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Asia Pacific Financial News from John Lothian News – September 12, 2017

Lead Stories

Xi’s Plan To Make China the No. 1 Superpower
By Ting Shi
There are many faces to Xi Jinping, the most powerful Chinese leader in decades. There’s tough-guy Xi, cracking down on corruption and overhauling the world’s biggest military. There’s statesman Xi, the self-styled global champion of free trade and combating climate change following Donald Trump’s election as U.S. president. There’s nationalist Xi, brushing aside an international ruling against China’s territorial claims and there’s ruthless Xi, coming down hard on dissent. There’s Communist Xi, expanding the party’s reach over the economy and society. And there’s reformist Xi, advocating a decisive role for markets in the world’s No. 2 economy. Now, as Xi moves closer to a second five-year term, the question is which of the faces will predominate — and whether he’ll succeed in making China a genuine rival to the U.S. as the world’s No. 1 power.
https://goo.gl/bjYMj3

Floods May Cost South Asia $215 Billion a Year by 2030
By Archana Chaudhary and Bibhudatta Pradhan – Bloomberg
Mounting climate change dangers threaten businesses, growth; Unplanned urban sprawls, lack of climate planning to add costs
As global attention focused on hurricanes Harvey and Irma, more than 41 million people across South Asia battled floods and displacement.
https://goo.gl/ziw1LB

Manulife promotes Asia head to chief financial officer
Reuters Staff
Manulife (MFC.TO), Canada’s biggest insurer, said on Tuesday that it planned to promote the head of its Asian business, Philip Witherington, to be chief financial officer from the start of 2018.
https://goo.gl/CF5pHb

North Korea Is Dodging Sanctions With a Secret Bitcoin Stash
By Yuji Nakamura and Sam Kim – Bloomberg
North Korean hackers target South Korea’s ethereum exchanges; Crypto-currencies become tool to raise and launder money
North Korea appears to be stepping up efforts to secure bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, which could be used to avoid trade restrictions including new sanctions approved by the United Nations Security Council.
https://goo.gl/41KFxM

Southeast Asia Opens its Doors – Threats and Opportunities for your Brokerage; In the latest Quarterly Industry Report, Finance Magnates takes a closer look at the Southeast Asian industry,.
Damian Chmiel – Finance Magnates
Just a few years ago, brokers that wanted to set up shop in Asia would invariably choose Japan. However, strong competition and market density have led companies to turn their attention to other locations on that continent in the search for better entry conditions.
https://goo.gl/px9b9x

Trump Respects China’s Xi More Than Any Leader, Bannon Says
By Ting Shi , David Tweed , and Toluse Olorunnipa – Bloomberg
Former strategist delivers closed-door speech in Hong Kong; Bannon warns that China must cease ‘economic war’ with U.S.
President Donald Trump respects Chinese President Xi Jinping more than any other foreign leader, his former chief strategist Stephen Bannon said in a speech in Hong Kong in which he also warned that China must cease what he described as economic warfare against the U.S.
https://goo.gl/6ZgiLY

China-born New Zealand MP probed by spy agency; Government politician Jian Yang spent decade at elite Chinese military academies
Jamil Anderlini in Hong Kong – FT
New Zealand’s national intelligence agency has investigated a China-born sitting member of parliament in connection with the decade he spent at leading Chinese military colleges.
https://goo.gl/ssGaQj

FinTech News

China’s ICO Ban: Understandable, Reasonable and (Probably) Temporary
by Noelle Acheson – Coindesk
Nine months after issuing warnings to bitcoin exchanges, China’s central bank again sent the cryptocurrency markets tumbling last week.
https://goo.gl/wcxReR

Regulatory News

Japan’s Financial Services Agency: An English Guidebook For Foreign Asset Managers To Establish A Business Base In Japan
Mondovisione
For the further development of Tokyo as an international financial center, the FSA has been committed to enhance transparency regarding the procedures for foreign financial business operators to establish a business base in Japan, including to provide more useful information in English regarding financial market in Japan.
https://goo.gl/E37qEf

Japan

Japan’s MUFG picks Amsterdam as its EU investment banking base – sources
Taiga Uranaka – Reuters
Japan’s Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc (MUFG) (8306.T) has picked Amsterdam as its European Union investment banking base, sources with knowledge of the matter said on Wednesday, as financial institutions prepare for Britain’s exit from the EU.
https://goo.gl/WBPfLA

