at New York University Langone Medical Center. Orlowski, who said she's been briefed by federal officials running the vaccine program, said "half of the work is done" because states run large immunization campaigns for the flu and other vaccines every year. But many of the Covid-19 vaccines will require two shots, which raises a big question of how the government plans to trackthe immunizationsto know when someone needs their booster shot. "The CDC has not been clear," she said of whether the vaccine registry will be a federal or state-by-state effort. "I suspect that they're planning for federal registration, but I don't know how they're going to do it. What they have told us is that they'll have more details next week." Who gets vaccinated first? The vaccine will likely be distributed in four phases, with health-care workers, the elderly and people with underlying health conditions getting it first. Essential workers, teachers and people in homeless shelters as well as prisoners would be next on the list, followed by children and young adults. However, the vaccine hierarchy remains complex and who's included in those groups will differ depending on where someone lives, said Freeman, whose organization represents more than 2,800 local publich health organizations. "It can't be sort of this rubber-stamping approach. That hierarchy guidance is really important to come from the federal level, but it still has to be tailored to the community because a rural community might look extremely different from a suburb or an urban community," Freeman said. Local health departments have the expertise to provide outreach to those priority groups, identify ideal vaccination sites and assuage fears over the drug's safety, but Freeman said she's worried county and city health officials haven't been fully engaged in the vaccine distribution planning process. "Our local health departments are doing the best they can to rely on everything that they've done in the past regarding mass vaccination planning and execution, they know how to do this," she said. "Our worry is that they might be left out of it." Rural states could struggle Getting the vaccine to people in poorer or more rural areas of the country may also prove difficult. That's because many states lack the adequate infrastructure to ensure the safe and effective delivery of Covid-19 vaccines that will require special refrigeration, said Lawrence Gostin, a professor of global health law and director of the O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University. "We have procured some ultra cold chain freezers and transport freezers. Dry ice is still on the table and in the works," said Molly Howell, North Dakota immunization program manager, said. "Because we're such a rural state, we want to make sure we're able if that's the only vaccine that's available we want to make sure that we can get it to the rural areas."
Amazon faces strikes in Germany on busy Prime Day - CNBC
Amazon workers across six German cities have gone on strike on Prime Day, which is one of the company's busiest days.
LONDON Amazon workers are striking in Germany on Prime Day, which is usually one of busiest days of the year for the e-commerce giant. Warehouse workers in the German cities of Leipzig, Bad Hersfeld, Rheinberg, Werne, Graben and Koblenz are due to take part in the strike, which is being organized by German labor union ver.di. A spokesperson for Amazon told CNBC that customers will still get their orders on time and that the strikes will have no impact on Amazon's delivery promise. The strike, taking place on Tuesday and Wednesday, is happening because the union and its members think Amazon workers deserve better pay, working conditions and more respect. While the exact number of protesters is unknown, ver.di Union Secretary Andre Scheer said he thinks thousands of staff will take part. Many Amazon customers wait until Prime Day arrives before ordering products they want from the platform. With discounts available across the board, it's an opportunity to grab a bargain. As buyers rush to Amazon to make purchases, the company's warehouses are more busy than usual. "Today our teams, are doing what they do every day delivering for their customers in an environment that's fun, engaging and set-up to help them succeed," an Amazon spokesperson said. "The fact is we already offer excellent pay, excellent benefits and excellent opportunities for career growth, all while working in a safe, modern work environment." "At Amazon, these benefits and opportunities come with the job, as does the ability to communicate directly with the leadership of the company," they added. Ver.di said in a press release that it is also concerned about the "spying" tactics that Amazon is allegedly using to clamp down on labor activists. Amazon deleted two job postings for "intelligence analysts" in September. According to the postings, the jobs involved monitoring various threats perceived by Amazon including trade unions and "hostile political leaders." "It is unacceptable for a company to flout the law," said Orhan Akman, ver.di national specialist for the retail and mail-order sector. Members of the European Parliament wrote to Amazon boss Jeff Bezos on Oct. 7 asking if his company is hiring intelligence agents to spy on politicians, trade unionists, and members of staff. At the time, an Amazon spokesperson said: "The job post was not an accurate description of the role it was made in error and has since been corrected." Christy Hoffman, general secretary of the UNI Global Union, said in a statement: "Amazon workers in Germany and everywhere are fighting for better pay and decent working conditions, but they also expect to keep their constitutional rights intact and have private conversations without Big Brother watching over as they organize online." Hoffman added: "Amazon has failed to ensure workers' safety, and we fear that influx of orders and the grueling Prime Day pace will make a bad situation even worse." An Amazon spokesperson disputed Hoffman's claim. "Today, we are anything but complacent and continue to innovate, learn, and improve the measures we have in place to protect our teams," they said. "This in addition to supplying masks, gloves, thermal cameras, thermometers, disinfectant spraying in buildings, increased janitorial teams, additional handwashing stations, hand sanitizer, sanitizing wipes, and piloting Covid testing at many of our sites." Amazon workers in Germany went on strike in June after staff at several logistics centers tested positive for the coronavirus. Similar strikes have also taken place in the U.S., where Amazon clamped down hard and fired workers. In May, Amazon VP Tim Bray quit "in dismay" at the firm's crackdown. In a blog post, the Amazon Web Services engineer said the firing of protesters was evidence of "a vein of toxicity running through the company culture."
