Breaking News

Asia Pacific Financial News from John Lothian News – December 19, 2017

Lead Stories

South Korean cryptocurrency exchange to file for bankruptcy after hacking
Reuters Staff
A South Korean cryptocurrency exchange said on Tuesday it is shutting down and is filing for bankruptcy after it was hacked for the second time this year, highlighting concerns about security as trade in bitcoin and other virtual currencies boom.
https://goo.gl/mmcpy4

China issues new code of conduct to tame overseas investors; New guidelines set out 36 dos and don’ts to bring order to booming sector
Frank Tang – South China Morning Post
Beijing has imposed a 36-point code of conduct for the country’s private enterprises to follow in overseas investments as the government seeks to clip the wings of China’s most aggressive global deal makers.
https://goo.gl/U7sHTK

China Says Trump Risks U.S. Leadership With Security Shift
Bloomberg News
Strategy speech perpetuates ‘you win, I lose’ mentality’; President accused Beijing of challenging American influence
China accused President Donald Trump of shirking the U.S.’s global leadership role, a day after his first national security strategy branded the country a “revisionist power.”
https://goo.gl/no4Ews

West grows wary of China’s influence game; Governments are worried about Beijing’s efforts to shape opinion of its authoritarian system
Jamil Anderlini in Hong Kong and Jamie Smyth in Sydney – FT
Malcolm Turnbull’s attempt to paraphrase Chairman Mao last week was not just a mildly farcical example of political theatre. It also marked an important turning point in a decades-long debate over how the west should respond to China’s rise.
https://goo.gl/ZtszwC

Tata Steel Seeks to Raise $2 Billion to Fund Indian Expansion
By Swansy Afonso – Bloomberg
Board approves plan to raise capital via rights offer; Company plans to raise domestic capacity by 5 million tons
Tata Steel Ltd. plans to raise as much as 128 billion rupees ($2 billion) in a rights offer to help add capacity in India, where demand for the alloy is forecast to triple in over a decade.
https://goo.gl/qJaf4C

Exchange News

SGX to report 2Q FY2018 results on 19 January
SGX
Singapore Exchange (SGX) is reporting its second-quarter (2Q) results for Financial Year 2018 (FY2018) after the market closes on 19 January 2018. The announcement will be posted on www.sgx.com and the results briefing will be held as follows:
https://goo.gl/CMD9uQ

Swiss Exchange Inks Asian Deal
Finews.Asia
Swiss stock exchange operator SIX agreed to a cooperation with a leading trading platform in Hong Kong in a bid to expand its business in Asia.
https://goo.gl/CQzi3z

FinTech News

SoftBank Leads $120 Million Funding in Fintech Startup Lemonade
By Julie Verhage – Bloomberg
Lemonade had raised $60 million prior to this new round; Previous backers include Google Ventures and Sequoia Capital
SoftBank Group Corp. is betting that technology can overhaul the home insurance industry by leading a $120 million round in Lemonade Inc.
https://goo.gl/dETVAS

Regulatory News

Japan’s FSA may reduce maximum FX leverage to 10 times
Reuters
Japan’s financial watchdog could consider reducing the maximum leverage currency margin trading platform operators can offer to investors to 10 times from the current 25 times, a senior Financial Services Agency official said on Monday.
https://goo.gl/XeevKz

Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission proposes new rules amid rising China players in fund industry; The SFC wants new rules to reduce risks and strengthen regulation of fund industry, which is flooded with mainland newcomers
Enoch Yiu – South China Morning Post
The Securities and Futures Commission has proposed a number of rules on fund houses and their custodians to address risks posed by financial innovation and strengthen regulation in Hong Kong’s fund industry which is flooded by newcomers, according to a consultation paper issued by the regulator on Monday.
https://goo.gl/Y8hcjH

Investing News

Bitcoin not a threat to financial stability, say European economists; Survey of 50 academics reveals majority are not worried about risks posed to mainstream markets
The Guardian
Bitcoin poses no threat to financial stability and is unlikely to rattle mainstream markets in the next couple of years, a group of leading European economists have said.
https://goo.gl/vVBaH6