Japan seeks to raise cash after post float goes flat
KOSAKU NARIOKA – The Australian
The Japanese government is likely to raise more than $US10 billion ($12.47bn) by selling another chunk of Japan Post Holdings, which has struggled in its first two years as a public company.
https://goo.gl/X7VbA9

Japan to begin supervision of cryptocurrency exchanges; Financial watchdog flying blind in brave new world of virtual currencies
Nikkei
Japan is to introduce oversight on virtual currency exchanges next month, but authorities are still hashing out how to do so, mindful of the need to implement tighter regulation while leaving enough breathing room for continued growth of the rapidly evolving market.
https://goo.gl/5cSmx7

Toshiba considers memorandum committing to sell chip unit to Bain-led consortium
Leo Lewis, Hudson Lockett
Toshiba is considering a memorandum of understanding committing to sell its prized chip business to a consortium led by US private equity group Bain Capital, with a view to a deal being signed next week.
https://goo.gl/yFrmgG

Japan banks look to hedge funds, private equity to stoke returns
StraitsTimes.com
Japan’s regional banks are turning to private equity, hedge funds and real estate in search of higher returns as regulatory concerns restrict ownership of foreign bonds.
https://goo.gl/U2Ntyb

Mainland China

 

Hedge Funds Prosper on China Tech But Bubble Fears Emerge; Hedge funds globally are on average up just 3.9% this year through Sept. 8
By Laurence Fletcher and Emma Johanningsmeier – WSJ
Hedge funds betting on China have chalked up some of the biggest profits of 2017 so far, fueled by concentrated bets on the technology sector.
https://goo.gl/ZbC8vU

Xi Jinping Projects a False Sense of Economic Calm Ahead of His Coronation; No turmoil can be allowed to spoil the political pageantry as the president prepares to cement his power
By Andrew Browne – WSJ
The Chinese economy is in a strange kind of limbo.
https://goo.gl/cehd2b

Chinese premier on guard against financial risks; Li stresses economy’s overall health in roundtable with global organizations
ISSAKU HARADA, Nikkei
While China’s financial system is generally sound and stable, the government is still keeping a close eye on certain high-risk areas, Premier Li Keqiang told reporters Tuesday after a meeting with leaders from six international institutions.
https://goo.gl/k1TEoM

Countering China’s presence in S Asia
CONSTANTINO XAVIER – The Hindu BusinessLine
ia is reaching out to Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Bangladesh and Nepal. But these smaller countries are keeping options open
https://goo.gl/pxgpEm

China debt mountain weighs on global financial stability September 12 2017 11:45 PM
Gulf-Times.com
Communist China has stepped in to champion the cause of globalisation and free trade in the face of US President Donald Trump’s policies of protectionism and inward-looking isolation. But systemic risks in the world’s second largest economy make it the biggest threat to global financial stability, according to a QNB report.
https://goo.gl/nAukiE

China’s Banks Are Leading a Surge in Overseas Lending, McKinsey Says
By Chris Anstey – Bloomberg
Banks from China, Japan, Canada have boosted foreign lending; Global financial system more stable, though stocks seen a risk
Banks from China, Japan and Canada have overseen a surge in overseas lending since the financial crisis, helping to cushion a deep slide in cross-border capital flows thanks especially to a retreat by European banks, according to the McKinsey Global Institute.
https://goo.gl/4SpG38

Hong Kong

Stephen Bannon, Outspoken Critic of China, Has Subtler Message in Hong Kong Visit
By ALEXANDRA STEVENSON – NY Times
In the White House, Stephen K. Bannon helped shape President Trump’s nationalistic rhetoric that blamed China for economic woes in the United States.
https://goo.gl/kYBLwq

HONG KONG ACCOUNTING & FINANCE TALENT NEED TO LOOK BEYOND SALARY WHEN INTERVIEWING FOR A NEW ROLE
By CFO Innovation Asia Staff
Hong Kong accounting and finance candidates across key areas are in prime position to find a new role in the current market, but employers are looking to candidates to explain their motivations beyond just financial reward, according to Hays.
https://goo.gl/7mgpu9

Indonesia

Commentary: Singapore-Indonesia relations at 50, delicate yet interdependent
By Charlotte Setijadi – ChannelNewsAsia
The two countries must set aside differences and embrace growing interconnectivity to face challenges ahead, writes ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute’s Charlotte Setijadi.
https://goo.gl/RGUHCA

