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Asia Pacific Financial News from John Lothian News – December 18, 2017

Lead Stories

Hong Kong Listings Rule Changes Set to Transform Market, Li Says
By Benjamin Robertson and Rishaad Salamat – Bloomberg
HKEX on Friday proposed allowing dual-class share companies; Profitability requirement for biotech companies also dropped
Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd.’s proposal to change which companies are eligible to list in the city will boost the pipeline of initial public offerings, according to Chief Executive Officer Charles Li.
https://goo.gl/LHtGVH

Trump to label China as a strategic ‘competitor’; Beijing accused of pursuing policies of economic aggression to weaken US
Demetri Sevastopulo in Washington – FT
President Donald Trump will describe China as a strategic “competitor” on Monday when he releases a national security strategy that accuses Beijing of maintaining a “repressive vision” and pursuing policies of economic aggression aimed at weakening the US.
https://goo.gl/vt4Wuj

Chinese IPOs in the U.S. Are Saddling Investors With Big Losses; Ten of the 16 Chinese firms debuting on the New York Stock Exchange or Nasdaq this year are trading below their IPO prices
By Steven Russolillo and Corrie Driebusch – WSJ
Struggling shares of newly listed Chinese companies in the U.S. are saddling investors with unexpected losses and dealing a setback to other firms from China hoping to go public in New York.
https://goo.gl/rM3wwb

BOJ’s Massive Bond Holdings Pace Seen Expanding Even More Slowly in 2018
By James Mayger and Masahiro Hidaka – Bloomberg
The pace at which the Bank of Japan is expanding its massive hoard of bonds will continue to slow in 2018, according to the majority of economists surveyed by Bloomberg.
https://goo.gl/qUtHFS

Possibility of nuclear war in South Asia cannot be ruled out, says Pakistan’s NSA
Financial Express
Pakistan’s security czar today said that the stability of the South Asian region hangs in a delicate balance and the possibility of a nuclear war cannot be ruled out.
https://goo.gl/vxy55Z

Let China’s Workers Roam Free; Clamping down could make the struggle against debt much harder.
By Michael Pettis – Bloomberg
Over the past few weeks, people here in Beijing have been riveted by the so-called migrant “clean-out” — the government’s attempt to evict tens of thousands of migrant workers from their homes in the poorer parts of the city. What’s not being discussed, however, is how the crackdown could threaten one of the government’s other main priorities: managing debt.
https://goo.gl/cge1Dv

Exchange News

Tokyo Exchange Failing as Market Referee, Fund Head Says
By Tom Redmond and Takako Taniguchi – Bloomberg
Yasushi Ando, New Horizon chairman, says TSE failing in duties; Exchange must serve as judge for governance code, he says
The Tokyo Stock Exchange is failing in its duty as a market referee, according to the chairman of a prominent Japanese investment fund.
https://goo.gl/e67ntr

SGX welcomes Clearbridge Health Limited to Catalist
SGX
Singapore Exchange (SGX) today welcomed Clearbridge Health Limited to its Catalist under the stock code “1H3”.
https://goo.gl/6uBWCU

ELITE continues global expansion in China
London Stock Exchange Group
ELITE, London Stock Exchange Group’s international business support and capital raising programme, today announces that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Shenzhen Securities Information Company (SSIC), a wholly owned subsidiary of Shenzhen Stock Exchange (SZSE), to support the launch of ELITE in China through the creation of the ELITE V-Next Alliance.
https://goo.gl/w6Jo1w

FinTech News

Chinese tech groups look for edge in using artificial intelligence; Tencent, Alibaba and Baidu tap into massive databases to test capabilities
Louise Lucas in Hong Kong – FT
As the quest to master artificial intelligence intensifies, China’s tech trio of Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent have a distinct advantage over their Silicon Valley rivals — data.
https://goo.gl/GiVMNn

Ascend Money Announces 50,000 Agent Networks Across Southeast Asia
PaymentsJournal
Ascend Money, a Southeast Asian fintech business under Thailand’s Ascend Group, has reached 50,000 agents—local franchises and networks such as convenience stores, pharmacies, street vendors, and cafes, that conduct financial services for customers—across Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia, and the Philippines. Ascend Money has strengthened its foothold in the region through major partnerships, with the latest cooperation with Bank Negara Indonesia (BNI) to extend financial services to rural communities.
https://goo.gl/ou38MC

