UBS apologises after economist’s ‘Chinese pigs’ comments spark public outrage
Swiss banking giant UBS has apologised after its top economist’s comments referring to “Chinese pigs” caused public outrage.
The bank’s global chief economist Paul Donovan made the comments in reference to a rise in Chinese consumer prices, which has been driven by surging pork prices after an outbreak of swine fever.
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In a morning audio note he said: “Does this matter? It matters if you are a Chinese pig. It matters if you like eating pork in China – it “does not really matter to the rest of the world.”
Donovan’s comments caused outrage on Chinese social media with demands the bank issue an official apology.
State-run news platform Global Times reported that the economist used “distasteful and racist language” to analyse China’s inflation.
“We apologise unreservedly for any misunderstanding caused by these innocently intended comments by Paul Donovan,” a UBS spokesman said.
“We have removed the audio comment from circulation. To be clear, this comment was about inflation and Chinese consumer prices rising, which was driven by higher prices for pork.”
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Donovan also publicly apologised on Bloomberg TV and said he had used “unwittingly used hugely culturally-insensitive language.”
But the Chinese Securities Association of Hong Kong rejected the apology and demanded the economist be sacked by UBS.