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Asia Pacific Financial News from John Lothian News – August 8, 2017

Lead Stories

Asia is building its own world order
Parag Khanna – CNN
Much has been made recently of how the policies of the Trump administration clash with the global conventional wisdom — and how these contrast with the new spirit of global leadership emanating from China.

Time’s come for an Asian-Asean century
By Roberto F de Ocampo – Asia News Network
The first step in Asean’s long journey to today can, perhaps, be said to have been taken about 13 years before its formal founding in August 1967 with the signing of the Bangkok Declaration by the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.

China is about to launch the biggest national Carbon Trading Scheme in the world
Climate Action
China aims to become a global leader in climate action by setting up the biggest Carbon Trading Scheme (CTS) worldwide as an attempt to meet 2030 peak emissions target.

Looking Eastward? An Intro to Asian Financial Markets
Brian Lund – Ticker Tape
Are you one of those investors who views the financial markets as existing only between the opening and closing hours of the New York Stock Exchange?

Why the world has to study Chinese history, and how China views history; Jean-Pierre Lehmann says the country’s centrality in our 21st-century world makes it imperative that outsiders understand what is shaping its views and decisions, and Hong Kong could do more to facilitate such learning
Jean-Pierre Lehmann – South China Morning Post
Far from ushering in a “new world order”, so far the 21st century has been marked by turbulent uncertainties. There are very few things on which a consensus could arise – even on the most critical issues. For example, will there be war, or not, and, if so, between who? There is, however, one thing that seems incontestable: in stark contrast to the 19th and 20th centuries, when China was a peripheral passive actor in global affairs, in the 21st century its role is and will be absolutely primordial. That point requires no further elaboration. What that role, or those roles, will be is an entirely different matter.

FinTech News

Stars align for FinaMetrica, PlanPlus merger
By Penny Pryor – Financial Observer
Financial risk-profiling tool provider FinaMetrica and Canadian-based PlanPlus have announced their merger, effective from 1 August.

Regulatory News

Singapore: The Monetary Authority Of Singapore Clarifies Its Treatment Of Token Offerings
Article by Nick Davies, Daniel R. Kahan, Joshua Ashley Klayman and Alfredo B.D. Silva – Morrison & Foerster LLP
To Regulate Or Not To Regulate? – That Is No Longer The Question
In a press release issued on Tuesday, August 1, 1 the Monetary Authority of Singapore (“MAS”) provided its most direct guidance yet on how it intends to treat “token offerings.” 2 For those looking for concrete rules, unfortunately, the answer is “it depends,” but the message behind the statement could not have been clearer: a warning shot that a token offering may well be subject to regulation if the features of the token are such as to bring it within the scope of existing laws. Consequently, issuers and their intermediaries should not assume that no regulatory constraints apply and are encouraged by MAS to seek legal advice.

Investing News

This Chinese stock was more actively traded than JPMorgan, but hardly anyone’s heard of it; For reasons unknown, the shares of Fangda Carbon New Material are suddenly in demand, making it the world’s 11th most-traded stock in the world on Friday, beating JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Bloomberg via South China Morning Post
Fangda Carbon New Material Co. isn’t typically a name that jumps to mind when one thinks of the world’s most-actively traded stocks.

Mainland China

China’s Market Reforms: Land and Debt; Insights from Spencer Cohen.
By Mercy A. Kuo – The Diplomat
Trans-Pacific View author Mercy Kuo regularly engages subject-matter experts, policy practitioners, and strategic thinkers across the globe for their diverse insights into U.S. Asia policy. This conversation with Dr. Spencer Cohen – Senior Economist at Community Attributes, a Seattle-based research consultancy, and former senior policy adviser for the Washington Economic Development Commission – is the 102nd in “The Trans-Pacific View Insight Series.”

China Takes Away the Punch Bowl; Controlling offshore investments makes sense. That doesn’t mean it’s smart.
By Andrew Polk – Bloomberg
Given how opaque decision-making in China can be, it’s tempting to see all manner of conspiracies behind the government’s recent crackdown on companies that have expanded rapidly abroad. In fact, the reasoning behind the campaign is straightforward. The real problem is that it’s likely to damage China in the long run.