After Singapore greenlights cruises to nowhere, Genting's Dream Cruises says inquiries are 'coming nonstop' - CNBC
Singapore this week announced a pilot program where cruises will make round trips to the city-state with no port of call in between.
SINGAPORE First there were flights to nowhere, now there are cruises to nowhere. This week, Singapore announced a pilot program where cruises will make round trips to the city-state with no port of call in between. Capacity would be limited to 50% and passengers must be Singapore residents. The move is a fresh attempt to bolster travel demand in the middle of a coronavirus pandemic that's infected36 million people around the world and crippled the global tourism industry. To participate, cruise lines have to obtain a mandatory safety certification and will be subjected to an audit before they are allowed to commence sailing. Genting Cruise Lines and Royal Caribbean International are in the process of obtaining that certification, according to the Singapore Tourism Board. "Since the announcement, the calls have been coming nonstop. Online enquiries as well. So, this is very encouraging," Michael Goh, president of Dream Cruises at Genting Cruise Lines, said Friday on CNBC's "Street Signs Asia." Dream Cruises' World Dream ship will be the first to sail from Nov. 6, followed by Royal Caribbean International's Quantum of the Seas starting in December. Goh claimed that once the cruise is ready to sail, it will be one of the stiffest travel options available due to the numerous safety measures that will be implemented. Those include mandatory Covid-19 testing for passengers and crew, frequent and thorough cleaning as well as 100% fresh air ventilation all of which are necessary to get the so-called CruiseSafe certification. "This is going to be the safest holiday option," he said. Unlike staycations in hotels, Goh said "the cruise ship itself is a destination, it has an integrated facility" that includes multiple water slides, ziplines, rock climbing walls as well as dining areas and musical performances. In the early days of the pandemic, cruises were hotspots for the spread of the coronavirus. For example, more than 700 people were infected on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship that was quarantined off the coast of Japan. With reduced capacity, initial voyages are unlikely to be profitable. Goh told CNBC the priority was to regain consumer confidence and that the occupancy rate will gradually increase. He said Dream Cruises' Explorer Dream ship in Taiwan, which has already resumed operations, saw its occupancy rise from an initial 50% to close to 90% at the moment. With a mix of different room types on board the World Dream in Singapore, an increase in gradual occupancy and the tendency for Singapore passengers to spend on dining and beverages onboard, Goh said he was confident the ship would be operational positive in the near future. A similar experience was reportedly being explored by Singapore Airlines, which would have involved a flight route that would take off from and land in Singapore's Changi Airport. Local media reported that the airline, battered by the pandemic, has now dropped its so-called flight to nowhere plan and would instead launch a restaurant onboard one of its parked Airbus A-380 planes.
Asia-Pacific shares mostly higher as Samsung reports third-quarter profit likely jumped - CNBC
Industry heavyweight Samsung Electronics announced Thursday its profit for the three months that ended in September likely rose 58% from a year ago.
