The Asia Eight

Daily must-reads from the world’s most dynamic region

January 20, 2021

1 TOP STORY: Ma seen in public; Alibaba shares surge

2 ATF TV: Questions raised on Africa credit ratings

3 ASIA MARKETS: HSI and CSI300 climb; Nikkei falls

4 NEWS: China bonds shouldn't be ignored by West

5 NEWS: Beijing invokes new coronavirus measures

6 NEWS: Yellen pledges to take tough line on China

7 NEWS: Pandemic boost used-goods sales in China

8 ATF BIG PICTURE: Trump's China trade-war legacy

01 Top Story Ma return to view boosts Alibaba stock

Shares rise more than 10% in Hong Kong after the popular billionaire was seen in a video message he sent to teachers in Zheijiang earlier today; it ends weeks of speculation about his well-being after the suspension of the Ant IPO and the anti-monopoly probe into Alibaba's business

02 ATF TV African success

Simon Quijano-Evans, chief economist at Gemcorp Capital in London, questions the credit ratings of Sub-Saharan African sovereign debt, considering the region has managed the pandemic better than Europe

03 Asia Markets

HSI climbs 1.1% to 29,962.47 and CSI300 adds 0.5% to 3,583.09; Nikkei 225 falls 0.4% to 28,523.26

04 China bonds' time is now

Foreign investors hold just 9.7% of nation's $16 trillion sovereign debt market, the world's second-largest after US, but their presence is growing as Beijing internationalises

05 New Beijing Covid alert

Authorities introduce a new programme for contacts of infected people, involving 14 days of quarantine followed by 7 days of home isolation and another week of tracking 

06 Yellen in China warning

Treasury Secretary-designate takes tough line in US economic policy towards China in a confirmation hearing ahead of her appointment; any softening in approach will wait until talks between the two countries begin under President Biden

07 Second-hand sales surge

Cultural factors have long inhibited these type of sales, but the pandemic may have helped bolster sales via e-commerce sites; annual transactions are now said to exceed $154 billion and could grow significantly more, analysts say

08 ATF Big Picture