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Asia Pacific Financial News from John Lothian News – November 29, 2017

Lead Stories

India Restores Faith in Capitalism; Handling bankruptcies right is key to reviving the credibility of India Inc.
By Mihir Sharma – Bloomberg
According to one of India’s most respected bankers, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity — a mammoth sale of distressed assets, some $40 billion in the first round. Much could go wrong, of course, especially given that so many powerful interests have so much money at stake in the process. Fortunately, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, which has stumbled in some of its biggest policy moves recently, appears to be handling this particular challenge with both agility and a sense of urgency. That mindset should now be carried over into other parts of the reform agenda.
https://goo.gl/zLmwYh

HKEX establishes new office in Singapore; New office in Singapore is opened as HKEX looks to expand its presence in South-East Asia.
By Hayley McDowell – The Trade
Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEX) has opened a new office for The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong (SEHK) in Singapore in a bid to expand its presence in Asia.
https://goo.gl/3qzBiS

North Korea claims missile puts all of US in range; Launch of Hwasong 15 makes ‘state nuclear force’ complete, says Kim Jong Un
Bryan Harris in Seoul and Courtney Weaver in Washington – FT
North Korea on Wednesday claimed the successful launch of a new advanced ballistic missile that it said placed the entire US within range.
https://goo.gl/LzzBn1

HNA puts $40bn global buying spree into reverse; Chinese group for first time acknowledges it is considering asset sales
FT Reporters – FT
HNA Group has signalled that it is kicking into reverse its $40bn global buying spree, as the Chinese conglomerate finds itself under the microscope by mainland regulators.
https://goo.gl/rQJxsC

Maybe Investment Banking Isn’t HSBC’s Thing
By Nisha Gopalan, Elaine He – Bloomberg
HSBC Holdings Plc just can’t seem to crack Wall Street.The latest piece of evidence? Matthew Westerman’s departure, less than two years after he was recruited from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. as co-head of global banking.
https://goo.gl/KRuH5r

Asia Pacific banks riddled with high private sector leverage: Moody’s
Financial Express
Global rating agency Moody’s has said many banks in the Asia Pacific (Apac) region, including India, are exposed to high levels of private sector leverage, although the buildup of such debt has slowed down of late.
https://goo.gl/AheuUn

Exchange News

SGX proposes to make securities settlement and clearing safer and aligned with global practices
SGX
Singapore Exchange (SGX) plans to make changes in the clearing and settlement of securities in the Singapore stock market.
https://goo.gl/71v6QT

Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEX) today (Wednesday) expands its presence in Asia with the opening of the Singapore office of The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited (SEHK) and the Hong Kong Futures Exchange Limited (HKFE), wholly-owned subsidiaries of HKEX.
https://goo.gl/nnf8Cq

Hong Kong stock exchange likely to allow weighted voting rights-CEO
Reuters Staff
Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd (HKEX) is likely to allow weighted voting rights, its chief executive said, as the Asia financial hub’s exchange operator looks to attract more new economy companies to remain a global listings powerhouse.
https://goo.gl/CFZD1o

FinTech News

Financial services firms more ‘digitally sustainable’ than tech firms
Tech Wire Asia
TECHNOLOGY firms are pretty bad at keeping up with technology, a study by recruitment consulting firm Korn Ferry found.
https://goo.gl/gsrkbe

Luxembourg and Japan fintech groups sign MoU
Finextra
As part of the Luxembourg State visit in Japan and following the Luxembourg-Japan Business Forum in Tokyo highlighting the future of financial relations between Japan and Luxembourg, the Luxembourg House of Financial Technology Foundation (LHoFT) is pleased to announce the signature of a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Fintech Association of Japan (FAJ) on Wednesday, 29 November.
https://goo.gl/NPQjmT

Investing News

Nomura reopens private equity business; Move comes amid PE-led boom in investment in Japanese companies
Leo Lewis in Tokyo – FT
Nomura is planning to revive its shuttered private equity business in a bet that ageing demographics, economic migration and competitive pressure will propel Japan into a new era of divestment, restructuring and management buyouts.
https://goo.gl/FEiSwN

Japan

Japan’s bitcoin exchange bitFlyer launches in the US; New York State Department of Financial Services grants virtual currency license to bitFlyer USA
Automated Trader
The New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) has approved the application of bitFlyer USA for a virtual currency license. With the new DFS license, bitFlyer USA is approved to offer an online digital currency exchange and trading platform as well as provide custodial wallet services for the Bitcoin digital currency.
https://goo.gl/nd3yHH

Demographics to stress Japan regional banks: BoJ official November 29 2017 Gulf Times
Japan’s declining population could eventually pose a risk to its regional banks and financial system, Bank of Japan deputy governor Hiroshi Nakaso said in the last of three key speeches that may serve as his swan song after nearly four decades at the central bank.
https://goo.gl/ScS8Ui

About 11% of Land in Japan Is Unclaimed; That’ll have grown to the equivalent of Ireland by 2040
By Yoshiaki Nohara – Bloomberg
In Japan’s declining regions, land gets abandoned. The ownership of about 11 percent of Japan’s landmass is now unclear, with the current owners unable to be contacted, or unknown. That’s about 41,000 square kilometers (16,000 square miles), which is equivalent to the size of Japan’s southwestern island of Kyushu, or almost as large as Denmark.
https://goo.gl/aoAnad