SINGAPORE Stocks in Asia-Pacific were mostly higher in Thursday morning trade following an overnight surge on Wall Street. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 gained 0.99% in early trade while the Topix index advanced about 0.8%. South Korea's Kospi rose 0.18%. Shares of industry heavyweight Samsung Electronics dipped about 0 3% despite the firm announcing Thursday its profit for the three months that ended in September likely rose 58% from a year ago. Stocks in Australia also saw gains, with the S&P/ASX 200 up 1.14%. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index lagged regionally among the region's major markets, slipping 0.73%. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded 0.23% higher. Investors likely continued watching for developments on U.S. stimulus support, after President Donald Trump tweeted support for aid to airlines and other stimulus measures. That was in contrast to Tuesday, when he said the White House is halting stimulus negotiations with the Democrats. "Piecemeal US fiscal stimulus doesn't supplant the need for a more comprehensive stimulus package," Kim Mundy, a currency strategist at Commonwealth Bank of Australia, wrote in a note. "The absence of further fiscal support amid growing infections risks putting the US economic recovery in reverse." Meanwhile, on the virus treatment front, Eli Lilly said it's seeking clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for emergency authorization of its Covid-19 antibody treatment. Overnight stateside, shares on Wall Street soared amid hopes that a smaller aid package could be passed by lawmakers. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 530.70 points higher, or 1.9%, at 28,303.46 The S&P 500 jumped 1.7% to finish its trading day at 3,419.45 while the Nasdaq Composite rose 1.9% to close at 11,364.60.The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 93.618 after seeing levels around 93.9 earlier. The Japanese yen traded at 106 per dollar after weakening from levels below 105.6 against the greenback earlier this week. The Australian dollar was at $0.7136 following its decline from levels above $0.716 this week. Oil prices edged higher in the morning of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures up 0.36% to $42.14 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also added 0.18% to $40.02 per barrel.
Asia-Pacific stocks rise as investors watch Trump's health condition following his Covid-19 diagnosis - CNBC
Stocks in Asia-Pacific traded higher Monday morning as investors watched for developments on U.S. President Donald Trump's health after he tested positive for the coronavirus last week.
SINGAPORE Stocks in Asia-Pacific traded higher Monday morning as investors watched for developments on U.S. President Donald Trump's health after he tested positive for the coronavirus last week. Stocks in Australia led gains among the region's major markets, with the S&P/ASX 200 up about 2.1% as shares of the country's major banks surged: Australia and New Zealand Banking Group gained 3.63%, Commonwealth Bank of Australia added 2.65%, Westpac rose 3.74% and National Australia Bank soared 3.26%. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index rose 1.57% in early trade following its return to trade from holidays last week, with shares of HSBC soaring more than 4%. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 rose 1.28% in morning trade as the Topix index gained 1.83%. South Korea's Kospi added 1.06%. Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan traded 1.01% higher. Markets in China are closed on Monday for a holiday. Investors likely continued to watch the situation surrounding Trump's health, with questions remaining over his condition after his doctors announced Sunday that they had begun treating him with dexamethasone, a steroid recommended for severe cases of Covid-19. Still, the U.S. president's physician, Dr. Sean Conley, said Sunday that his condition has improved and may be discharged as soon as Monday. The U.S. president was transferred to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Friday after he was given antiviral drug remdesivir. Meanwhile, Trump's Democratic challenger at the upcoming November presidential election, former Vice President Joe Biden, tested negative for the coronavirus according to his campaign. Hong Kong-listed shares of Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC), China's largest chipmaker, fell more than 2% in early trade after the firm announced Sunday it has undertaken "preliminary exchange" with the U.S. Bureau of Industry and Security on export restrictions. "The Company is conducting assessments on the relevant impact of such export restrictions on the Company's production and operation activities. As the supply period of certain equipment, accessories and raw materials exported from the U.S. will be extended or are subject to uncertainties, it may have potential material adverse effects on the Company's future production and operations," SMIC said in a filing to the Hong Kong exchange. In September, shares of SMIC plunged after the U.S. government announced it was considering putting export restrictions on the company. Sanctions on the chipmaker hit at the heart of China's tech ambitions at a time when tensions are rising between Beijing and Washington. The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 93.763 after its decline last week from levels above 94.4. The Japanese yen traded at 105.52 per dollar after strengthening sharply late last week to levels around 105 against the greenback. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7185 after its rise last week from levels below $0.707. Oil prices were higher in the morning of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures up 1.27% to $39.77 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also advanced 1.57% to $37.63 per barrel.
Asia stocks dip as the Fed signals low rates for years; Australia's August jobs data ahead - CNBC
Investor reaction to recent announcements from the Fed was watched, as members of the U.S. central bank's policymaking committee indicated the overnight rate could stay close to zero for years to reach its 2% inflation target.
