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Asia's Emerging Economies To Exceed China, ADB

By Samira Ha. on September 24, 2022

Developing economies in Asia will see recovery; which is the first time within over 3 decades that developing Asia will transcend China, said Manila-based lender in a recent report on Wednesday. China’s economic growth fell to 3.9% and the rest of the countries in the region saw a GDP growth by 6.9%, according to the report. 

However, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) stated a low growth prediction for them again as China has developed its zero-Covid approach. 

Emerging Asia is expected to expand by 5.3% this year while China will expectedly grow by 3.3%, the ADB stated. ADB’s growth forecast was 4% for China in the month of July, which relates to the country’s zero-Covid approach, property sector issues, and slow economic activities due to decreased demand from abroad.

The forecast for the country’s growth in 2023 is to 4.5% compared to April’s 4.8% outlook due to increasingly weak external demand, which in turn lowers investment in manufacturing sector. While Asia is facing constant recovery thanks to invigorated tourism industry, headwinds in the world are hindering global development, said the ADB.

Emerging Asian economies, the ADB predicts, will increase by 4.3% in 2022 and 4.9% next year. Also, recent updates of Asian Development Outlook expects that the inflation pace will see an even higher rate to 4.5% this year and 4% in the year 2023, compared to July’s revised prediction of 4.2% and 3.5% respectively, due to heavy food and energy expenses.

While inflation has currently jumped to a level before the pandemic, central banks in the region are increasing their policy rates, the ADB said. This plays a role in stricter financial situations as the Federal Reserve is facing a gloomy growth prospect and tight monetary policy, it also added.

China will constantly be an exception as it exerts strict lockdowns occasionally to curb intermittent outbreaks, according to the ADB. This is not the case in many parts of Asia, where Covid-19 restrictions ease, immunization policy grows, the pandemic death toll decreases, and there’s increased mobility, the report also expressed.

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Transit Fees Climb in Suez Canal

By Samira Ha. on September 22, 2022

A statement by the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) announced that transit fees for all kinds of vessels will increase in 2023. A jump by 15% will come into force as of January 1st, 2023. The Canal’s Authority Chairman and Managing Director, Osama Rabiee, in his statement declared that the rise happens in line with inflation rates throughout the world. He further said that the jump in Suez Canal fee rates is affected by several reasons, one is the average shipping rates on all vessels. Last year, for instance, the transportation fees of ships increased due to Covid-19.

The SCA gained almost $7 billion, all-time record, in the last fiscal year and it is expected that its annual income will rise by $700 million in 2023, said Rabiee.

The increase will not considerably affect flow of imports and exports but it will intensify current global inflation, said an analyst.

Although the fares will increase, the Suez Canal will, to a great extent, remain a cheaper course for all vessels, according to another analyst.

With present drop in oil prices, if the canal charges too high prices, SCA will be a loser, said Tim Huxley, chairman of Hong Kong's Mandarin Shipping.

Oil prices in the world have seen fluctuations this year: the prices climbed to $130 per barrel subsequent to the Russian invasion and reached to about $80-$90 per barrel over the last weeks. The jump in fares will affect customers, escalating inflation in turn, Huxley also said.

Since the beginning of 2022, the SCA has already increased its fees twice due to the growth in global trade: one in February and another in March.  

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Iran Joins Shanghai Cooperation Organization

By Samira Ha. on September 19, 2022

Iran has signed a memorandum of obligations to be a permenant part of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) which was held in Uzbekistan in September 15-16, 2022.

At the 22nd summit of Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which was held in Samarkand, the full membership of Iran in the Shanghai Organization was officially announced by Shavkat Mirziyoyev, the president of Uzbekistan.

The SCO, which is growing fast, confirmed Iran’s request to join only last year. 

Prior to the departure of Iran’s president Ebrahim Raisi to Uzbakistan, the bill for Iran's membership in this regional economic institution was submitted to Iran’s Islamic Council to carry out its legal procedures.

According to the Iranian foreign minister, Hossein Amirabdollahian, Iran has taken a significant step towards developing its economic, trade, energy and transport cooperation with SCO member countries.

Iran's president met and negotiated on develiping regional relations with the heads of countries of Russia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan as well as with Zhang Ming, the Secretary General of SCO. 

In this regard, President Putin said relations between Russia and Iran, the two countries sanctioned by the U.S., are growing in a positive way and entirely supported Iran’s attachment to SCO. According to Al Jazeera’s Resul Serdar, expectedly Iran’s full membership will come into effect from April 2023.

In September’s SCO summit, heads of states from China, Russia, India, Iran, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Mongolia, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan met and discussed ways to expand economic and regional relations.

The SCO summit is held every year, focusing on multilateral cooperation and major areas of development as well as strengthening economic cooperation between the member countries.

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Capstan Therapeutics Launches to Develop in Cell Therapies

By Samira Ha. on September 16, 2022

Capstan Therapeutics, a biotechnology startup, began its work on Wednesday with a fund of $165 million. Industry's well-renowned professionals Carl June, Bruce Levine and Drew Weissman direct Capstan Therapeutics Inc. to work on cell therapies to control cancer. 

To incorporate cell therapy into genetic medicine and introduce safer and first-in-class medicines to patients, the new foundation focuses on research carried out in mRNA laboratories by scientists of the Pennsylvania University. By delivering precise in in vivo engineering technology to patients with a wide range of diseases including oncology, fibrosis, monogenic blood disorders, inflammation-related diseases, and developing new ways to treat the patients struggling with cancer, the company is attaining breakthoughs in cell engineering. 

Major venture capital firms and drugmakers have contributed to develop Capstan Therapeutics company. 

The fund for Capstan Therapeutics team involves $102 million from series A finance by Pfizer Ventures, Leaps by Bayer, Eli Lilly and Company, and Bristol Myers Squibb, Polaris Partners, and Alexandria Venture Investments. Another $63 million seed money was funded by Novartis Venture Fund and OrbiMed as well as RA Capital, and Vida Ventures in the month of November 2021.

With the aim of allotting the fund into expanding cell-based therapies, Capstan Therapeutics has planned to make an evolution in clinical standards for looking after patients. The premier goal is to develop first-in-class medicines on vivo CAR therapies and provide outpatients with treatments. 

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