Regulatory News

Start 2018 using ASIC’s MoneySmart to set financial goals
ASIC
ASIC is encouraging Australians to start the New Year by setting financial goals. Every January, one of the most popular New Year resolutions people make is to take control of their money. Yet according to research conducted for ASIC, about 44% of Australians say they have a short term financial plan in place, while only 23% say they have a long term plan[1],’ said Laura Higgins, Senior Executive Leader for Financial Capability.
https://goo.gl/uvxH1U

Investing News

As Topix Reclaims 26-Year High, Investors Bet on Tech Comeback
By Min Jeong Lee – Bloomberg
Japan’s ‘sunrise’ stocks fell amid global technology selloff; Citi Private Bank, BlackRock, Pictet see declines as fleeting
As Japanese stocks overcame last month’s downturn to return to their highest in 26 years, the rally found a new driver: bank shares, which took over from the technology companies that led the charge for most of 2017.
https://goo.gl/pxUhbE

Japan

Japan’s love of bitcoin shows off dullness of yen
Trading platforms hope they can keep investors hooked on the cryptocurrency
LEO LEWIS – FT
Forget the traditional Christmas consumer brand stand-off: when it comes to emotion-twanging advertising, Japan’s bitcoin trading platforms are the true prize fight.
https://goo.gl/8o4moq

Bank of Japan’s expansion of bond holdings to slow in 2018: economists
BLOOMBERG
The pace at which the Bank of Japan is expanding its massive hoard of bonds will continue to slow in 2018, according to the majority of economists surveyed by Bloomberg.
https://goo.gl/d6cV93

The Japanese company that ordered staff to speak English; How ‘Englishnization’ changed Rakuten
Michael Skapinker – FT
On March 1 2010, Hiroshi Mikitani, flamboyant chief executive of Rakuten, the leading Japanese ecommerce company, delivered startling news to the 7,000 Japanese staff gathered for his weekly address and the 3,000 overseas employees watching by video.
https://goo.gl/zgDZs5

Japan probes bid-rigging claims for $80bn maglev railway; Contractors Kajima and Shimizu raided by prosecutors in high-profile investigation
Robin Harding in Tokyo – FT
Two of Japan’s biggest construction companies were raided by prosecutors on Monday as part of a probe into possible bid-rigging on the $80bn project to build a maglev railway from Tokyo to Osaka.
https://goo.gl/7YXqXS

Mainland China

China Should Open Financial Sector More, U.K.’s McGuinness Says
Bloomberg News
China needs to further liberalize its financial sector as a “huge interest” in domestic market assets is expected to grow, said Catherine McGuinness, the policy chairman of the City of London Corporation.
https://goo.gl/5s5xmt

China’s $189 Billion Giant of Finance Reveals a Huge Bet on Tech
Bloomberg News
Ping An wants to get half its earnings from technology; Shares have jumped 99% in 2017; CFO says they’re undervalued
These days, every big finance company worth its salt is finding ways to boost its bottom line with technology. Few are going quite as far as Ping An Insurance (Group) Co.
https://goo.gl/5wxBzU

StanChart and China’s Ant Financial sign ‘Belt & Road’ partnership
Reuters Staff
London-based bank Standard Chartered (STAN.L) and Ant Financial, the payment affiliate of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (BABA.N) have agreed to collaborate in countries along China’s ‘Belt & Road’ strategic initiative.
https://goo.gl/eJTXx3

JD.com joins China automated shopping push; Group to open hundreds of cashier-free shops as tech-savvy consumers embrace concept
Emily Feng in Beijing – FT
Chinese consumers have embraced facial identification and mobile payments to buy everything from fast food to sex toys, drawn towards the efficiency and the novelty of semi-automated stores.
https://goo.gl/58X5aP

China’s campaign to cut debt enters new stage: stock exchange official
Business Times
China is in a new phase of its campaign to cut debt, focusing on rules to shrink a bloated financial sector that has grown rapidly as product innovation outpaced regulatory oversight, a senior researcher at the Shanghai Stock Exchange said.
https://goo.gl/GnZcHF

