HQTS: Latest Supply Chain and Trade Updates across Asia – Update Report #3

HQTS maintains a wide range of service locations across Asia. As such, we have collected important supply chain and trade-related information to help you understand the current situation affecting your business. Below is the latest in our series.

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On April 8th, Wuhan, the epicenter of China’s coronavirus outbreak, emerged from an 11-week lockdown. Wuhan authorities have restored all outbound transportation channels. As an essential industrial base in China, the ending of Wuhan’s lockdown is significantly favorable for China’s manufacturing industry as well as the global supply chain.

Elsewhere in China, most factories and foreign trading enterprises have been functioning as usual. The worker return rate for large industrial enterprises has reached 98.6%.



Restriction policies on traveling, logistics, and business operations:

The government extended the ongoing nationwide closure until April 14th. It has also ordered a total lockdown of Dhaka and Narayanganj cities, and Madaripur and Gaibandha districts to fight the spread of coronavirus.

Financial and trading policies:

The World Bank has approved USD 100 million in fast-track financing to help Bangladesh prevent, detect, and respond to the pandemic.

The Bangladeshi government directed all garment factories, except the ones making personal protective equipment, to remain closed until further notice. It has also promised financial help to workers in export-oriented industries, with food and cash for low-income groups for up to six months.



Restriction policies on traveling, logistics, and business operation:

India’s government announced a nationwide lockdown for three weeks from March 24th to April 14th. India has temporarily suspended almost all travel visas and restricted visa-free travel for foreigners of Indian origin.

Financial and trading policies:

Factories across India closed as the coronavirus spreads through the country. India’s manufacturing and export sectors have been greatly affected, notably the pharmaceutical, electronics, textile, and chemical industries.

The World Bank has approved USD 1 billion in fast-track financing. The funds will help India to prevent, detect, and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and strengthen its public health preparedness. The government is also working on a financial package for various sectors, including civil aviation and tourism.



Restriction policies on traveling, logistics, and business operation:

Starting on April 9th, all visitors arriving in Ho Chi Minh City airports, train and bus stations, and by private vehicles will be tested for COVID-19. Border crossings between Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos are temporally closed between April 1st and April 15th.

Financial and trading policies:

The government is considering a USD 2.73 billion emergency package for those affected by COVID-19. The measures will target several beneficiaries over the next three months.

Authorities submitted a proposal to delay tax and land lease deadlines for several industries, ranging from real estate to labor services.



Restriction policies on traveling, logistics, and business operations:

Malaysia extended its countrywide lockdown by two weeks to April 14th, as the coronavirus continues to spread.

Financial and trading policies:

Malaysia’s central bank estimated that the country’s economy could shrink by as much as 2% or grow 0.5% this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. This would be its worst economic performance in more than a decade.

Malaysia announced a USD 53 billion coronavirus relief package, committing generous sums to help businesses and citizens on lockdown to weather the crisis. Malaysia’s new plan features over USD 2.3 billion in cash aid, including 1,600 ringgit (USD 370) one-off payments to 4 million households living on less than 4,000 ringgit a month. Another assistance is available for low-income singles, ride-hailing drivers, civil servants, and public service retirees.

Over USD 23.1 billion will support businesses, including income tax deferments and a USD 693 million soft loan facility for small and midsize enterprises.


The Philippines

Restriction policies on traveling, logistics, and business operation:

The government has announced the lockdown of Metro Manila, followed by all of Luzon Island. It is considering further localized lockdowns. The government also extended strict home quarantine measures on Luzon until the end of April.

Financial and trading policies:

The Philippine government is projecting zero to possibly 0.8% negative growth this year. The government announced its economy could contract for the first time in more than two decades this year due to the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

The government set aside funds to battle the coronavirus outbreak until the end of May. The Philippine central bank announced a significant reduction (200-basis points) to the reserve requirement ratio (RRR) of banks. This, after it opted for a deeper-than-expected 50-basis points cuts in policy rates to counter the economic blow of the virus.



