Lead Stories

Trump puts talks to boost China economic ties on ice; Treasury’s David Malpass says Beijing is not liberalising economy as hoped
Sam Fleming in New York and Shawn Donnan in Washington – FT
Donald Trump’s administration has put its main programme for bolstering economic relations with China on ice as it complains about the two countries’ swollen trade imbalance, and says Beijing’s efforts to liberalise its economy have gone into reverse.


What’s in Asia’s New Anti-Terror Financing Group?; A recently formed working group is just the latest step taken by regional states to confront terrorism financing.
By Prashanth Parameswaran – The Diplomat
Amid a busy few weeks of regional meetings in Southeast Asia, with the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit (APEC) in Vietnam and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and related summits in the Philippines, some may have missed the creation of a new Asia-Pacific counter-terrorism financing group that was announced last week. The new body, which was the outcome of a meeting held in Malaysia, deserves attention within the wider context of ongoing efforts by regional states to tackle a knotty aspect of the terrorism challenge in the subregion

China Bans Unlicensed Micro-Loans, Caps Rates to Limit Risks
Bloomberg News
Chinese authorities banned unlicensed lending and capped borrowing costs in its latest efforts to crack down on the country’s online micro-lenders as financial regulators zero in on risk in the soaring market for consumer credit.

Curb Bubbles Is Doing the Job
By Michelle Jamrisko – Bloomberg
Lending curbs biting in economies from New Zealand to Canada; Household debt remains dilemma with some levels still rising
Central bankers are starting to see promising results from one of the recent additions to their monetary policy toolbox.

Exchange News

HKEX to Revise Strike Intervals for its Most Actively Traded Stock Index Options
Revise strike intervals for HSI, Mini-HSI, HSCEI and Mini-HSCEI options from 22 January 2018; Aim to give investors more choices for trading
Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEX) announced that it will revise the strike intervals for its four most actively traded stock index options contracts – Hang Seng Index (HSI) Options, Hang Seng China Enterprises Index (HSCEI) Options, Mini-HSI Options and Mini-HSCEI Options – from Monday, 22 January 2018 (details are shown in the table below).

SGX: Listed Products Daily Turnover In November Averaged S$97 Million
In the month of November, SGX listed Structured Warrants, Daily Leverage Certificates (DLCs) and Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) generated a combined daily average turnover of S$97 million with Structured Warrants contributing S$74 million (+163% Y-o-Y) of the total.

Japan Exchange Group released Trading Overview in November 2017
Japan Exchange Group
Cash Equity Market – In November 2017, the daily average trading value for the TSE 1st Section (domestic common stocks) reached JPY 3.6648 trillion, a high in 2017.
Derivatives Market – In November 2017, total derivatives trading volume reached 38,131,495 contracts, a high since January 2016 and the highest record for November.

FinTech News

China’s AI dreams stymied by shortage of talent, with the US home to lion’s share of experts; Not only does the US lead in AI academic research, it has almost twice as many AI start-ups than China
Celia Chen – South China Morning Post
China is suffering from a serious shortage of qualified people to staff its ambitions to become a leader in artificial intelligence, part of a global mismatch as countries employ advanced computing sciences to drive the next stage of growth, according to a report released Friday.

Hong Kong and Switzerland Eye Fintech Deal
Hong Kong officials are poised to ink a fintech agreement with wealth hub Switzerland, finews.asia can exclusively report. The move follows a recent agreement with Singapore.

Regulatory News

ASIC bans Bell Potter Securities Ltd trader Damien Rodr from providing financial services
ASIC has banned Mr Damien Rodr, of Sydney, from providing financial services under s920A of the Corporations Act following an ASIC investigation into trading in the shares of DirectMoney Ltd (‘DirectMoney’; ASX code: DM1).

Investing News

US-listed Chinese financial firms drop as China sets new rules
U.S.-listed shares of Chinese financial firms slipped in premarket trade on Friday after Reuters reported that China’s regulators had circulated new rules to local governments to clamp down on cash loan firms.


Japan to boost financial support for vocational training; Program targets adults between jobs seeking to learn new skills
Japan will expand financial assistance for adults looking to gain new skills as part of its efforts to encourage recurrent education and reform human resource development.

Emperor Akihito of Japan to abdicate in April 2019; Date means 83-year-old will have waited almost three years to step down
Robin Harding in Tokyo – FT
Emperor Akihito will abdicate on the April 30 2019 and his son Naruhito will ascend to the throne the next day, bringing Japan’s Heisei era to an end.

It’s official: Japanese star Shohei Ohtani is open to MLB negotiations
Andy McCullough – LA times
The three-week recruiting frenzy to sign Shohei Ohtani, the enigmatic 23-year-old star from Japan, kicked off Friday afternoon when the 30 owners of Major League Baseball ratified a posting agreement with Nippon Professional Baseball and allowed the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters to make Ohtani available.

Explosion at Japan chemical factory kills one, hurts 11
Financial Express
At least one worker was killed and 11 others injured in an explosion and fire that broke out today at a chemical factory just a few kilometres from Mount Fuji in central Japan.

