Virus outbreak hits sales to 61% of Japanese firms in India, Southeast Asia: NNA poll

31, Mar. 2020

Photo by Fusion Medical Animation on Unsplash
Photo by Fusion Medical Animation on Unsplash

TOKYO, NNA – Over 60 percent of Japanese firms doing business in India and Southeast Asia have seen sales fall this year because of the global Covid-19 pandemic, forcing many to curb business activities, an NNA survey found.

Among 730 firms surveyed, 60.5 percent reported declines in sales from the start of the year through mid-March compared to the same period of 2019.

Japanese firms in Malaysia were the worst hit, with 89.7 percent saying the coronavirus outbreak had weighed on sales, according to the survey conducted from Thursday through Sunday.

The Malaysian government had imposed travel restrictions from March 18 through month’s end and extended those curbs another two weeks. Those restrictions have disrupted supply chains used by Japanese firms in the country, such as electronic parts makers.

Malaysia is fighting a surge in infected people, a total of 2,626 as of noon Monday, the highest among Southeast Asian nations.

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Japanese companies in India, the Philippines and Thailand are also hobbled by the government orders for factories to halt production and people to stay home. From 74 to 85 percent of firms surveyed in those countries noted hits to earnings.

Among 516 companies reporting declines, 53.5 percent said sales had fallen “somewhat” and 32.2 percent experienced “large” declines in sales, according to the poll.

Of those respondents, 441 had suspended business trips and 456 firms started making employees work at home. Both measures slowed business activities.

The World Bank said in a report Tuesday that in the worst case, major developing Southeast Asian countries would post negative economic growth this year. That would mean a 3.5 percent GDP drop in Indonesia, a 4.6 percent cut for Malaysia, 0.5 percent less in the Philippines and a 5.0 percent decline for Thailand.