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Your Week in Asia

Hong Kong reopens, China trade data and Nintendo results

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

The Switch gaming device has been a boon for Nintendo amid the coronavirus downturn. 

Welcome to Nikkei Asian Preview.

The monthlong state of emergency declared by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was set to be lifted on Wednesday, when Japan's annual Golden Week holiday ends. But Abe last week told reporters he believed it would be "impossible" to return to normal on May 7. The prime minister is expected to announce an extension on Monday.

The situation looks different in Hong Kong, where government offices will reopen this week after new coronavirus cases dropped to zero in recent days.

It will be a big week for Japanese companies, with earnings announcements coming from two brokerage houses and Nintendo, a rare beneficiary of worldwide quarantine measures.

Keep up with our reporting by following us on Twitter @NAR.


Hong Kong government reopens with GDP report

Hong Kong will report what could be its biggest-ever quarterly economic contraction on Monday. Financial Secretary Paul Chan warned that the advanced gross domestic product reading "may be worse than what Hong Kong experienced during the global financial crisis and the Asian financial turmoil," when the city experienced quarterly declines of 7.8% and 8.3%, respectively.

Thailand commemorates king's coronation amid emergency

After Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha's cabinet rejected a proposal from the Culture Ministry to postpone holidays in May, Thailand will celebrate the anniversary of King Maha Vajiralongkorn's coronation on Monday, and the Buddhist holiday Visakha Bucha on Wednesday.

The holidays will be observed under a state of emergency and curfew imposed by the central government. The measures were to end on April 30 but were extended until May 31 to keep the local COVID-19 outbreak under control.

A look back at the 66-year-old king's coronation ceremony last year.


Hong Kong reports retail data

After 13 consecutive months of declining retail sales, Hong Kong is set to report yet another steep fall for March. Tourism remained weak and lockdown measures depressed domestic consumption as the city faced a second wave of coronavirus infections from overseas visitors.

Related: Luxury brands hope for 'revenge spending' in the China market

Hong Kong's Jimmy Lai goes to court

Arrested for their participation in a banned rally, Hong Kong media mogul Jimmy Lai and veteran democracy activists Lee Cheuk-yan and Yeung Sum will appear in court on Tuesday.

Lai is the founder of Apple Daily, one of the city's bestselling newspapers, known for its pro-democracy stance. The three are charged on suspicion of illegal assembly, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of HK$5,000 ($644).

Opinion: Hong Kong activist arrests will re-inflame pro-democracy protests


China releases April trade data

China will announce monthly trade data for April on Thursday. If last week's private PMI survey by Caixin is any indication, exports may be heading for another contraction, following the 6.6% fall in March. Caixin's PMI of 49.4 in April, which fell from 50.1 in March, saw the largest monthly drop in new export orders since December 2008.

Results from HKEX and Budweiser APAC

Thanks to listings by Alibaba Group Holding and Anheuser-Busch InBev's Asia Pacific unit, Hong Kong retained its crown as the top market for initial public offerings last year despite political turmoil. But HKEX chief executive Charles Li's warning of an IPO slowdown due to the coronavirus may be reflected in the exchange's first-quarter results.

Budweiser Brewing Company APAC, whose Hong Kong listing was the fourth largest in 2019, also reports quarterly earnings on Thursday.

Nintendo reports annual earnings

Japanese gaming giant Nintendo will report full-year results on Thursday. Its earnings will include figures for the first 12 days of video game sales of Animal Crossing: New Horizons, which has become a global hit offering an escape for quarantined players. The Switch console has also seen a rise in demand since the coronavirus outbreak and is expected to have boosted revenue. The company revised upward its outlook for Switch in late January from 18 million to 19.5 million units.


Results from Nomura Holdings and Daiwa Securities

Two Japanese brokerage houses, Nomura Holdings and Daiwa Securities, will report January to March results at the end of the week. A rollercoaster ride in global stock prices is likely to have increased short-term trading, but long-term investors and companies looking for mergers and acquisitions took to the sidelines during the quarter, weighing on overall revenues at the investment banks.

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