Vietnam

State Budget, restructure, skyrocketing public debt, Vietnam economy, Vietnamnet bridge, English news about
Vietnamnet.vn
What should be the focus of the Ministry of Finance in restructuring the State budget? Like many other countries, Viet Nam has been facing fiscal risks, particularly mid-term and long-term risks due to overspending of State funds and skyrocketing public debt.
https://goo.gl/7hPyKG

Taiwan

Taiwan regulator warns of ‘stick’ to enforce corporate governance
Reuters Staff
Taiwan’s top financial regulator said on Tuesday that corporate governance is his top policy priority and companies failing to meet standards will be brought into line.
https://goo.gl/32VuZE

Taiwan battens down for Typhoon Talim, ships warned, flights cancelled
Reuters Staff
Taiwan issued a maritime warning and airlines cancelled some flights on Wednesday as the island braced for Typhoon Talim, which was expected to hit northern cities, including Taipei, and had the potential to become a super typhoon.
https://goo.gl/RorABH

Potential Opportunities for Foreign Banks
BY MARINA FINLEYON – Amcham.com
Taiwan’s ambitious plans to develop offshore wind power spur a need for project financing. International banks have held a rather limited market share in Taiwan, but one area in which they have a potential competitive edge by virtue of their technical expertise in the financing of major projects. In recent years, such projects have been scarce, but that may soon change as a result of the Taiwan government’s determination to develop green energy.
https://goo.gl/mxZHta

Philippines

Floods shut down financial markets and government offices in Philippines
Bloomberg
Philippine financial markets were closed on Tuesday (Sept 12) along with government offices and schools as heavy overnight rains flooded parts of the capital Manila and nearby provinces.
https://goo.gl/r7GdNV

Malaysia

Trump meeting with Malaysian prime minister under scrutiny
The Associated Press
President Donald Trump praised Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak for his country’s financial investments in U.S. companies during a meeting Tuesday at the White House and thanked him for helping to fight Islamic State militants.
https://goo.gl/437jSs

India

US asks India to open market, address trade imbalance
Financial Express
The US today asked India to open its market for American firms and address the rising trade imbalance between the two countries while taking steps to protect intellectual property rights
https://goo.gl/xGN6RH

India, Belarus sign 10 pacts to expand cooperation
Financial Express
India and Belarus today inked 10 pacts to expand cooperation in a range of areas and decided to explore joint development and manufacture of military platforms, giving a fresh momentum in bilateral ties.
https://goo.gl/UdA5g1

India Consumer Prices Rise 3.36%, More Than Forecast
By Archana Chaudhary – Bloomberg
CPI rose to 3.36 percent, faster than 3.24 percent estimate; July factory output grew 1.2 percent after last month’s fall
India’s August inflation rate accelerated to the fastest since March, exceeding expectations ahead of the central bank’s policy review in October.
https://goo.gl/SUUHxc

Australia

Qantas’s Joyce Donates A$1 Million to Gay Marriage Cause
By Angus Whitley – Bloomberg
CEO’s personal contribution equates to half his base salary; Donation said to be largest individual ‘Yes’ campaign pledge
Qantas Airways Ltd. Chief Executive Officer Alan Joyce personally donated A$1 million ($800,000) to a campaign to legalize same-sex marriage in Australia, according to a person familiar with the matter.
https://goo.gl/bgrf4A

All financial advice should be tax deductible
JAMES KIRBY – THE AUSTRALIAN
Let’s make financial advice tax deductible … No doubt, most people would be of the opinion it is already. Not quite.
https://goo.gl/9nPfRM

‘Not scared’: Australian regulator takes aim at country’s powerful banks
Swati Pandey, Paulina Duran – Reuters
Australia’s corporate regulator took aim at the nation’s four major banks, saying the powerful institutions “with a lot of hubris” aren’t used to being taken on by regulators who have stepped up scrutiny of the scandal-hit sector.
https://goo.gl/Uc4gfL

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About Author

Lothian is executive chairman of John J. Lothian & Co. and editor of the John Lothian Newsletter. He publishes MarketsWiki.com, MarketsReformWiki.com, MarketsWikiEducation.com, JohnLothianNews.com and several industry newsletters.