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World leaders honor Queen Elizabeth, BOJ meeting and reopening of Bhutan

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Welcome to your week in Asia.

Many Asian leaders will attend Queen Elizabeth’s funeral in London on Monday to pay their respects to Britain’s longest-serving monarch.

The general debate of the United Nations General Assembly begins on Tuesday. Monetary policy decisions from the US Federal Reserve and the Bank of Japan are expected later this week.

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MONDAY

Queen Elizabeth’s funeral

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II will be laid to rest in a state funeral at Westminster Abbey in London. The event will also be a major diplomatic event. US President Joe Biden will attend as well as Japanese Emperor Naruhito, South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol, Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Indian President Draupadi Murmu. Taiwan did not receive an invite, despite the island’s warm ties to the UK

Go further: Queen Elizabeth’s soft power in Asia has overtaken the Commonwealth

TUESDAY

General Debate of the United Nations General Assembly

The United Nations General Assembly begins its general debate, giving each country the opportunity for its representative to address the world directly. Representatives of the 193 Member States will have the opportunity to speak over several days.

WEDNESDAY

AfDB Outlook Report Update

The Asian Development Bank publishes updated growth forecasts for emerging Asian economies. The numbers will be watched closely amid turmoil that includes the coronavirus pandemic, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, rising inflation and monetary tightening in advanced economies.

Hong Kong’s Cardinal Zen stands trial

Hong Kong’s Cardinal Joseph Zen and five other pro-democracy figures will face a five-day trial. The charges relate to the now-disbanded 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund, which helped arrested protesters linked to the 2019 protests in the city with legal and medical bills. Zen, the fund’s other directors and its secretary were first arrested on national security charges, but are now charged with failing to officially register the organization. The defendants denied any wrongdoing.

Tencent Music launches in Hong Kong

Tencent Music Entertainment, which is controlled by China’s most valuable technology company, Tencent Holdings, is debuting on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. It joins a slew of US-listed Chinese companies seeking secondary listings closer to home in case they are kicked out of US exchanges by 2024 due to questions about their audits.

Tencent is listed in Hong Kong using a method called “by IPO,” a faster and cheaper shortcut increasingly used by Chinese companies listed in the United States this year. With such a listing, a company does not raise any capital or issue new shares. Chinese electric vehicle maker Nio, real estate agency KE Holding and fintech company OneConnect Financial Technology were all listed as introductions earlier this year.

Meanwhile, an inspection team from the US Public Company Accounting Supervisory Board arrived in Hong Kong and started inspecting the audit records of US-listed Chinese companies in the city. If the United States is not satisfied with the results of the eight- to ten-week process, it can take further action against the companies involved.

THURSDAY

Japan monetary policy decision

The Bank of Japan is expected to keep monetary policy unchanged, although it is expected to wrap up its COVID emergency liquidity program. The decision will come on the day the US Federal Reserve is expected to raise rates by 75 basis points for a third straight meeting. This would further increase the interest rate differential between Japan and the United States and add downward pressure on the yen.

Turkey is also expected to announce its latest monetary policy decision.

FRIDAY

Bhutan reopens to foreign visitors

Bhutan is reopening to international visitors after closing its borders for two and a half years due to COVID-19. Tourists, however, will be charged a much higher sustainability fee of $200, up from $65 before the pandemic. The Himalayan kingdom said the money will go to activities that promote carbon-neutral tourism and help build a more sustainable sector. In 2019, around 315,600 tourists visited Bhutan.