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Vaccine Rollout and Impact on Sovereign Ratings, Economies: Fitch Ratings Updated: 2021-06-10 17:16:20 KST

The recent acceleration of vaccinations in parts of Asia could reduce the risk of setbacks to economic recoveries and public finances associated with further waves of the Covid-19 provided that it's sustained.
That's according to the latest report by Fitch Ratings.
Covid-19 vaccinations and its impact on economic recovery - it's the topic of our News In-depth tonight.
Joining us live from Hong Kong is Stephen Schwartz, Head of Asia Pacific Sovereigns at Fitch Ratings.
Stephen, it's great to have you on the show.

Vaccinations have picked up speed here in South Korea and so is the case in many other Asian countries. Nonetheless, vaccination levels still vary widely in the region. Could you first give us a comparison of vaccination levels by countries in the Asia-Pacific region, and where does South Korea stand?

How is the faster pace of vaccinations observed in some countries impacting their economies?

Currently South Korea's fitch ratings stand at AA-/Stable, while China's stand at A+/Stable and Japan's at A/Negative. What are the key considerations in ratings assessment of Asian sovereigns during the pandemic?

Public debt dynamics are a key part of sovereign grading. How do you assess South Korea's level of national debt which is now nearing a debt-to-GDP ratio of 50%? How does it compare with other major Asian economies?

No one is safe until everyone is safe, and many experts point out that low vaccination and high infection rates in some parts of the world will ultimately lead to huge economic losses even for countries with high vaccination rates. What are your thoughts on this, and how can countries with low vaccination rate cushion the economic impact?

How soon do you expect Asian economies to return to pre-pandemic economic levels given the current pace of vaccinations?

Stephen SCHWARTZ at Fitch Ratings joining us live from Hong Kong. Thank you.
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