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Asia Pacific Financial News from John Lothian News – October 20, 2017

Lead Stories

End of an era as Hong Kong stock trading floor set to close
By The Associated Press
Hong Kong’s last remaining stock market floor traders are taking their final orders as the exchange prepares to shut its trading hall.

Rage, Rocket Man and the price of Donald Trump’s vanity; US allies’ policy of working to minimise the president’s impact is running out of road
Philip Stephens – FT
The rage in the White House is unbounded. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un — “Little Rocket Man”, the US president calls him — must be destroyed. The international nuclear agreement with Iran is the worst deal ever. Free trade is a conspiracy against the US. America’s allies are freeloaders. It is a struggle not to conclude the real and present danger to international peace and security now sits at the point of collision between Donald Trump’s narcissism and the limits on US power.

What We Learned on Day Three of China’s Party Congress
By David Tweed – Bloomberg
Shanghai stole the headlines on the third day of the Communist Party’s most important meeting after its party chief confirmed plans to set up a free-trade port that would aim to ease restrictions for incoming cargo.

Staffing Industry Analysts
The number of contracting jobs in the financial services sector in the Asia Pacific region fell by 3% in the third quarter when compared with the second; however, the number rose 21% on a year-over-year basis, according to the “APAC Employment Monitor Q3 2017” by recruitment firm Morgan McKinley.

People moves: new Asia-Pacific chief for Goldman Sachs; Also: Reid Marsh moves at Barclays; Citi’s new Apac capital markets origination head; and others
Asia Risk staff
Goldman Sachs has appointed Kenneth Hitchner as chairman and chief executive for Asia-Pacific ex-Japan, based in Hong Kong. He replaces Mark Schwartz, who retired late last year.

SoftBank Is the Berkshire Hathaway of Technology, Bernstein Says
By Julie Verhage – Bloomberg
Is Masayoshi Son the next Warren Buffett? A note from Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. argues that Son’s SoftBank Group Corp. is the next Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

Exchange News

Chicago Stock Exchange sale flags
By LYNNE MAREK – Crain’s Chicago Business
Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner urged the Securities and Exchange Commission recently to approve the sale of the Chicago Stock Exchange to a group that includes Chinese buyers, but his support may…

HKEX Announces Plans for more Long-dated Contract Months in its Derivatives Market
HSI and HSCEI Futures and Options to be enhanced from 4 December, subject to regulatory approval; Long-dated contract months to be introduced for HSI and HSCEI Futures; Additional long-dated contract months to be introduced for HSI and HSCEI Options
Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEX) announced today (Friday) that it plans to introduce long-dated contract months for its Hang Seng Index (HSI) and Hang Seng China Enterprises Index (HSCEI) Futures and increase the long-dated contract months for its HSI and HSCEI Options, with maturities up to 5.5 years, on Monday, 4 December 2017, subject to regulatory approval.

FinTech News

UTRUST Attending Blockchain Conferences in Europe, Asia and North America Ahead of November 2nd ICO
PR Newswire
Two weeks ahead of its ICO on November 2nd, 2017 (2pm UTC), cryptocurrency payments solution UTRUST has confirmed participation in key blockchain conferences across Europe, North America and Asia. These represent ongoing efforts to raise awareness and build new partnerships as part of UTRUST’s bid to be the world’s leading digital and blockchain payment platform.

Regulatory News

Full Federal Court dismisses broker’s appeal
The Full Federal Court of Australia has dismissed former Victorian finance broker Rudy Noel Frugtniet’s appeal against his permanent banning from engaging in credit activities.

ASIC releases update to evidence metrics for performance reporting
ASIC has released updated evidence metrics to report against six common key performance indicators (KPIs) in the Australian Government’s Regulator Performance Framework (Framework).

Adairs pays penalty for alleged continuous disclosure breach
ASX-listed company Adairs Limited (Adairs) has paid a penalty of $66,000 after ASIC issued an infringement notice alleging it had not complied with the continuous disclosure obligations.

Investing News

Japan equity funds suffer record outflows ahead of election; Investors opt not to trust forecasts of Shinzo Abe victory after other polling snafus
Nicole Bullock in New York – FT
Japan equity funds suffered record outflows in the past week as traders and investors turned defensive after a stirring run up for share prices ahead of the country’s snap elections on Sunday.