Macau Casino Profit Poised to Surge
By Daniela Wei – Bloomberg
MGM and SJM will have new casinos on Cotai but are latecomers; Macau’s Cotai shift attracts higher margin leisure tourists
Macau, the world’s largest gambling hub, is on its way to seeing casino profits surge toward highs set before a Chinese government corruption crackdown drove wealthy high-rollers away.
https://goo.gl/DhxmTu

Japan

Bitcoin not yet proven as credible currency: Japan finance minister
Reuters Staff
Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso said on Tuesday that bitcoin has not been proven to be a credible currency and that he would watch its developments in the near-term.
https://goo.gl/TWbab9

Japan’s bitcoin trading platforms extend to Asia and beyond; Quoine eyes Filipino remittances; Bitbank mulls secure transfers to Africa
YUKINORI HANADA, Nikkei
Seeking fresh channels for growth, cryptocurrency trading platforms in Japan — the world’s biggest market — are branching out to other parts of Asia and beyond.
https://goo.gl/NVkoGW

Mainland China

China Unveils an Ambitious Plan to Curb Climate Change Emissions
By KEITH BRADSHER and LISA FRIEDMAN – NY Times
SHANGHAI — China is the world’s No. 1 polluter. It burns more coal than the rest of the world combined. It produces more than a quarter of the world’s human-caused global warming gases, nearly as much as North America and Europe put together.
https://goo.gl/Rz8mFC

China’s Scaled-Down Carbon Market Still Ranks as World’s Biggest
Bloomberg News
Initial program will be limited to the nation’s power sector; To cover 3 billion metric tons of emissions, 1,700 companies
The world’s biggest polluter is going to need the world’s biggest carbon market in its fight against smog.
https://goo.gl/oCX6aW

China needs to watch out for economic headwinds; World Bank predicts GDP growth of 6.8% for 2017, but warns of future ‘macroeconomic vulnerabilities’
By ASIA TIMES
China faces a period of slower growth next year after the World Bank revealed that GDP came in at 6.9% in the first three quarters of 2017.
https://goo.gl/NGjN8D

Asia Trading Summit 2018: What China’s Leading Event Has in Store; Don’t miss one of China’s biggest trading events of 2018.
Jeff Patterson – Finance Magnates
China remains an attractive destination for the industry, as Asian traders keep leading the pack in trading activity. However, this huge market can be bewildering, and finding credible partners and high-end clients is a considerable challenge. To address this industry need, Finance Magnates has partnered with premium Chinese FX news source, FX168, and Conversion Pros, to launch the Asia Trading Summit.
https://goo.gl/uDC7Ee

Trump’s Coming Trade War With China; The administration could be courting disaster if it relies too heavily on a punitive approach against Beijing.
By Atman Trivedi – The Diplomat
In the last few weeks, the Trump administration has unleashed what may be the initial salvo in a mutually destructive trade war with China.
https://goo.gl/JmuJcK

Trump’s Rivalry With China Overlooks U.S. Economic Reliance
By Andrew Mayeda and Saleha Mohsin – Bloomberg
New U.S. national-security strategy portrays China as threat; Economists say trade imbalance may be tough to address
President Donald Trump is breaking with recent U.S. convention by portraying China as a rival that wants to undermine American prosperity. But it may take more than an aggressive tone to change the complex relationship between two economies that are joined at the hip.
https://goo.gl/h1iFwy

Hong Kong

HK firm Convoy sues 28 officials for financial losses
Reuters Staff
A Hong Kong company identified as part of a network of penny-stock firms whose share prices crashed massively in June said on Tuesday it had initiated legal action against 28 defendants for causing the firm substantial financial loss and damage.
https://goo.gl/u3ZFS5

Indonesia

Bank Indonesia to nudge more people to open bank accounts
Christopher Jeffery – CentralBanking
Bank Indonesia is to increase its delivery of social assistance via electronic payments to accelerate financial inclusion.
https://goo.gl/Q3wzC1

Indonesia’s anti-money laundering efforts still ineffective: study
The Jakarta Post
The government has yet to show significant progress in preventing and eradicating money laundering and terrorism funding in recent years, a survey said.
https://goo.gl/9se5gh

