Historians may look back on 2020 not only as the year of the Covid-19 pandemic, but also as the year in which Asian economic leadership came to the fore. While all nations have wrestled with the fallout from the virus and introduced economic and health measures to address it, Asian economies as varied as China, Singapore, Japan and South Korea have demonstrated the benefits of early and continuous containment.

This approach has so far allowed many countries in the region to recover more quickly and without some of the larger scale policy interventions required in the West. As we enter 2021, this is likely to support corporate earnings growth with a greater level of sustainability. Moreover, the emphasis on sustainability of all kinds — from reshaping supply chains to greening the economy — looks set to continue across the region and potentially accelerate as Asia catches up with — and sometimes even overtakes — other regions.

Increasing divergence in policies

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