SoftBank preparing sequels to $100bn Vision Fund; Japanese tech giant wants to invest in 1,000 companies in 10 years
SoftBank Group Chairman and CEO Masayoshi Son on Thursday revealed his intention to create another technology investment fund, just months after establishing a roughly $100 billion fund.

Asian Companies Sell Most Stock in U.S. Since Alibaba’s IPO
By Alex Barinka and Crystal Tse – Bloomberg
15 stocks rise 46 percent after IPOs raising $3.2 billion; Sea Ltd., Rise Education add to tally in Friday trading debuts
Investors are getting plenty of chances this month to tap one of the best-performing segments of the year’s initial public offerings: Asia-based companies listing in the U.S.

Shanghai Stocks Soar on City’s Free-Trade Port Plan
Bloomberg News
Government’s free trade port plan boosting sentiment: Xufunds; Xiongan, Shanghai free trade zone prompted similar jumps
Traders are snapping up stocks with Shanghai in their name after the city’s Communist Party chief confirmed plans to set up a free trade port that would aim to ease restrictions for incoming cargo.


Kobe Steel scandal escalates with probe into copper plant
Peter Wells – FT
Kobe Steel has confirmed that one of its copper plants in Japan is being investigated by authorities for a possible breach of industrial standards, in an escalation of its data falsification scandal that has dragged in more than 500 companies.

Japan’s Abe Set for Landslide Election Win
By Isabel Reynolds – Bloomberg
Victory could pave the way for him to govern Japan until 2021; Polls show him close to maintaining two-thirds majority
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s early election gamble looks like it will pay off.

Japan regulator to question regional banks on business models: sources
Reuters Staff
Japan’s financial regulator is planning to question regional banks that are deemed to have poor business models, sources with direct knowledge of the matter said on Friday.

India And China Are Beating Japan
Panos Mourdoukoutas – Forbes
Japan is a developed country, beating China and India in many economic and financial indicators, but China and India are beating Japan in two key competitiveness indicators — the ability to attract and retain talent.

Japan standards inspectors search Kobe Steel over faked data
Elaine Kurtenbach – The Associated Press
Japan’s industrial standards agency searched offices of metals maker Kobe Steel on Friday as investigations into falsified data on its products widened.

Approaching Typhoon Could Weigh on Japan Election Turnout
By Isabel Reynolds and Takashi Hirokawa – Bloomberg
A strong typhoon is expected to bring yet more rain to an already sodden Japan at the weekend, potentially affecting the turnout in Sunday’s election.

Mainland China

China central bank chief warns of asset bubbles, debt risk
Chong Koh Ping – Straits Times
China’s central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan has warned of asset bubbles and debt risk in the corporate and household sectors in the world’s No. 2 economy.

China’s banking industry faces tighter rules
Asia Times
Officials say greater attention being paid to shadow banking, cross finance, housing bubbles and local government debt

Financial appointees in China ‘far more important’ than political ones for economy, says scholar; New appointments to China’s various financial institutions will signal the country’s economic direction, says Cornell professor Eswar Prasad
Huileng Tan – CNBC
Investors interested in China shouldn’t be too distracted by who is elevated to the top ranks of the Chinese Communist Party during the ongoing leadership confab, warns a leading China scholar.

Qudian’s New York IPO underlines appetite for China’s fintech; Investors’ interest in sector swells, but regulatory risks remain
Emily Feng in Beijing and Don Weinland in Hong Kong – FT
Qudian, one of China’s largest online lenders, had a debut to remember on the New York Stock Exchange this week. Its shares closed up 22 per cent, making a multi-millionaire of founder and chief executive Min Luo.

Taiwan probes Sea for Chinese ownership ahead of $1bn US listing; Allegations Tencent-backed group broke foreign holding rules come ahead of NY debut
Edward White in Taipei – FT
Sea, a Singapore-based online games and ecommerce business that has just wrapped up a $1bn fundraising ahead of a New York listing, is at risk of being ejected from Taiwan, which accounts for almost a third of its revenues.