Singapore

Singapore central bank warns against investing in cryptocurrencies
Reuters Staff
Singapore’s central bank issued a warning against investment in cryptocurrencies on Tuesday, saying it considers their recent price surge to be driven by speculation and that there is a risk investors could lose all their capital.
https://goo.gl/6tbCNP

1MDB scandal: Singapore issues more financial bans
Channel News Asia
Singapore’s central bank said on Tuesday (Dec 19) it has issued more financial bans in its 1MDB investigation.
https://goo.gl/nivemT

Singapore’s financial regulator warns on cryptocurrency frenzy
Business Day
Singapore Tuesday issued a warning about cryptocurrencies after a recent surge in prices sent investors flocking to bitcoin.
https://goo.gl/fris75

Bitcoin warnings grow more strident as Singapore urges ‘extreme caution’
Masayuki Kitano, Jemima Kelly – Reuters
Global financial regulators are beginning to warn the public against the risks of investing in a market that many feel is in a speculative bubble, with Singapore’s central bank on Tuesday urging “extreme caution” about buying cryptocurrencies.
https://goo.gl/DKrV7U

Vietnam

Vietnam’s Corruption Crackdown Is All About Protecting Its Economic Miracle
Ralph Jennings – Forbes
Vietnam’s export-led economy has grown at an enviable 6% or so since 2012 and shows no signs of stopping, if you listen to analysts on the ground. The country’s low costs and abundance of blue-collar labor help that expansion, which in turn is ballooning the middle class. Government incentives add to the enthusiasm of foreign investors, who now push out everything from shoes to smartphones.
https://goo.gl/qYPbVX

Vietnam orders prosecution of oil firm official in corruption crackdown
Reuters Staff
Vietnamese police have ordered the prosecution of an official at scandal-hit state energy firm PetroVietnam over financial losses, the Ministry of Public Security said on Tuesday.
https://goo.gl/j8yj8S

South Korea

South Korea financial regulator says ‘virtual currencies’ are not currencies
Reuters Staff
South Korea’s Financial Supervisory Service said on Tuesday it does not consider bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to be currencies of any kind and would not seek to regulate their trade beyond rules announced last week.
https://goo.gl/Voc5f6

Malaysia

World Bank lauds Mahathir’s capital controls that ‘saved’ Malaysia
By Cordoba.Ali – The Independent
IN a rare splash of praise, the World Bank has profusely lauded the Mahathir Mohamad government for its brainiac moves in the aftermath of the Asian Financial Crisis or AFC.
https://goo.gl/8P7Qto

India

China has India surrounded in their new Great Game; Nepal, Sri Lanka, Pakistan — Beijing is pulling South Asia into its orbit
YUJI KURONUMA, Nikkei
Think of South Asia as a giant Othello board. The squares are countries and slices of coveted territory. The players trying to cover the board with their black or white pieces are China and India.
https://goo.gl/oG2ick

Two years on, Modi’s Startup India plan is still mostly just that—a plan
Ananya Bhattacharya – Quartz India
Launched in January 2016, the Narendra Modi government’s Startup India campaign initially drew applause from both founders and investors. The tax exemptions, patent reforms, and incubation programmes under this scheme were aimed at encouraging budding entrepreneurs. A single point of contact, the Startup India hub, was also established for the entire ecosystem. The burdensome red tape was reduced, too.
https://goo.gl/T5JSEN

Facebook says data requests from India surged in first half of 2017
Financial Express
India, the largest audience country for Facebook, requested for data 9,853 times in the first half of 2017 – up from 6,324 times in the first half of 2016, according to a latest report by the social media giant.
https://goo.gl/Wr392t

Australia

A High-Wire Act Looms for Australia’s Central Bank
By Michael Heath – Bloomberg
Lowe faces prospect of first rate-hike since 2010 next year; Housing cooling as high debt, low wages remain key concern
Having subdued Australia’s housing market frenzy, Governor Philip Lowe now has to steer his way through the hangover.
https://goo.gl/35LfHD

1,226% Gain Makes This Stock Australia’s Top Performer
By Kanika Sood – Bloomberg
Big Un makes promotional videos for small businesses; Skeptics say company still needs to prove sustainability
The technology industry isn’t a heavyweight in Australia, but it has provided investors with a stock that has jumped 1,226 percent this year.
https://goo.gl/2Kgm5G

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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.