Biden’s Asia trip, Australia election, APEC Trade Ministers’ Meeting

Welcome to Your Week in Asia.

U.S. President Joe Biden is set to visit South Korea and Japan later this week. He will also meet Quad leaders in Tokyo to consolidate ties with regional allies during his first trip to Asia as president.

Australia will hold a federal election on Saturday, with the incumbent Liberal-National Coalition government facing off against the opposition Labor Party.

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China April economic statistics

China will release economic data for April. Among items of interest are industrial production and retail sales data, as the monthlong lockdown of Shanghai and other cities weighed on trade last month and added to inflationary pressure. Fixed asset investment, a gauge of capital spending, is another important piece of data to watch for following the government’s pledge to use fiscal policy to support employment and investment.



Thailand announces Q1 GDP

Company earnings:



Prenetics SPAC listing on Nasdaq

Hong Kong biotech startup Prenetics lists on the Nasdaq in a merger with a “blank-check” company backed by New World Development Chief Executive Adrian Cheng. The deal values Prenetics at $1.25 billion and the company will receive up to $459 million in cash.

The company, which provides laboratory and in-home COVID-19 tests, has posted strong financial results on the back of the pandemic. It currently serves the U.K and Hong Kong markets, but is looking to expand into the U.S. and Southeast Asia. Aside from COVID testing, the diagnostics company has also developed Circle Healthpod, a portable machine that can detect infectious diseases and monitor people’s health. Prenetics will be the first Hong Kong unicorn to go public.

Japan announces Q1 GDP

Company earnings: Tencent



East Timor gets new president

East Timorese Nobel peace laureate Jose Ramos-Horta will be inaugurated as the new president of Southeast Asia’s youngest country following a decisive victory over incumbent President Francisco ‘Lu Olo’ Guterres in an election last month. Ramos-Horta, who was previously president between 2007 and 2012, has said his top priority will be to bring East Timor into the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Hong Kong relaxes more COVID-19 rules

Hong Kong’s bars and nightclubs reopen after being forced to shut their doors for nearly six months during the city’s worst coronavirus outbreak. Karaoke lounges, mahjong parlors and cruise ships will reopen, while restaurants will be allowed to stay open until midnight.

Daily coronavirus cases have been falling and Carrie Lam, the city’s outgoing chief executive, said last week that more restrictions could be lifted ahead of the anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover to China on July 1. Businesses have been struggling, with retail sales plunging 13.8% in March when social distancing restrictions were at their strictest. Analysts have slashed forecasts for the city’s economic growth and say recovery hinges on resuming quarantine-free travel to the mainland and the rest of the world.

Monetary policy announcement: Philippines

Company earnings: Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, Grab, Xiaomi



Biden arrives in Seoul

U.S. President Joe Biden arrives in South Korea for a summit with the country’s new president, Yoon Suk-yeol, on Saturday. The two leaders are expected to discuss a wide range of issues, including North Korea’s nuclear missile program, Washington’s proposed Indo-Pacific Economic Framework and China’s influence in the region.

Biden will leave on Sunday for Japan, another key U.S. ally in Asia. The U.S. president will attend a Quad summit there, meeting the leaders of Japan, India and Australia.

NIO debut in Singapore

Chinese electric vehicle maker Nio makes its debut on the Singapore Exchange by way of “introduction,” a quicker and cheaper route to listing on an exchange, after the company was added to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s list of entities facing possible expulsion from U.S. exchanges earlier this month. The automaker used the method to secure a backup listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in March as relations between Beijing and Washington soured.



Australia election

Australia will hold a federal election on Saturday. The latest opinion polls point to a change in the ruling party after nine years of conservative coalition government led by the Liberal Party. The incumbent, Prime Minister Scott Morrison, faces a challenge from opposition Labor Party leader Anthony Albanese. Which of the two candidates presents himself as best able to manage the rising cost of living — the biggest concern among Australians — is likely to emerge the winner.

APEC Trade Minister Meeting

On the same weekend, Thailand will host trade ministers from the 21 countries of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. The ministerial meeting will cap off a week of discussions on the green economy, free trade, and the APEC Safe Passage task force to reopen travel and regional connectivity.

Bangkok governor election

For the first time in nine years, the capital of Thailand will vote for a new governor on Sunday, and surveys indicate trouble for the ruling Palang Pracharath Party. The consistent poll leader has been Chadchart Sittipunt, a former transport minister under former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, who was ousted by the current military government in 2014. Incumbent governor Aswin Kwanmuang is polling at 13.95%, behind Chadchart at 40.25% and Democrat Party candidate Suchatvee Suwansuwat at 15.47%, according to a survey last week by Suan Dusit University.