By George Chen
The opinions expressed are the author’s own.
Have you had breakfast or lunch yet? In Hong Kong, I’m guessing few people are choosing sushi these days.
Many restaurants in Hong Kong, even Japanese restaurants, have been quick to distance themselves from the crisis in Japan since the earthquake as concerns about food safety are growing in many Asia-Pacific cities, including Beijing, Seoul and Sydney.
The Japanese authorities announced this week that they would widen a ban on exports of a wide range of food products from areas surrounding the earthquake-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station. In fact, even before the official ban, the health authorities in China, Hong Kong and South Korea were already monitoring all such imports from Japan.
I’ve seen a number of sell-side analysts recommend Chinese food and beverage stocks, including some fisheries, which are now expected to benefit from the Japan crisis as people turn to locally produced seafood. Australian and New Zealand seafood companies should also benefit. It sounds like a perfect time for banks such as ANZ to expand, helping Australian and New Zealand farmers and fisheries extend their reach beyond their domestic markets, turning a crisis into an opportunity.
Some Chinese brokerages called such stocks “post-earthquake concept stocks”. Have you read the story about how Chinese truck maker Sany sent to Japan their innovative truck that can shoot wet concrete several meters into the air? Sany is likely to be a typical post-earthquake star pick, as are construction companies in Japan.