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China’s economic imbalances laid bare by new figures showing the rich get richer, as poor provinces lag

Cash from China’s financial system flowed mainly to the affluent Pearl River and Yangtze River Deltas in 2019, while funding for hard hit rust-belt provinces dried up, according to new figures published by its central bank.

The figures offered fresh evidence of an increasing unequal financial landscape in the world’s second biggest economy.

Rich areas continue to absorb more funds and talent to become richer, while poor areas lag behind. This imbalance presents a significant challenge for Beijing, as it attempts to navigate the wider issues that come with slowing economic growth

Guangdong the economic powerhouse adjoining Hong Kong, topped the list of provincial funding compiled by the People’s Bank of China, receiving 2.92 trillion yuan (US$417 billion) in the form of bank loans, bond issuance, and trust investments. This was 11.4 per cent of the national total. Guangdong accounts for 8.1 per cent of China’s population and 10.9 per cent of economic output.


BSP slashes rates, rolls out borrowers’ relief package as pandemic deepens


MANILA, Philippines — In its strongest response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic to date, the central bank on Thursday cut its key interest rate by half a percentage point in a move meant to help the Philippine economy regain its momentum after a widely expected slowdown.

In a phone message to reporters, BangkoSentral ng Pilipinas Governor Benjamin Diokno said the 50-basis point rate cut was also augmented by the Monetary Board with a broad relief package meant to help both banks as well as their borrowers.


PH financial markets reopen


The Philippines resumed bond and foreign exchange trading on Wednesday and is poised to reopen the stock exchange on Thursday as the government agreed to exempt financial markets from the monthlong Luzon-wide lockdown.

But to comply with the prohibition against mass gather­ings as a way to combat the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, these institutions will have to follow stringent “social distancing” requirements. The Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE), for its part, will reopen without operating its physi­cal trading floor in Bonifacio Glo­bal City.

The PSE was locked down on Tuesday along with fixed-income trading platform PhilippineDealing and Exchange Corp., and the spot foreign exchange market following the government’s order to place the entire Luzon island under “enhanced community quarantine.” Only private establishments providing utilities and basic necessities as well as those related to food and medicine production, business process outsourcing and export-oriented industries were allowed to open.Financial market utilities will henceforth be exempted from the lockdown.

COVID-19 pandemic rewrites ADB schedule

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will move to the Philippines the first part of 2020’s annual meeting of governors on May 22 after concerns over COVID-19 postponed the meeting supposed to be held in South Korea, one of the countries hardest hit by the pandemic.

In a statement on Friday (March 20), ADB said after cancelling the Korea meeting, the Manila-based lender decided to hold it in “two stages.

After the Manila meeting, ADB would hold its next meeting on Sept. 18-21 “for a second stage that will comprise a full-scale annual meeting” in Incheon, South Korea.

“The safety of annual meeting participants is of utmost importance,” ADB said.

It said after consulting with the South Korean government it was decided that the “adjusted approach to the meeting is appropriate in view of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.”

When ADB president MasatsuguAsakawa met with President Rodrigo Duterte last Feb. 24, Dominguez already offered the Philippines as host in case the lender will relocate the meeting venue following COVID-19’s onslaught in South Korea.


Airlines keep planes flying for essential cargo amid COVID-19 restrictions

Local carriers on Friday (March 20) said cargo operations from Manila will continue after passenger services were halted for the duration of the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon against COVID-19.

PAL spokesman Cielo Villaluna said on a social media post that the airline continues to operate cargo-only flights between Manila and Cebu. She said cargo flights would next service the Manila-Davao route.