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Andy Mukherjee

Singapore’s Virus Budget Will Challenge Hong Kong

The rival Asian financial centers will be judged on how they’re seen to care for their people in this crisis.

The tourists won’t be smiling behind their masks.

The tourists won’t be smiling behind their masks.

Photographer: Ore Huiying/Getty

With more than two-score coronavirus infections and the threat raised to the second-highest level of severity, Singapore may not want to leave anything to chance when the budget is unveiled next week. The city-state is building an early reputation for handling the crisis professionally. Hong Kong, which is getting brickbats for ineptitude, will take note of its arch-rival’s fiscal defense. 

Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat will aim for a S$7.9 billion ($5.7 billion) deficit in the year starting April 1, the biggest in a decade, according to DBS Group Holdings Ltd., Singapore’s biggest bank.