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Asia Pacific Financial News from John Lothian News – August 30, 2017

Lead Stories

China invites five countries as guests for BRICS summit including Thailand, Egypt, Kenya; China has invited Egypt, Kenya, Tajikistan, Mexico and Thailand as guest countries for the upcoming BRICS summit but clarified that the invitation is not an attempt to expand the group under its ‘BRICS Plus’ approach.
Financial Express
China has invited Egypt, Kenya, Tajikistan, Mexico and Thailand as guest countries for the upcoming BRICS summit but clarified that the invitation is not an attempt to expand the group under its ‘BRICS Plus’ approach. China will host the BRICS summit in Xiamen city from September 3 to 5 in which leaders of the five countries will participate, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Heavy flooding kills more than 1,000 in South Asia; Thousands displaced after monsoon rains deluge much of the subcontinent
Simon Mundy in Mumbai – FT
More than 1,000 people are believed to have been killed in severe flooding that has swept the South Asian subcontinent, from the business hub of Mumbai to the Himalayan nation of Nepal.

Heavy rains kill 5 in India’s financial hub
At least five people were killed as heavy monsoon rain deluged India’s financial capital Mumbai, causing transport chaos and forcing schools and many offices to close yesterday.

Floods hit Mumbai as worst monsoon in years kills more than 1,200 across South Asia
At least five people were killed as heavy monsoon rain deluged India’s financial capital Mumbai, causing transport chaos and forcing schools and many offices to close on Wednesday.

Hurricane Harvey shuts down LPG exports to Asia by the US
Asian buyers of liquefied petroleum gas are already paying for disruptions half a world away in Texas as record rainfall halted shipments of propane and butane from ports that handle more than 90 per cent of US exports to the region.

Billionaires-Backed India Bourse Eyes Block Deals to Revive
Santanu Chakraborty, Bhuma Shrivastava – Bloomberg
The Metropolitan Stock Exchange of India plans to woo brokerages to execute large stock trades on its venue, as a new management team tries to breathe life into a bourse that has floundered for a decade.

China, India rivalry looms over BRICS summit
Financial Post
China and India may have ended a tense border standoff for now, but their longstanding rivalry raises questions about the possibility of meaningful co-operation at an upcoming summit of major emerging economies.

Sinopec Probed by the U.S. Over Nigeria Payments
By Hugo Miller and Tom Schoenberg – Bloomberg
SEC, DOJ efforts focused on alleged bribes paid in California; Payments said linked to unit’s $4 billion dispute with Nigeria
U.S. authorities are investigating China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. over allegations that the state-controlled oil producer paid Nigerian officials about $100 million worth of bribes to resolve a business dispute, according to people familiar with the probe.

Exchange News

ICE Futures Singapore announces SinoPac as new Exchange Member
Intercontinental Exchange (NYSE:ICE), a leading operator of global network of exchanges and clearing houses and provider of global data and listing services, today announced that SinoPac has been approved as a member of ICE Futures Singapore, effective immediately.

FinTech News

A tale of two industries
By Matthew Lempriere – DigitalNewsAsia
The financial services industry has so far realised greater benefits from its digitisation efforts; Healthcare has a long way to go before the sector can fully realise the benefits of digital technology
MORE of us are going digital to take control of our health and finances – from tracking daily physical activities and food intake to online banking and mortgage calculators. This consumer demand, combined with the operational and competitive changes businesses are going through because of new technologies, is creating huge opportunities – and challenges – for established financial services and healthcare companies.

DFSA signs fintech development deal with Hong Kong; Agreement signed for greater FinTech cooperation between DFSA and Hong Kong SFC
Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) and the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) in Hong Kong signed a cooperation agreement this week to further develop financial technology (fintech) in their respective markets.

Regulatory News

1,228 arrested in midnight raids as Chinese armed police seek to smash US$54 million pyramid scheme; Local government officials from southern city of Beihai join thousands of police officers in raids on 300 properties
Mimi Lau – South China Morning Post
More than 1,200 people have been arrested on suspicion of having links to a 360 million yuan (US$54.5 million) pyramid scheme in southern China, state media reported.

Investing News

China’s Equity-Market Underdogs Could End the Year in Front
Bloomberg News
The also-rans of China’s stock rally this year, mainland equities have been overshadowed by the spectacular surge in their offshore-listed counterparts — until now.

China-backed fund to decide whether to take deal to Trump: sources
Greg Roumeliotis and Liana B. Baker
A China-backed private equity fund will decide this week whether to seek U.S. President Donald Trump’s approval for its proposed $1.3 billion acquisition of U.S. chipmaker Lattice Semiconductor Corp (LSCC.O), people familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

Societe Generale Hires Florian Dumas to Head Institutions Sales in Asia-Pacific; Dumas has spent the majority of his career in Asia.
Aziz Abdel-Qader – Finance Magnates
Societe Generale Corporate & Investment Banking recruited a new head for its FICC in Asia-Pacific – the division which incorporates financial institutions sales for fixed income and currencies (FIC) and global markets.


Japan’s Rainy Summer Messes With the BOJ’s Inflation Campaign; Households hit by high vegetable prices may cut back spending
By Yoshiaki Nohara – Bloomberg
As one of Japan’s wettest summers in years comes to a close, it may mean higher prices for some fruit and vegetables — which are excluded from the benchmark inflation index that the central bank is trying to nudge higher.

