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Your Week in Asia

China space station, Alibaba deadline, Nomura results

Your weekly lineup of Asia's biggest business and political events

A Long March-5B Y2 rocket, carrying the core module of China's space station Tianhe, sits on the launch pad of Wenchang Space Launch Center in Hainan Province, China on April 23.    © Reuters

Welcome to Your Week in Asia.

We will begin our week by watching how movies, filmmakers and actors of Asian heritage fare at the Academy Awards. Check out our pocket viewing guide below.

The Golden Week holiday starts in Japan on Thursday. On Saturday, U.S. troops begin to withdraw from Afghanistan to meet President Joe Biden's Sept. 1 deadline. Biden will mark his first 100 days in office by addressing a joint session of Congress on Wednesday. Domestic policy will dominate the speech, but watchers in Asia can listen for details on how Biden plans to position the U.S. for technological and economic competition with China.

South Korea and Taiwan will release GDP figures on Tuesday and Friday, respectively. A rate decision from the Bank of Japan is scheduled for Tuesday.

Keep up with our reporting all week by following us on Twitter @NikkeiAsia.

MONDAY

Asia at the Oscars

This year's Academy Awards will be broadcast live in Asia on Monday morning. Here's our list of the nominees of Asian heritage.

Best director: Beijing-born Chloe Zhao's "Nomadland," about homeless Americans, and "Minari," U.S.-born Lee Isaac Chung's story of an immigrant Korean family in rural America, are two strong contenders for best picture, director and screenplay. A major win for "Minari" would mark the second consecutive triumph for a Korean-language film, following "Parasite."

Best actor: Steven Yeun and Yuh-jung Youn are both nominated for "Minari," while U.K.-born Pakistani actor Riz Ahmed is nominated for "Sound of Metal."

Do Not Split: A nominated short documentary about the 2019 Hong Kong protests has drawn strong criticism from officials in mainland China and Hong Kong, where the awards ceremony will not be broadcast live.

Chinese pharmaceutical results

Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical and Sinopharm Group post first quarter earnings on Monday. Fosun has reportedly submitted clinical trial data for the Pfizer vaccine to Chinese regulators, paving the way for vaccine imports. State-controlled Sinopharm's results should benefit from its Sinovac drug's distribution nationwide and in over 40 countries.

China's NPC mulls maritime laws

China's National People's Congress standing committee will review legislative bills over a four-day meeting, starting Monday. One notable bill is a revision to the Maritime Traffic Safety Law, which is expected to grant wider powers to enforce safety rules in contested Chinese waters. Another is the Data Security Law, which would be the first to regulate the use of citizens' personal information.

Background: The fight over China's law to protect personal data

Posco results after Myanmar exit

South Korean steelmaker Posco will post quarterly earnings on Monday, a week after cutting ties with a venture partner linked to the Myanmar junta. Posco issued guidance earlier this month that said its operating profit soared 134% to 1.1 trillion won ($986.4 million) in the January to March period from a year ago, with sales jumping 12% to 7.8 trillion won. Analysts say Posco will continue enjoying an upbeat cycle, as Chinese rivals are expected to cut production to meet Beijing's efforts to reduce carbon emissions.

TUESDAY

Huarong bond deadline

An offshore bond worth $451 million issued by China Huarong Asset Management, the nation's largest distressed debt manager, will mature on Tuesday. Huarong's financial health has come into question despite its majority ownership by China's Finance Ministry. Recent speculation over a debt restructuring has sent the company's bonds tumbling. Regulators have said Huarong has ample liquidity and is functioning normally, and sources said last week the company had made arrangements to redeem the maturing bond.

HSBC turns the tide

HSBC Holdings is expected to report a surge in adjusted profit before tax from the first quarter, as its provisions for loan losses decline from the coronavirus-induced highs of last year and lower expenses. The focus on Tuesday will be on the impact of the resurgence in the virus, progress on the pivot to Asia and the exit from the U.S and Europe.

Nomura results after Archegos

Nomura is expected to explain its loss of about $2 billion from its business with Archegos Capital Management when the Japanese brokerage posts full-year results on Tuesday. Shareholders are keen to hear about the cause of the giant loss and safeguards Nomura will put in place to prevent a similar debacle.

WEDNESDAY

Biden's first speech to Congress

The U.S. president will deliver a speech in the House of Representatives chamber ahead of his 100th day in office. Biden will emphasize the Indo-Pacific as a priority region for his foreign policy, to prepare for a "strategic competition" with China. He will also push his $2.3 trillion American Jobs Plan, which he is counting on Congress to pass. The sweeping infrastructure bill would invest in sectors including clean energy and semiconductors. White House press secretary Jen Psaki has said Biden also will call for nationwide police reform in his address and discuss the American Families Plan -- another spending bill the administration is set to unveil. It addresses issues including child care and paid family leave, possibly to be paid for by a tax hike on the wealthiest Americans.

ADB 2021 economic forecast

The Asian Development Bank will release its widely followed outlook for 2021. The report provides updated 2021 and 2022 growth estimates for the Asia-Pacific region as well as individual economies, some of which -- including India, Thailand and the Philippines -- are battling a resurgence of COVID infections.

Renesas results after the fire

Semiconductor maker Renesas will release first quarter results and provide updates about a key chip plant that caught fire in March. The plant reopened on April 17, but Renesas said it will take until July before output returns to normal, a further setback to addressing the global chip shortage. The company is still investigating the cause of the fire.

THURSDAY

China begins space station construction

The launch of a 22-ton core module on Thursday will kick off China's construction of a space station in low Earth orbit. The module, called Tianhe, will eventually become the main living space of the T-shaped space station. China's space agency expects to finish construction next year, giving it a permanent space outpost of its own -- a big step in the country's quest for leadership in manned space exploration.

Samsung results

Samsung Electronics announces its first quarter earnings amid a global chip shortage that has seen its operating profit jump 44.2% to 9.3 trillion won ($8.3 billion). Sales in the January to March period rose 17.5% from a year ago to 65 trillion won. Analysts say that the company's mobile and home appliance businesses may have boosted Samsung's profits, even as the chip department suffered from disruption in its Austin foundry during a winter storm in Texas.

Biden marks 100 days in office

The president's early accomplishments include delivering more than 220 million COVID-19 vaccine shots, signing the $1.9 trillion stimulus package and deciding to withdraw all U.S. troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11. Biden has been less successful in taking action on gun violence and police reform, as well as increasing refugee admissions. The president has received just one foreign guest, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, and has just decided on his first overseas trip: visiting the U.K. and Belgium in June.

FRIDAY

Alibaba's reform plan due

A report to China's market regulator is due Friday from Alibaba Group Holding, updating the progress it has made in correcting anti-competitive practices on its platforms. Earlier this month, China's State Administration for Market Regulation slapped a record fine of 18 billion yuan ($2.75 billion) on the e-commerce group for violating anti-monopoly law by using its power to prevent merchants from using other platforms. Regulators also demanded that Alibaba submit self-evaluating compliance reports for the next three years.

WEEKEND

India starts vaccinating all adults

Starting Saturday, India's COVID vaccination program will begin covering all citizens over age 18. India is distributing Covishield, the local name of the AstraZeneca vaccine, and the domestically developed Covaxin. More than 113 million people have received a first dose, and more than 19 million are fully vaccinated.

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