China’s road operators left battered by no-toll policy

TOKYO — As of midnight Wednesday, China’s road, bridge and tunnel operators are once again free to collect fees from drivers, ending a two-and-a-half-month freeze on tolls introduced to help the country combat the coronavirus outbreak. But while authorities have declared the policy a success, it has left toll operators — many of them state-owned and publicly listed companies — with serious financial damage.

Wu Dejin, director of the highway department of the Chinese Transport Ministry, described the policy as “achieving good social results,” when touching upon the termination of the policy during an online press conference last Thursday.


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Asia’s duty-free shops battered as coronavirus freezes air travel

TOKYO — Duty-free shops are taking a beating as travel restrictions to contain the coronavirus leave airplanes grounded and airports closed, a sharp turnaround for what was a growing and lucrative industry before the pandemic.

China International Travel Service, or CITS, saw a dramatic reversal of its fortunes. The largest duty-free shop owner in China announced on Thursday that its revenue for the first quarter dropped 44% year-on-year to 7.63 billion yuan ($1.08 billion), swinging to a 120.14 million yuan net loss from a profit of 2.30 billion yuan a year before.

The Shanghai-listed company’s disclosure in its filing to

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Singapore oil trader Hin Leong battered by crude crash

SINGAPORE — One of Singapore’s foremost oil traders, Hin Leong Trading, is now struggling to stay afloat amid a plunge in crude oil prices and greater scrutiny by banks that has left it facing a cash crunch.

The company had by Wednesday submitted a court filing requesting a moratorium on payments on nearly $4 billion in debt, Reuters reported. While Hin Leong has not disclosed the reason for its financial woes, the collapse in oil demand amid the coronavirus pandemic may have squeezed its earnings to the point where repayment became impossible.

The market turmoil is laying bare troubles that

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