SINGAPORE Stocks in major Asia-Pacific markets mostly traded lower Thursday morning as investors react to overnight developments from the U.S. Federal Reserve. Japan's Nikkei 225 slipped 0.14% in early trade while the Topix index hovered above the flatline. South Korea's Kospi shed 0.18%. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 traded slightly lower. Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index shed 0.13%. On the economic data front, Australia's employment data for August is expected to be out at around 9:30 a.m. HK/SIN. The Bank of Japan is also set to release its monetary policy statement at around 12:30 p.m. HK/SIN. Fed reaction watched Investor reaction was watched, as members of the U.S. central bank's policymaking committee indicated the overnight rate could stay close to zero for years to reach its 2% inflation target. "With regard to interest rates, we now indicate that we expect it will be appropriate to maintain the current zero to 0.25% target range for the federal funds rates until labor market conditions have reached levels consistent with the committee's assessments of maximum employment and inflation has risen to 2% and is on track to moderately exceed 2% for some time," said Fed Chairman Jerome Powell. Overnight on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 36.78 points higher, or 0.1%, at 28,032.38. The S&P 500, meanwhile, slipped 0.5% to finish its trading day at 3,385.49. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite dropped 1.3% to close at 11,050.47. Currencies and oil The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, sat at 93.179 after earlier rising from levels below 93.0. The Japanese yen traded at 104.98 per dollar following its strengthening yesterday from levels above 105.2 against the greenback. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7291 after seeing levels around $0.733 yesterday. Oil prices nudged higher in the morning of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures up slightly at $42.25 per barrel. U.S. crude futures hovered above the flatline at $40.17 per barrel. Here's a look at what's on tap:
- Australia: Labor force data for August at 9:30 a.m. HK/SIN
- Japan: Bank of Japan's monetary policy statement at 12:30 p.m. HK/SIN
ByteDance to invest billions, recruit hundreds in Singapore in three years: Reuters, citing source - CNBC
The Beijing-based company is purchasing more cloud-computing servers in Singapore to backup U.S. data for contingency, the source added.
ByteDance, the owner of popular short-video app TikTok, is planning to invest billions of dollars and recruit hundreds of employees in Singapore over the next three years, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters on Friday. The company's plans about setting up a new data center in the city-state is untrue, the source said, adding that the Beijing-based firm had stepped up the purchase of cloud-computing servers in Singapore to backup U.S. data for contingency. Separately, a company source said TikTok had moved some engineers to Singapore from China, starting this year. Bloomberg earlier reported that ByteDance was planning to make Singapore its beachhead for the rest of Asia as part of its global expansion. The news was first reported by Bloomberg earlier on Friday. The investment comes as ByteDance is being forced to sell TikTok's U.S. assets under pressure from the Trump administration, which has cited potential national security risk due to the vast amount of private data the app is compiling on U.S. consumers. According to a Bloomberg report on Thursday, the company is likely to miss the Sept. 20 deadline imposed by U.S. President Donald Trump for the sale of assets, as new Chinese regulations have complicated deal talks with bidders Microsoft and Oracle.
Asia-Pacific stocks trade higher following Wall Street bounce; Yum China debuts in Hong Kong - CNBC
Shares of Yum China slipped more than 4% from their issue price in early trade following the stock's debut in the city.
Stocks in Asia-Pacific traded higher Thursday morning following an overnight bounce for shares stateside. Mainland Chinese stocks were higher in early trade, with the Shanghai composite up 0.75% while the Shenzhen component jumped 1.308%. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index advanced 0.23%. Shares of Yum China slipped more than 4% from their issue price in early trade following the stock's debut in the city. The Nikkei 225 in Japan rose 0.57% in morning trade while the Topix index advanced 0.72%. South Korea's Kospi gained 0.72%. Shares of Kakao Games soared more than 100% from their issue price in the opening minutes of their debut in South Korea. Shares in Australia also advanced, with the S&P/ASX 200 up 0.64%. Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index traded 0.62% higher. Investor reaction to the overnight jump on Wall Street was watched. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 439.58 points higher, or 1.6%, at 27,940.47. The S&P 500 jumped 2% to 3,398.96 and the Nasdaq Composite advanced 2.7% to 11,141.56. Later on Thursday, the European Central Bank (ECB) is expected to announce its interest rate decision as well as monetary policy statement at around 7:45 p.m. HK/SIN. "The ECB is expected to make no policy changes and reiterate it stands ready to adjust all of its instruments, as appropriate, at its policy meeting," Joseph Capurso, head of international economics at Commonwealth Bank of Australia, wrote in a morning note. On the economic data front, the U.S. Labor Department's weekly jobless claims report is also expected at about 8:30 p.m. HK/SIN. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones expect 850,000 new claims, down from last week's 881,000. The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 93.239 following an earlier slip from levels above 93.5. The Japanese yen traded at 106.16 per dollar after weakening from levels below 105.9 against the greenback yesterday. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7263 following an earlier high of $0.7286. Oil prices were lower in the morning of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures dipping 0.34% to $40.65 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also shed 0.6% to $37.82 per barrel. Here's a look at what's on tap:
- Europe: European Central Bank's interest rate decision and monetary policy statement at 7:45 p.m. HK/SIN
- U.S.: Labor Department's weekly jobless claims report at 8:30 p.m. HK/SIN
Singapore's Temasek says its portfolio fell for the first time in four years due to Covid-19 - CNBC
Temasek's net portfolio value fell to 306 billion Singapore dollars ($223.73 billion) for the financial year that ended March 31.
