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A South Asia Economy Index

By- Tejas Maheta

When attempting to summarise the current performance and future portents for the South Asia economy, it's arguable that most of the region's nations are doing relatively well.

Malaysia offers a relevant case in point, as despite combatting Covid-19 whilst also dealing with a global oil price crash and political instability, the nation is poised to record economic growth of 0.5% by the end of 2020.

Sure, this is noticeably down on the initial 2002 forecast of 4.8% growth, but it needs to be considered against the backdrop of an unprecedented combination of socio-economic and geopolitical challenges.

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Similar trends have been reported in Vietnam and Hong Kong, the former of which has recorded no coronavirus deaths at all and remains one of the few nations on course to achieve economic growth this year. But which nations are really leading the recovery in this region, and what should we expect going forward?

Surviving Covid - Currencies and Stimulus Packages

Of course, one thing that unites these nations is the proactive rollout of generous stimulus and quantitative easing packages, with Malaysia having provided an RM295 billion injection into the economy.

Of this, an estimated 15% (approximately RM45 billion) is a direct fiscal injection in the government, with the remaining capital introduced in the form of slashing base interest rates and managing inflation.

Hong Kong has also introduced several rounds of quantitative easing measures since February, with April's iteration providing an HKD120 billion relief package and taking the total government stimulus investment to HKD290 (which equates to 9.5% of Hong Kong's gross domestic product).

In the case of both Malaysia and Hong Kong, these measures have also helped to boost the value of domestic currencies. The Hong Kong dollar rose for the fifth consecutive day last week, for example, while the HK Monetary Authority sold a further HK£3.72 billion of local currency and continued to boost their capital inflows as a result.

The Malaysian Ringgit has also performed relatively well against major currencies of late, although it faces additional challenges in the form of the recent global oil price decline.

So, although crude oil prices have recently rebounded slightly, Malaysia's currency value has been impacted by rising capital outflows and forced to trade within an increasingly narrowing range.

Common Ringgit notes Image source: wikimedia commons

A Look Ahead - What Can we Expect?

Asia was the region first affected by Covid-19, and therefore it stands to reason that its nations should have commenced their recovery quicker than those in Europe and the US.

Interestingly, the shoots of recovery may be green in more ways than one, with the Export-Import Bank of Korea leading the return of Asian green bonds in the primary financial market.

Also Read: Zimbabwe Ends Its Interim Currency

Of course, the idea of sustainable finance and investment has been a hot-button topic in Asia for a while now, while we've also seen a significant increase in demand for Green, Social and Sustainability (GSS) bonds in recent times.

This followed the introduction of a 700 million Euro green bond and Korea's pledge to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050 (following hot on the footsteps of the UK).

With these points in mind, there's clearly the potential for Asia to build on its relative strength and initial Covid-19 recovery by investing in sustainable assets and building a considerably greener future.

(Disclaimer: This article is sponsored and contains commercial links)


Photo by Chelson Tamares on Unsplash

Practising good nail hygiene involves following a systematic process to ensure the longevity of our nail health.

By Rajesh U. Pandya

Although the world is recovering from coronavirus pandemic, we must not lower our guards and stay alert when it comes to hand hygiene to curb the spread of the deadly virus. But are we paying sufficient attention to our nail hygiene? Our nails are the index of well-being for our entire body. The manifestations of several critical diseases were first detected within the dirty nails.

The ignorance towards our nails becomes the breeding ground of harmful bacteria. These germs enter our body through our hands because in India we eat through our bare hands. Therefore, nail hygiene is crucial and without it hand hygiene is incomplete.

Practising good nail hygiene involves following a systematic process to ensure the longevity of our nail health. It includes ensuring that food particles, dirt and dust are not sticking to our nails and there is no build-up of nail bacteria. Thankfully, contrary to popular belief, it is not that difficult to maintain good nail hygiene. A little diligence, awareness and attention are sufficient to keep our nails healthy.

Avoiding nail hygiene makes you prone to viral infections
Due to constant negligence towards the cleanliness of the nails, many serious issues like bacterial and viral infections arise. Often these lead to serious health problems. Our hand hygiene is not perfect till the time we clean the undersides of our nails besides washing hands regularly. Most people don't mind sharing nail clippers with others. This is however an extremely unhygienic practice. When we don't share any of our personal hygiene products then why do we share our nail clippers? Nails harbour abundant germs, bacteria and viruses and sharing nail clippers is equivalent to exchanging those microorganisms.

microscopic organisms Nails harbour abundant germs, bacteria and viruses and sharing nail clippers is equivalent to exchanging those microorganisms.| Photo by CDC on Unsplash

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