Mainland China

China’s Micro-Lending Mess; Online lenders have serious problems. But banning them would be a mistake.
By Christopher Balding – Bloomberg
In their bid to reduce risk, China’s financial regulators are cracking down on a promising business: online micro-lending. Although the industry has some serious problems, killing it off would be a big mistake.
https://goo.gl/MtKdWG

Indonesia

Indonesia to reopen Bali airport, but volcano still spewing ash
Financial Express
Bali’s international airport will re-open today after a nearly three-day shutdown, Indonesian airport authorities said, as ash from a rumbling volcano that looms over the island paradise shifted direction.
https://goo.gl/LbvFcn

Singapore

Ex-JPMorgan Traders Start Singapore Currency Options Quant Fund
By Chikafumi Hodo and Komaki Ito – Bloomberg
Ogaki and Loh to start with $75 million in seed capital; Model tests returned annualized 12.7% gain over past decade
Two former JPMorgan Chase & Co. foreign-exchange option traders will start a quantitative hedge fund in January, using artificial intelligence to trade currency options.
https://goo.gl/L6aoue

Singapore Exchange Aims for Faster Trade Settlement Next Year
By Abhishek Vishnoi – Bloomberg
Plans to cut city’s trade cycle to two days from three; Move will bring it line with U.S., Europe and Hong Kong
Singapore Exchange Ltd. plans to speed up clearing and settlement of securities to reduce systemic risks and bring the island nation’s market in line with global standards.
https://goo.gl/Mh5TMC

Vietnam

Fintech Challenge seeks to bolster financial inclusion in Vietnam
Nhandan
A programme entitled ‘Fintech Challenge Vietnam’ has been launched by the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV), with the aim of fostering innovation in financial services that promote greater financial inclusion in Vietnam.
https://goo.gl/JkQMNV

Vietnam Aims to Raise $4.8 Billion Selling Stake in Brewer
By Mai Ngoc Chau – Bloomberg
Sabeco would offer as much as 53.6% stake in single tranche; Auction of shares in Vietnam’s biggest brewer set for Dec. 18
Vietnam is seeking to raise at least $4.8 billion in the country’s biggest stake sale as an offering in a state-run brewer attracts potential bidders including Anheuser-Busch InBev NV and Asahi Group Holdings Ltd.
https://goo.gl/VLWmCd

Thailand

Bank of Baroda to shut Hong Kong branch, Thailand office; Hit by resource crunch, especially capital, many public sector banks are reviewing their international operations
Abhijit Lele – Business Standard
Bank of Baroda (BoB) is scaling down its overseas presence as part of a rationalisation process. It is planning to shut down a branch in Hong Kong and a representative office in Thailand.
https://goo.gl/3fwKgY

Taiwan

Deutsche Bank to collaborate with Bank of Taiwan
The Financial
Deutsche Bank and the Bank of Taiwan (BOT) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to strengthen their partnership and focus on a number of opportunities important to both institutions.
https://goo.gl/Qa76xg

South Korea

Why Investors Are Unfazed by North Korea’s Missile Launch
By Heejin Kim , Abhishek Vishnoi , and Adam Haigh – Bloomberg
Kospi advances as much as 0.4%, while won strengthens; BOK policy meeting, GDP data this week matter more, they say
North Korea launched an intercontinental ballistic missile near Japan, but investors and analysts were unfazed by the latest provocation.
https://goo.gl/QtVxKL

Decision-Day Guide: Bank of Korea Set to Lead Asian Rates Higher
By Jiyeun Lee – Bloomberg
Majority of analysts see policy interest rate rising to 1.5%; Governor Lee’s comments on rate-hike cycle will be in focus
The Bank of Korea’s policy meeting on Thursday promises to be one of the most closely watched in years, with a majority of economists expecting the central bank to raise its benchmark interest rate for the first time since 2011.
https://goo.gl/VmhcsK

Philippines

An Investment Boom in Philippines Leaves Neighbors in the Dust
By Karl Lester M Yap and Myungshin Cho – Bloomberg
Economy’s physical assets surge more than 10% on year earlier; President Duterte plans to boost spending to a record in 2018
Capital investment in the Philippines is surging past the rest of Southeast Asia as the government and firms ramp up spending.
https://goo.gl/JafQQY

Malaysia

Global crypto-currency warnings in Malaysia, elsewhere spark search for safe havens
The Star
When U.S. entrepreneur Bharath Rao looked around for the best place to raise money for his crypto-currency derivatives trading business, the United States did not make his list. Instead he chose the East African island nation Seychelles to sell the trading platform’s tokens.
https://goo.gl/vkuymn

India

India records 45% jump in number of petrol pumps in last 6 years
Financial Express
India has recorded 45 per cent jump in the number of petrol pumps in the last six years, possibly the highest growth rate in the world, as public and private sector firms jostled to capture retailing sites.
https://goo.gl/YqP5Xf

Australia

Australia’s major banks call for ‘properly constituted inquiry’ into the financial services sector
News.com.au
A ROYAL commission into Australia’s banking sector will be launched after the Big Four themselves called for a ‘properly constituted inquiry’.
https://goo.gl/i81uLZ

Australian banks the best regulated in the world: S&P
James Eyers – AFR
International ratings agency S&P Global Ratings says existing laws and regulations governing Australia’s banks are the strongest in the world, and does not believe there has been any systemic manipulation of rules to warrant a parliamentary investigation into the sector. On the other hand, any inquiry will create a big distraction for management, it argues.
https://goo.gl/EsL74J

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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.