US cuts funding to research group with ties to ‘bat woman’ lab

TOKYO — The news was sudden, and stunning. The premier U.S. agency for biomedical research cut funding last month to a New York-based lab that works with researchers worldwide on infectious diseases, and the motivation appeared to be political rather than scientific.

The National Institutes of Health severed the funding for the EcoHealth Alliance roughly one week after President Donald Trump was asked about the nonprofit’s link to a lab in the Chinese city of Wuhan where the novel coronavirus is claimed to have originated. There had been American media reports about the lab and the U.S. funding it receives.

Read More

Singapore cuts GDP forecast to 4-7% contraction for 2020

SINGAPORE — Singapore on Tuesday downgraded its growth projection for this year to a range of -7% to -4%, from the previous forecast of -4% to -1%, suggesting prolonged economic damage from the coronavirus pandemic despite the phased business resumption starting next week.

The city-state the same day reported a 0.7% decline in its first-quarter gross domestic product.

“Outward-oriented sectors such as manufacturing, wholesale trade, and transportation and storage will be adversely affected by the sharper-than-expected slowdown in many of Singapore’s key markets, as well as more prolonged supply chain disruptions,” Gabriel Lim, permanent secretary at Singapore’s Ministry of Trade

Read More

India cuts key rates in surprise move to ease coronavirus shock

NEW DELHI — The Reserve Bank of India on Friday cut its benchmark interest rate 40 basis points to 4%, in a surprise move, as the novel coronavirus pandemic jolts the country’s economy.

The central bank moved up its monetary policy committee meeting, which was scheduled for early June, to make the rate cut. The committee agreed on the size of the cut by a vote of 5 to 1. It also trimmed the reverse repo rate 40 basis points to 3.35%.

“The MPC voted unanimously for a reduction in the policy repo rate, and for maintaining the accommodative stance

Read More

Thai central bank cuts policy rate for third time this year

BANGKOK — Thailand’s central bank decided on Wednesday to ease monetary policy for the third time this year as it tries to halt the country’s economic slide.

The Bank of Thailand cut its one-day repurchase rate 0.25 percentage point to a historical low of 0.5% at a monetary policy committee meeting the same day.

The move was in line with market expectations. Sixteen of 18 economists predicted the rate cut; two expected the bank to stand pat, according to a Reuters poll.

The easing comes as Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy deals with the impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic. The

Read More