Hong Kong

Is there a party, with Hong Kong’s listing rules all dressed up?
South China Morning Post
Hong Kong needs to consider carefully how to safeguard against abuses as it seeks to draw blockbuster IPOs
https://goo.gl/s6yDQf

Hong Kong’s securities regulator fines Standard Chartered Securities US$330,000 for internal control failures
South China Morning Post
The SFC has found the firm’s failure to put enough controls in place leading to at least 61 instances of regulatory breaches involving short sales
https://goo.gl/2Jwgh9

Hong Kong Investors Rush to Enter the Bitcoin Markets
Bitcoin.com
With bitcoin again dominating headlines, a flood of new money has recently entered the cryptocurrency markets – including from emerging crypto markets such as Hong Kong. Local media outlets are reporting, however, that many new investors may be ill-prepared for the risks associated with cryptocurrency.
https://goo.gl/ezrLxc

WPP takes ownership stake in Hong Kong digital agency
Oliver Haill WebFG News
WPP has acquired a majority stake in Hong Kong-based digital consultancy ARBA, adding a strong roster of financial services clients and expertise in working with mobile apps.
https://goo.gl/JKQZ77

Indonesia

Low Level of Financial Inclusion Threatens the Indonesian Economy
Indonesia-Investments
The low level of financial inclusion in Indonesia is not good for the economy. The central bank of Indonesia (Bank Indonesia) said it could encourage further growth of the shadow economy. This could then jeopardize Indonesia’s financial system stability. Being unrecorded, the shadow economy could trigger sudden shocks within the economy.
https://goo.gl/ZqkrBh

FinTech Indonesia signs collaboration agreement with FinTech Australia
Fintech Indonesia
The peak financial technology (fintech) industry bodies in Indonesia and Australia have signed a landmark agreement to help drive exchanges of talent and expertise between the two growing fintech markets.
https://goo.gl/LpMEdQ

Singapore

Find out which Singapore bank leads in productivity; It has the highest income per employee at $538,805.
SBR
DBS and OCBC are the big winners in terms of productivity and cost efficiency, UOB Kay Hian said in a report.
https://goo.gl/fpZMPA

Cosmosteel notes 3 years of losses, at risk of joining SGX’s financial watch list
RACHEL MUI – Business Times
PIPING systems provider Cosmosteel Holdings on Sunday night said that the firm has recorded three consecutive years of losses and might be placed on Singapore Exchanges’ (SGX) watch list for failing to meet the bourse’s financial criteria.
https://goo.gl/g85Evn

Can Singapore fill up its empty homes?
SBR
The vacancy rate surpassed 8.4%, the historical average, amidst increasing supply.
Around 10,000 private homes are likely to be completed in 2018, but analysts wonder whether Singapore can absorb the surge of new property supply, PropertyGuru revealed.
https://goo.gl/L8ABL3

Vietnam

Vietnam Widens Crackdown Amid Public Outcry Over Corruption
Ralph Jennings – VOA News
Vietnam’s first move to prosecute a former politburo member widens the country’s crackdown against graft to appease a restless public and protect fast economic growth.
https://goo.gl/ZqtV4b

Thailand

BOT tipped to keep policy rate on hold
Somluck Srimalee – The Nation
THE Bank of Thailand’s (BOT) Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) will likely keep its policy interest rate on hold when it meets tomorrow, say economists, who also expect the committee will upgrade its economic growth forecast for this year.
https://goo.gl/achuZJ

Bonanza or bubble?
Bangkok Post
Please credit and share this article with others using this link:https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/news/1380891/bonanza-or-bubble-. View our policies at http://goo.gl/9HgTd and http://goo.gl/ou6Ip. © Post Publishing PCL. All rights reserved.
https://goo.gl/8vh27c

Taiwan

FSC warns banks on bitcoin trade;mSPECULATION:With lawmakers raising concerns about bitcoin’s rising popularity, the FSC said it would step up efforts to inform the public about the high volatility risks
By Ted Chen – Taipei Times
The Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) has asked local financial institutions to refrain from trading cryptocurrencies, FSC Chairman Wellington Koo (顧立雄) said yesterday.
https://goo.gl/RmTZHP

