ING‘s Robert Carnell, regional head of research, APAC, writes (for Seeking Alpha):

– Towards the end of last year, the relatively good performance of most Asian economies in terms of the Covid pandemic started to crack.

– The deterioration has not been as dramatic as in Europe or the US.

– But the tolerance for Covid in Asia is very much lower, and some restrictions have already been re-introduced.

Asia is not immune to Covid

In early December 2020, the very low prevailing daily case numbers in South Korea started to creep up, and at one stage topped 1,200 per day. Japan, which had inexplicably managed to be only mildly affected during earlier waves of the pandemic, started to see its numbers move higher even earlier, though the rise was slower and didn’t really pick up aggressively until late December. Both Korea and Japan’s daily Covid figures are beginning to ease down again now, but at their peak, Japan was registering close to 8,000 cases per day.

Malaysia is now recording around 4,000 cases per day, Indonesia more than 10,000. China too has been seeing case numbers rise (see China section), though so far the numbers remain low relative to the millions who have been confined to their homes in response.

There are exceptions to this trend. In India, daily case numbers continue to fall but they still remain relatively high at around 14,000 a day if we accept the recorded figures at face value…

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