Mainland China

China’s Financial Sector Risks
Bloomberg Video
Grace Wu, senior director and head of China bank ratings at Fitch Ratings, discusses what to expect from China’s big 4 bank earnings. She speaks on “Bloomberg Markets: Asia.”

China’s securities stocks thronged by ‘locusts’; State-backed entities lift stakes in brokers, and eager investors follow
Shares in Chinese securities companies are surging on the Shanghai market as so-called locust investors, who swarm around buy opportunities, react to news that state-affiliated entities have raised their stakes in the brokers.

Beijing may loosen capital controls as yuan hits 14-month high
Karen Young – South China Morning Post
Both onshore and offshore yuan rose to the highest level in 14 months, which analysts said may herald a loosening of capital controls in the coming months.

Chinese Property Tycoon Is Now Asia’s Second-Richest Person
By Jack Witzig – Bloomberg
Hui’s fortune surges 361 percent on Chinese property boom; China’s wealthiest top gains with 47.3 percent increase
A $9 billion surge in the past seven days has made Chinese property tycoon Hui Ka Yan Asia’s second-richest person.

Bank of China Quarterly Profit Surges 23% as Bad Loans Curbed
Bloomberg News
Bank of China Ltd., the nation’s fourth-largest lender, posted a 23 percent surge in second-quarter profit after curbing bad loans and expanding its lending margin.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong Businessman And Socialite David Tang Dies At 63
David Tang, the flamboyant and outspoken socialite and entrepreneur who founded the Shanghai Tang fashion brand, has died. He was 63.

Hong Kong residents told to limit time outdoors as serious air pollution hits city; Environmental Protection Department says hot weather and light winds means pollution poses a serious health risk
Julia Hollingsworth – South China Morning Post
Hong Kong authorities urged the public to limit their time outdoors on Wednesday as severe pollution hit the city’s northern areas.


Retired stockbroker sues Credit Suisse over US$26m investment losses in 2008
Selina Lum – Staits Times
A retired stockbroker from Malaysia who lost US$26 million (S$35.1 million) in investments with Credit Suisse during the 2008 financial crisis is suing the Singapore branch of the Swiss bank for breaching its duties to manage his private wealth account with care.


Stung by reputation, Taiwan looks to turn corner on money laundering
Faith Hung
After Taiwan’s state-run Mega Financial Holding Co was fined $180 million by U.S. authorities for lax enforcement of anti-money-laundering rules at its New York branch, the bank started a rigorous training program for its staff.


Green finance facility eyed for Asia-Pacific
THE Asian Development Bank (ADB) has proposed the creation of national green financing vehicles to catalyze environmentally and financially sustainable infrastructure investments in Asia and the Pacific.


SC bans seven foreigners and corporations from trading on Bursa
Seven foreign individuals and corporations have been permanently barred from trading in any counter on Bursa Malaysia due to their role in the manipulation of Iris Corp Bhd shares in 2006.


RBI Sends Second List Of Cases To Banks For Insolvency Action
Vishwanath Nair -Bloomberg
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has sent a second list of defaulting companies to lenders, recommending that these firms be referred for resolution via the Insolvency & Bankruptcy Code, two bankers with knowledge of the matter said on the condition of anonymity. However, the RBI has given banks until December to try and come up with a resolution plan, failing which the firms must be taken to bankruptcy court, said these bankers.

The Battle for India’s $45 Billion Gold Industry Has Begun
By Swansy Afonso and Ameya Karve – Bloomberg
India’s past and future are colliding in Anand Ghugre’s family jewelry shop in Mumbai.

India Dodgy Contracts Record Risks Turning Away Investors
By Anindya Upadhyay and Upmanyu Trivedi – Bloomberg
States scrap wind, thermal power pacts on electricity prices; Move sets a bad precedent for country, investors say
Falling renewable energy tariffs in India have prompted some state governments to tell generators that they can’t buy the energy at prices agreed upon, exposing the businesses to risks due to poor enforcement of contracts in Asia’s third-largest economy.


Australia’s Economy Is ‘Shaking Off Restraints,’ Treasurer Says
By Michael Heath – Bloomberg
Nation ‘shaking off restraints’ post GFC, Treasurer says; China’s middle class to fuel growth in service exports
Treasurer Scott Morrison expects Australia’s economic growth will accelerate as the drag from falling mining investment comes to an end.

Flat prospects tipped for financial services
By Sarah Kendell – Financial Observer
Australia’s financial services sector looked set for flat growth prospects for the next few years, with the success stories likely to be those institutions that invested cash for the long term rather than distributing it to shareholders, according to asset manager Perennial Value.

Editorial: Bank-bashing can’t be free-for-all
By Darin Tyson-Chan – Financial Observer
It seems the news just goes from bad to worse for Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA). In recent times, Australia’s biggest bank has had problems with its financial planning and insurance arms and the latest scandal has revealed a dereliction in its duty to comply with the anti-money laundering and anti-terrorism requirements for financial institutions in this country.

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Lothian is executive chairman and CEO of John J. Lothian & Co. and editor of the John Lothian Newsletter. He publishes,,, and three industry newsletters.