Hong Kong

China-based coworking operator naked Hub sets sights on Hong Kong IPO
Clare Jim – Reuters
Shanghai-based coworking space startup naked Hub said on Friday it plans to go public in Hong Kong after a fresh round of fundraising next year, potentially adding more Chinese “new economy” companies to the Asian financial hub’s stock exchange.

Hong Kong Needs Happy Research; A fine imposed for a report on Chinese companies stands, and the city is the poorer for it.
By Andy Mukherjee – Bloomberg
What kind of financial research has a future in Hong Kong?


Propelling Singaporean SMEs to greater heights with fintech
According to the January 2017 report by Hootsuite and We Are Social Singapore, there are currently 644.1 million people in Southeast Asia. Of which, 53% are internet users making the region ripe for growth and expansion for Fintech adoption.

A Guide to Luxury Real Estate in Singapore; What you need to know when house-hunting in the high-tech center of international finance.
By Pooja Thakur Mahrotri and Adam Majendie – Bloomberg
Although it’s only 278 square miles in size, Singapore has an outsized reputation in finance. The island city-state, which gained independence in 1965, has woven grand century-old architecture and modern high-rises together into an alluring high-tech business center.


South Korean investors heading for Vietnam
VietNamNet Bridge
Analysts reported a string of M&A deals made by South Korean investors just in the third quarter of the year alone.


Learning curve for Thai start-up drive
MORE THAN 10 Thai financial technology (fintech) and related start-ups have learned the strengths of their Hong Kong counterparts during a recent visit to the Chinese special administrative region.

Thai Princess Sirindhorn arrives Lumbini
The visiting Thai Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhron arrived at Lumbini in Rupandehi district today to mark cultural and religious connection between Nepal and Thailand with the birthplace of Lord Buddha.


Taiwan Stock May See Renewed Consolidation
The Taiwan stock market on Thursday snapped the two-day slide in which it had fallen almost 55 points or 0.5 percent. The Taiwan Stock Exchange now rests just above the 10,760-point plateau although it head south again on Friday.

South Korea

Blow for new South Korean president after vote to resume nuclear power build
Song Jung-a – FT
South Korea is expected to resume the stalled construction of two nuclear reactors after a state commission recommended doing so following months of heated discussion and despite President Moon Jae-in’s campaign promise to scrap the projects.


Indian companies top global list on reporting CSR
By Ruchika Chitravanshi
India has emerged as the top country for reporting corporate responsibility information in the annual financial report of companies, but the quality of disclosures has to improve, according to a KPMG survey.

‘India’s reserves sufficient to cushion against external woes’
Economic Times
India’s foreign exchange reserves touched a record high in September and the current stock is sufficient to cushion India against unexpected global risks, says a report.

First Indo-Russia tri-services exercise begins
Financial Express
India and Russia today began their first mega tri-services war game involving their armies, navies and air forces with an aim to boost their operational coordination.

Kerala Tourism thanks Taj Mahal for ‘Inspiring Millions Discover India’
Financial Express
The Mughal mausoleum came into controversy earlier in the week after Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Sangeet Som said that there is no reason to glorify the Taj Mahal as it was a ‘blot on Indian culture’.

Solicitor General of India Ranjit Kumar resigns, cites personal reasons
Financial Express
Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar resigned on Friday. He has cited personal reasons behind this move. Notably, former Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi also had resigned on similar grounds.

Air Pollution in New Delhi Spikes as Millions Burst Firecrackers
By Iain Marlow – Bloomberg
India’s capital is one of the world’s most polluted megacities; New Lancet report says pollution costs $4.6 trillion per year
Air pollution levels in India’s capital soared off the charts once again as millions of Indians burst fire crackers to celebrate Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, despite a Supreme Court ban on the sale of fireworks in the region.


Vietnam, Australia sign MoU on financial cooperation
The MoU was signed on October 20 on the sidelines of the APEC 2017 Finance Ministers’ Meeting (FMM) which is being held in the central province of Quang Nam from October 19-21.

Australia Marks the Death of Its Auto Industry
By Zoe Ma – Bloomberg
Holden closure marks end of Aussie car manufacturing industry; Victoria better placed to absorb shocks than South Australia
As thousands of people attended an automobile rally in Australia’s blue-collar heartland on Sunday, many knew it was also a funeral procession for the nation’s car industry.

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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.