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UBS reinstates economist after China pig row

UBS reinstates economist after China pig row
The logos of Swiss bank Credit Suisse and UBS are seen at their buildings at the Paradeplatz square in Zurich, Switzerland October 1, 2019. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann -
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ZURICH (Reuters) – UBS Group <UBSG.S> has reinstated a senior economist whose comment about Chinese pigs triggered a row with clients who perceived the remark as a racist slur.

Paul Donovan, global chief economist of the Swiss bank’s flagship wealth management business since 2016, made the reference to Chinese pigs in an inflation analysis, noting that consumer prices had risen mainly due to sickness among pigs.

“Does this matter? It matters if you are a Chinese pig. It matters if you like eating pork in China,” Donovan had said in the analysis, with some clients in China interpreting the comments as referring to people, not livestock.

UBS apologised in June for any misunderstanding and placed Donovan on leave.

A UBS spokesperson confirmed that Donovan was scheduled to return to work on Wednesday. The Financial Times first reported the news of his return.

(Reporting by Angelika Gruber, Writing by Michael Shields, Editing by Susan Fenton)

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