Putin’s Aide Seeks $100 Million to Rival China in Bitcoin Mining
By Ilya Khrennikov – Bloomberg
Excess power in Russia to be put to use in crypto-mining; ICO to fund further development of low-power satellite chip
A company co-owned by one of President Vladimir Putin’s internet advisers plans to raise the cryptocurrency equivalent of as much as $100 million in a push to help Russian entrepreneurs challenge China in bitcoin mining.

China’s Economy Gets Smaller Boost From Trade; China’s exports in July grew 7.2%, slowing from June’s 11.3% jump
China’s unexpectedly robust economy is still getting a boost from trade, with exports and imports growing last month, albeit at a more moderate pace.

China’s big leverage crackdown gets a big shrug from markets
Bloomberg via South China Morning Post
The Chinese leadership has this year made its strongest commitment yet to curb financial risks and rein in spendthrift local officials, yet the campaign has spurred barely a ripple of concern among global investors.

Hong Kong

As ‘financier’ to Greater China, Hong Kong has an unbeatable edge; Victor Zheng and Roger Luk say the rise of China and the emerging economies will make Hong Kong’s role as a ‘connector’ irrelevant, and it’s time for the city to redefine its niche
Victor Zheng, Roger Luk – South China Morning Post
The report “The World in 2050”, published earlier this year by PricewaterhouseCoopers, predicts that China and the emerging economies will overtake the US and developed economies as the global growth engine. Hong Kong will have entered its second 50 years of post-reunification, and this shift will call for an innovative role, given that its traditional role as a “connector” between the East and the West is fading.


Indonesia Q2 GDP growth holds steady at 5%
Alice Woodhouse – FT
Indonesia’s economy grew slightly less that expected during the second quarter, with the rate of expansion unchanged from that seen in the previous three-month period.

Indonesian Gen Y finance professionals loyal to their employers
A new study launched today by the Asian Institute of Finance (AIF) reveals that over three-quarters (76%) of Gen Y professionals in the Indonesian financial services industry (FSI) expect to remain with their current employer for at least 10 years or more. This bucks the global trend where evidence suggests that Gen Y employees are likely to change jobs more frequently than preceding generations.


Thailand’s KBank to Start Digitizing Contracts With Blockchain by 2018
by Wolfie Zhao – Coindesk
One of Thailand’s largest commercial banks is looking to digitize some of its financial contracts through a new blockchain solution developed with IBM.


Malaysia Weighs Dual-Class Shares as Exchanges Battle for IPOs
By Elffie Chew and Benjamin Robertson – Bloomberg
Decision comes as Singapore, Hong Kong consult on share class; Shareholder rights advocates see regional ‘race to the bottom’
Bursa Malaysia Bhd. said it’s considering whether to allow companies with dual-class share structures.


A group of elite execs is trying to strengthen the bond between the world’s two largest democracies; A group of elite executives has formed a new organization called the U.S.-India Strategic Partnership Forum, which is devoted to strengthening relations between India and the U.S.; “We will have important strategic discussions to bring down the trade deficit,” Ed Monser, president of Emerson Electric and vice-chair of the U.S.-India forum, told CNBC
Seema Mody – CNBC
American CEOs have been quick to support strong U.S.-India relations as many see the rising economy as a source of future growth — especially as China slows down.


Commonwealth Bank axes executive bonuses over money-laundering scandal; Cuts announced amid calls for repercussions in senior ranks over claims bank breached laws to combat funding for terrorism and crime syndicates
Joshua Robertson – The Guardian
The Commonwealth Bank has axed senior executive bonuses in response to a scandal around money laundering and a lawsuit by Australia’s financial intelligence agency.

Australia’s top bank sued over climate change risks
by Rishi Iyengar – CNN Money
Australia’s biggest bank just became the first financial institution to be sued over how it deals with the risk of climate change to its business.

Australia’s richest woman seeks to sate China’s hunger for meat; Gina Rinehart ropes in Chinese partners to lobby Beijing on opening live cattle trade
Jamie Smyth in Darwin – FT
Gina Rinehart has faced down larger rivals, bureaucrats and even family to build Hancock Prospecting into a mining force. Now Australia’s richest woman is tackling a tiny foe that could derail a A$1bn plan to ship live cattle to China.

Lawmakers Want to See Bitcoin Become an Official Currency in Australia
Wolfie Zhao – Coindesk
Lawmakers in Australia are reportedly pushing for the recognition of bitcoin as an official currency.

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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.