Welcome to Your Week in Asia.
The February earnings season kicks off with a mix of quarterly and full-year results due this week. First on Monday will be Nintendo and Japan Airlines, followed on Tuesday by Tesla battery supplier Panasonic. Alibaba, whose stock has recovered since founder Jack Ma resurfaced two weeks ago, also reports on Tuesday.
Lenovo and Nintendo rival Sony post earnings on Wednesday, then SoftBank Corp. and Singapore Airlines on Thursday. Finally, Friday will bring results from NTT and Chinese chip giant SMIC.
The Reserve Bank of Australia meets Tuesday, and the Bank of Thailand on Wednesday.
JP Morgan bribery verdict
A Hong Kong court will deliver a verdict in the bribery trial of Catherine Leung, a former Asia investment banking executive at JPMorgan.
Back story: Leung, who pleaded not guilty, is charged with bribing Ang Keng-lam, then chairman of Kerry Logistics Network, by employing his son at the U.S. investment bank’s Hong Kong office in 2010. The prosecution has alleged Leung hoped to influence Ang to give JPMorgan a role in Kerry Logistics’ IPO.
Related: In 2016, JP Morgan settled for $264 million with U.S. authorities on allegations that it hired relatives of Chinese officials to win banking deals, in a program called “Sons and Daughters.”
China launches national carbon trading
A new set of provisional rules for carbon emissions trading management takes effect. The rules, part of China’s efforts to curb climate change, target companies that emit over 26,000 tons of greenhouse gases annually. They will ultimately pave the way for a national emissions trading system.
Scale up: That would make China the world’s largest market, overtaking the European Union. Under a pilot scheme launched in 2011, the country traded 406 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent worth 9.28 trillion yuan ($1.43 trillion) as of August.
Yang Jiechi talks US-China relations
China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi on Monday will address a virtual meeting of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations. Yang will be the first high-ranking Chinese official to publicly address a U.S. body since President Joe Biden took office.
India unveils annual budget
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will present India’s annual budget for the fiscal year starting April 2021, with analysts expecting an increased focus on health care and other sectors most affected by the pandemic, such as hospitality and aviation. Japanese brokerage Nomura also expects incentives for construction, agriculture and domestic manufacturing.
Japan-UK 2+2 talks
Foreign and defense ministers from Japan and the UK. will meet on Monday via videoconference for annual bilateral talks, postponed by the pandemic. Topping the agenda will be regional security concerns about China, whose incursions near the Japan-administered Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea increased in frequency last year.
A reckoning for Alibaba
Alibaba Group will post quarterly earnings on Tuesday, the first results since Chinese authorities launched a series of antimonopoly actions against the group. Managers are expected to brief investors on the market regulator’s antitrust investigation and its potential impact on business. Alibaba shares in November began a losing streak in which they shed almost a third of their value but have staged a strong rebound after founder Jack Ma resurfaced earlier this month after a three-month public absence.
Olympic organizers meet ruling party
With the fate of Tokyo’s postponed Olympics hanging in the balance, organizers on Tuesday report to the ruling Liberal Democratic Party. Recent reports suggest government officials are privately discussing a cancellation as Japan faces the twin hurdles of a wave of COVID infections and a delayed vaccine rollout. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, the party’s leader, this week is due to decide whether to lift or extend Japan’s second COVID state of emergency, which currently runs through Feb. 7.
Philippine Anti-Terrorism Act in court
The Philippine Supreme Court is set to open oral arguments on Tuesday for the controversial Anti-Terrorism Act, which critics say could be used by the government to muzzle dissent. Solicitor General Jose Calida will represent the government against 13 lawyers for 37 parties, who filed several petitions questioning the law’s constitutionality.
Vietnam party congress ends
The Communist Party of Vietnam’s quinquennial congress ends on Tuesday, a day after members cast votes for party leader. President Nguyen Phu Trong is expected to be reelected for a third term as general secretary, as neither Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc nor National Assembly chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan has amassed enough support to succeed him.
Maria Ressa enters plea
Embattled journalist Maria Ressa, founder of Philippine online news site Rappler, will be arraigned on Thursday on a third “cyber libel” complaint, this time filed by a college teacher over a corruption story Rappler published last January. Ressa, a prominent critic of President Rodrigo Duterte, is also appealing a conviction from last year in a “cyber libel” case retroactively filed by a businessman over a story from 2012.
Kuaishou debuts on HKEX
TikTok competitor Kuaishou Technology makes its stock market debut in Hong Kong after raising $5.4 billion at HK$115 ($14.83), or the top end of the marketed range. The institutional part of the offering was closed early after heavy demand, and the retail portion has also been heavily subscribed.
SMIC posts quarterly results
China’s top chipmaker, Semiconductor Manufacturing International Co., on Friday will hold a quarterly earnings conference for the last quarter of 2020 and provide an outlook for 2021 amid a global chip shortage. SMIC has been blocked from procuring American technology by the U.S. Commerce Department, which cites company links to the Chinese military, which SMIC denies. Before leaving office, former President Donald Trump told American investors to sell SMIC shares, linking the company to the Chinese military.
Japan’s state of emergency ends
Japan’s coronavirus state of emergency, the second since April, reaches its one-month expiry on Sunday, making it necessary for Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga to decide whether to extend it. Since the state of emergency took effect on Jan. 8 in 11 of the nation’s 47 prefectures, including Tokyo, the number of new cases has dropped. But the daily totals remain far higher than where they were when the wave began in November, and some experts are calling for the restrictions to be extended by a few weeks or a month.