FTSE Russell Introduces FTSE4Good TIP Taiwan ESG Index
Mondovisione
FTSE Russell, the global index and data provider, announces the launch of the FTSE4Good TIP Taiwan ESG Index. The index has been developed in partnership with Taiwan Stock Exchange’s (“TWSE”) wholly-owned subsidiary, Taiwan Index Plus Corp. (“TIP”).
https://goo.gl/EcVNjr

South Korea

North Korea’s stolen bitcoins now worth more than $80M
By Eileen AJ Connelly – NY Post
North Korean hackers stole millions of dollars’ worth of bitcoin and other digital currencies earlier this year — which are now worth more than $80 million, South Korea’s spy agency said.
https://goo.gl/eYcR53

Philippines

26 dead in landslides after Philippine storm, say officials
Financial Express
Landslides triggered by Tropical Storm Kai-Tak have killed 26 people and 23 more are missing in the eastern Philippines, authorities said today. The deaths were reported in the small island province of Biliran, a day after the storm pounded the east of the archipelago nation.
https://goo.gl/zQNEg8

Malaysia

Praise for Malaysia’s economy and 2018 prospects
By Mushtak Parker – NST
AS far as endorsements go, it could not have come from a better source. The Malaysian government and its key monetary policy agency, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) continue to attract plaudits from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for their handling of the country’s economy and monetary policy.
https://goo.gl/V3MdLx

India

Bitcoins Legal Or Illegal in India? Ten Things You Must Know About Cryptocurrencies
NDTV
About bitcoin trading, the RBI apprised of five major risks. The first and foremost is that digital currencies, being in electronic format, are prone to losses arising out of hacking, loss of password etc
https://goo.gl/ZPcE9n

Pakistan accuses US of ‘speaking India’s language’
Financial Express
Pakistan on Monday accused the US of “speaking India’s language”, and said the two nations have “the same ideas” regarding the Jammu and Kashmir conflict.
https://goo.gl/Tj1WZN

FRDI: Grossly at Odds with the Indian Financial System
Sucheta Dalal – MoneyLife
The government’s penchant for painting all legitimate questions about its faulty policy-making as scaremongering or anti-national is getting rather irksome. Prime minister Narendra Modi (at the FICCI annual general meeting) and finance minister Arun Jaitley have both responded to fears over the implications of the Financial Resolution and Deposit Insurance Bill (FRDI Bill) , 2017, by lashing out at critics and reassuring people that the government will protect bank deposits.
https://goo.gl/rt7HbY

How should India regulate the ticking time bomb called bitcoin?
Rishabh Sinha – Quartz India
Regulators in developing countries around the world have repeatedly expressed concern against the trade of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin. The gold rush, however, remains unabated, attracting many retail investors, and most Indian cryptocurrency exchanges are struggling to meet the demand.
https://goo.gl/FcbF4h

Australia

Satellites Are Reshaping How Traders Track Earthly Commodities
By Aaron Clark and Dan Murtaugh – Bloomberg
Satellite launches have nearly doubled from last year: UCS; Space imagery analysis focuses on China’s oil storage levels
A lump of coal is scooped onto a truck bed in Australia, driven to a port, loaded on a ship, piloted across the ocean to a dock in China, piled into a train car and delivered to power plant. And it would all happen under the watchful eyes of coal traders, if a fleet of new satellite tracking firms can deliver on ambitious promises.
https://goo.gl/d2JsLa

No loans, big protests, naked models: Adani’s coal mine project in Australia has seen it all
Nupur Anand – Quartz India
Adani’s plans for the controversial Carmichael coal mine in Australia have received another blow.
https://goo.gl/cQK2Tt

Aussie data centre land grab heats up as Metronode sold to Equinix for $1 billion
Paul Smith, Sarah Thompson – AFR
The Australian managing director of US data centre giant Equinix said it is in a position to capture a bigger portion of the national market from rival providers after it sealed a $1.035 billion deal to buy Aussie provider Metronode on Monday.
https://goo.gl/fYXpBe

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About Author

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