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JPMorgan says these global travel stocks are its top picks as China eases Covid restrictions

Asia’s flight activity is gaining momentum as the region continues to ease Covid-19 travel restrictions, and the outlook for the region is now looking even brighter, according to JPMorgan. That’s after China announced last week that it would decrease quarantine time for international travelers. In a Nov. 11 note, JPMorgan said it’s bullish on the region’s airline industry, which it predicts could recover to around two-thirds of pre-pandemic levels by the end of the year, with momentum going into 2023. “Asian countries including Japan, Thailand and other ASEAN countries are in a race to revive inbound tourism,” the bank said. It added that the uncertain economic outlook hasn’t yet eaten into leisure travel spending — with the International Air Transport Association continuing to see strong forward international air travel bookings. “Considering the high forward booking visibility and further upside arising from the final leg of re-opening in parts of the region, we stay positive on the Asia airlines & airports sectors,” JPMorgan said. Airport stocks Although China’s domestic travel continued to be jeopardized by Covid outbreaks and lockdowns, its international flight activity has doubled since June and are poised to increase by 106% year-on-year during winter to spring, the bank said. The bank’s key picks to play the sector are Beijing Capital International Airport and Shanghai Airport. Airports of Thailand is another stock that JPMorgan named. Tourism is the backbone of Thailand’s economy and it’s on track to beat its 2022 target of 10 million foreign tourist arrivals, said the bank. Tourism arrivals hit 7.56 million at the end of October, and the country is expected to receive another 3 million visitors for the rest of 2022. Airline picks Singapore Airlines made JPMorgan’s list. The country’s national carrier reported record revenue in the second quarter, and bookings are expected to stay strong till the Lunar New Year holiday at the end of January, according to Reuters. The airline’s shares have jumped nearly 10% year-to-date. Other airline stocks that are among JPMorgan’s picks include Air China and Qantas Airways . The Japanese government has an annual goal of 60 million foreign visitors a year by 2030, while also announcing its target for inbound tourism to rebound to pre-pandemic levels by 2025, JPMorgan noted. “Japan is looking to revitalize the tourism sector with upcoming international events to be held in Japan including the 2025 Osaka Expo and the World Athletics Championships in Tokyo poised to boost visitor volume,” JPMorgan said. Other stocks that could take flight Apart from airport and airline stocks, China’s reopening would also benefit hotels, restaurants and leisure sectors , according to a Goldman Sachs note from Nov. 6. These stocks include casino operators Galaxy Entertainment and Sands China , food chain Yum China , as well as . — CNBC’s Zavier Ong contributed to this report.

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