SINGAPORE Singapore's state investment company Temasek said Tuesday the net value of its portfolio fell for the first time since 2016 as the coronavirus pandemic hit global markets. The size of Temasek's portfolio fell to 306 billion Singapore dollars ($223.73 billion) for the financial year that ended March 31, around 2.2% lower than the previous year's 313 billion Singapore dollars, the company said in its annual report. Its one-year shareholder return was minus 2.28%, said the company. But returns were 5% over a 10-year period and 6% over 20 years, it added. Those returns take into account all dividends paid to Temasek's shareholder, less any capital injections. Temasek an active equity investor in both the public and private space is owned by the government of Singapore, a tiny but wealthy Southeast Asian nation. Temasek attributed its investment performance in the past year to the spread of the coronavirus disease, or Covid-19, which caused global markets to plunge in March. The company noted markets have recovered since then, but warned of uncertainties such as U.S.-China tensions. Dilhan Pillay Sandrasegara, executive director and chief executive of Temasek International, said both the U.S. and China have been "significant destinations" for the company's investments in the last five to six years. He explained that what happens to the U.S.-China relationship can affect other economies and companies that operate globally, and Temasek is keeping a close watch on the developments relating to the two economic giants. The company a closely followed global investor invested mainly in Singapore companies in its early days, but has turned into a major global investor in recent years. About three-quarters of Temasek's portfolio exposure is outside its home country and in places such as China, North America and Europe.Two-thirds of its underlying exposure is in Asia, the report said. Assets in China accounted for 29% of Temasek's investment portfolio in the last financial year the largest geographical share. That was followed by Singapore at 24% and North America at 17%, according to the company's annual report. In terms of sectors, the investor has the largest exposure to financial services, which accounted for around 23% of the underlying assets of its portfolio. Temasek said it continued to invest in the financial services, technology and life science sectors. Overall, the company invested 32 billion Singapore dollars ($23.42 billion) and divested 26 billion Singapore dollars in the last financial year.
Singapore’s economy could shrink 7.6% on-year in the third quarter, central bank survey shows - CNBC
A potential worsening in the coronavirus pandemic remains the top threat to the Singapore economy, according to economists surveyed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore.
A man wearing a face mask walks past a mural in Chinatown in Singapore on April 1, 2020. SINGAPORE Singapore's economy is expected to shrink by 7.6% in the third quarter compared to a year ago, with the coronavirus pandemic remainingthe top economic threat, according to a central bank survey of economists and analysts. That would be the Southeast Asian economy's third consecutive quarter of year-over-year contraction. But it will still be an improvement from the second quarter's 13.2% decline versus a year ago which is the country's worst quarterly contraction on record, data by the Singapore Department of Statistics showed. The quarterly survey was sent out last month to 28 economists and analysts who closely monitor the country's economy. The Monetary Authority of Singapore received replies from 26 of them. Here are survey respondents' forecast for the different sectors in the third quarter:
- Accommodation and food services would shrink by 30% in the July-to-September quarter compared to a year ago;
- Construction, one of the sectors most reliant on migrant workers, is projected to contract by 25% year over year;
- Wholesale and retail trade, as well as manufacturing, are forecast to contract by 6% and 0.6% on-year, respectively;
- Finance and insurance appears to be a bright spot, with economists expecting the sector to expand by 4.7% in the third quarter from the prior year.