Restriction policies on traveling, logistics, and business operation:

From March 27th, all travelers arriving in Singapore, including residents and long-term pass holders, will have to submit a health declaration online before proceeding with immigration clearance. Singapore works to limit disruptions to companies and workers without having a complete lockdown, as is the case with some countries.

Financial and trading policies:

Singapore has announced three stimulus packages since the start of the outbreak. These are worth a total of 59.9 billion Singapore dollars (USD 41.9 billion), accounting for around 12% of the country’s gross domestic product.

Singapore’s Minister of Trade and Industry, Chan Chun Sing said, “many countries are now fiscally challenged, with few having the headroom to deploy monetary policy as rates are currently so low.” Not many countries have the means like Singapore from our reserves to inject the necessary liquidity into the system.”

The government announced measures that include wage subsidies for all companies, rental waivers, and cash payout for all adult Singaporeans.



Restriction policies on traveling, logistics, and business operation:

The national government is allowing regional authorities to impose lockdowns to control the coronavirus. This is a significant shift in strategy after previously resisting tighter restrictions. That said, there is no official countrywide lockdown.

Financial and trading policies:

Indonesia has boosted its financial crisis plans to cope with coronavirus. The country upgraded its protocol to help failing banks to allow for early responses by all monetary authorities. The finance minister slashed the 2020 economic growth forecast to a high of 2.3%, but possibly hitting a new low at -0.4%.



Restriction policies on traveling, logistics, and business operation:

The government announced a state of emergency as of March 26th, which will stay in effect at least until April 30th. It has banned the entry of foreigners and imposed a nationwide curfew.

Bangkok expanded shutdown to last until April 12th. Phuket, the biggest island in Thailand, has already been on lockdown for at least one month.

Financial and trading policies:

The Bank of Thailand announced that the Monetary Policy Committee would maintain policy rates at 0.75%. However, it projects that the Thai economy could see a sharp contraction of 5.3% from an earlier expectation for the economy to expand by 2.8%. The decline in the economy this year is mainly due to the impact of the coronavirus outbreak around the world.



Restriction policies on traveling, logistics, and business operation:

Pakistan extended lockdown until April 14th, as the number of cases rapidly increased by 3,000 confirmed cases. The country is implementing projects to procure equipment and consumables for 200 hospitals, including 44 tertiary-level hospitals, for effective clinical management of the confirmed cases. All institutions are shut down, except those providing emergency services to combat coronavirus.

Financial and trading policies:

The pandemic is disproportionately affecting daily-wages workers and the economically weaker sections of society. The government announced a relief cash payout to these vulnerable populations to meet daily basic needs.

Local World Bank official, Mariam Altaf, said, “The government of Pakistan and the World Bank are discussing a financial assistance package of between USD 100-200 million “to respond to the COVID-19 crisis in Pakistan effectively.” The National Disaster Risk Management Fund will also contribute about USD 50 million by readjusting its existing resources.


HQTS Performance in March

During the coronavirus outbreak period, HQTS has been making every effort to ensure the safety of all our staff. We have taken bold actions to improve our business under the hardship of the COVID-19 epidemic and to assist our clients in implementing precautionary measures for their supply chain.

Both China and global markets have undergone a downturn period in March due to the coronavirus outbreak. However, HQTS welcomed nearly 200 new clients in March; a 188.7% increase compared to the same period last year.

We are grateful to our clients’ continued trust and loyalty. We are eager to see how HQTS Group can further support our industry in facing this global pandemic.

About HQTS

With over 25 years of experience in quality assurance, HQTS is ready to help your business build meaningful and robust supplier relationships across Asia. Our many service locations are prepared to be your one-stop-shop for your inspection needs, including factory audits, production monitoring, pre-shipment and sorting inspections, and everything in between. This will allow you to know exactly what’s happening on the ground and keep close tabs on your suppliers. Contact us today to find out how we can help you navigate current quality control challenges.

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