Stephen Engle, Bloomberg
17:03 | September 23, 2022
Let’s take a look at some of the upcoming changes.
Yes. This is the big wave that many people living here in the Asia Pacific region have been waiting for a long time. Of course, while the rest of the world was opening, the United States and Europe, as well as regional rival Singapore, which opened in March of this year. Look at this here, it’s all a tsunami, positively a tsunami. Japan will end its border controls almost entirely from October 11. Fumio Kishida, the Prime Minister speaking to the New York Stock Exchange said they would open to be on par with the restrictions or lack thereof in the United States. So Japan would obviously like to take advantage of the extremely weak yen, which reached 1.45 before the intervention. And that weak yen could potentially attract foreign tourists to come and take advantage of the weaker currency. The situation is similar in North Asia, with the exception of Hong Kong, which is pegged to the dollar. But Taiwan’s currency has weakened. South Korea’s currency weakened. These economies opened a bit later than Singapore and others around the world and want to take advantage of the pandemic now. It won’t happen all at once in South Korea or Taiwan. Taiwan will still analyze data for a week before ending its three-day quarantine, but the wave appears to be becoming a reality.
How about Hong Kong Steve? Will this easing of measures actually be implemented?
We await an official announcement. All indications are that the government is days away from making the announcement to move from three days of quarantine plus four days of self-monitoring to zero days of hotel quarantine and seven days of monitoring. Possible change to three days of self-observation. Note that Hong Kong has a big bankers’ summit coming up in the first week of November, followed immediately by the rugby sevens. So any sort of hotel quarantine would be a hindrance to the success of these two events. We’re just waiting. It could happen today. It could be next week. But the implementation will probably be quite fast after they are announced. They make sure all their conditions are in order before they open. But it’s been a long time coming, especially since Singapore has its own bankers summit and is focused on direct competition for high net worth individuals, bankers and the like from Hong Kong. So Hong Kong sees the writing on the wall. And his chief, John Lee, may be winning this internal debate with health officials who would like to see a slightly more conservative approach to containing the virus. Pragmatists seem to be winning this battle for now.