Mainland China

Renminbi global transactions share at multiyear low; Beijing’s ‘heavy-handed intervention’ in markets erodes currency’s international appeal
Roger Blitz in London and Hudson Lockett in Hong Kong – FT
China’s hopes of achieving global acceptance for the renminbi have been set back by data showing the share of international transactions in its currency at its lowest level in more than three and a half years.

China banking regulator targets ‘invisible shareholders’
Gabriel Wildau – FT
China’s banking regulator is preparing new rules to forbid “invisible shareholders”, a response to the widespread use of shell companies and proxies to disguise the true owners of major Chinese banks and other companies.

China, France to deep economic, financial cooperation
China and France Friday held the fifth High-Level Economic and Financial Dialogue in Beijing with fruitful cooperation outcomes.

Hong Kong

Like it or not, foreign banks will eventually leave Hong Kong and migrate to China
South China Morning Post
Foreign banks seeking to expand in China and are willing to bypass our legal system to work under Chinese law


It’s a ‘bit tight’: Indonesian organisers in Asian Games race against time
South China Morning Post
With less than nine months to go, earthmovers and cranes dot construction sites and plans for logistics remain hazy, pointing to a frantic build-up to the regional Olympics in August


$142 million in unclaimed prize money for 4-D, Toto and soccer bets in last 3 years
Straits Times
Did you claim your 4-D or Toto prize money? Many winners did not. Some $142 million in prize money was left unclaimed in its last three financial years, a Singapore Pools spokesman said. Singapore Pools is the sole legal operator of lotteries and sports betting in Singapore.


Breakingviews – Global giants see Vietnam through beer goggles
Clara Ferreira-Marques – Reuters
Global giants are looking at Vietnam through beer goggles. The young, hops-happy economy is alluring for big brewers like Asahi and Anheuser-Busch InBev. Traditional markets are as dull as a flat pint. But entrenched interests, tech-like multiples and the mixed experiences of early entrants should caution them to enjoy responsibly.

Uber signs partnership with Vietnam’s leading e-wallet firm
The Associated Press
Uber Technologies Inc. on Wednesday signed a deal with MoMo, Vietnam’s leading financial technology firm, enabling Uber riders to pay for trips using MoMo’s e-wallets in a country where most transactions are done in cash.


Asian investor holdings sky-high on SET
Total securities held by Asian investors reached an all-time high in May with a value of 1.68 trillion baht, driven mainly by a significant increase in securities prices after rallies in the stock market,…


New Taiwan-Philippines investment pact to include financial sector
Focus Taiwan
A new investment guarantee agreement between Taiwan and the Philippines that could be signed in the near future will broaden the scope of the original pact to include the financial industry, a source familiar with the matter said on Friday.

OwlTing Leads Taiwan’s Blockchain Awakening
The News Lens
As Bitcoin hovers around US$10,000, and the the Nasdaq Stock Exchange gears up to run futures contracts in the cryptocurrency next year, remarkable things are occurring in Taiwan’s cryptocurrency and blockchain community.

South Korea

Can South Korea lead regional financial governance?
Ramon Pacheco Pardo, King’s College London via East Asia Forum
Regional financial governance in East Asia currently lacks a leading power that can ensure the region’s future development. Neither China nor Japan command the necessary support in the region to assume a leadership role, and both often seem more interested in developing their own bilateral networks. Meanwhile, internal differences and capacity constraints have significantly weakened ASEAN’s centrality to regional governance. South Korea is best suited to fill this leadership vacuum.


Making the Philippines an archipelago for entrepreneurs 
The Philippines is a difficult environment for starting and growing a new business. It ranks as only the 76th best ecosystem for entrepreneurs globally and 14th in the Asia-Pacific according to the Global Entrepreneurship Index.


India rivals China for Asian M&A crown as financial services sector deals rise
By: Gary Robinson – InternationalInvestment.net
India rivals China for Asian M&A crown as financial services sector deals rise
India’s mergers and acquisitions boom has seen it challenge China for the title of the M&A capital of emerging markets, particularly in the financial services sector, according to analysis by M&A and debt advisory specialists Livingstone.

Onion prices rally in Asia as India restricts exports
Financial Express
Asian countries like Bangladesh and Malaysia are struggling to secure supplies of onions after the world’s biggest exporter India restricted overseas sales amid limited availability in the global market.

Bitcoin Not Legal Tender in India, Finance Minister Says
Sujha Sundararajan – Coindesk
India’s finance minister, Arun Jaitley, has clarified that the government does not recognize bitcoin as legal tender.

India, a case study in digital financial inclusion: Telecom Minister
ET Telecom
With over billion mobiles, 325 million broadband connections and 306 million new bank accounts, India has become a case study in digital financial inclusion, said Communications Minister Manoj Sinha on Thursday.

Nomura aims to reshape India’s financial sector with innovative solutions from Voyager programme for fintech startups
In another example of the growing collaboration between fintech startups and established financial institutions, Asian investment major Nomura’s Voyager – Nomura FinTech Partnership’ programme was launched in India in April. As part of the programme a Demo Day was recently held, where select startups showcased their innovative solutions for capital markets and investment banking.


Australia in plans to export colossal amounts of wind and solar energy to Southeast Asia
Climate Action
An international consortium of energy companies has presented its plans to develop a 6 gigawatt (GW) solar and wind hybrid project in Western Australia, designed to export clean energy to Indonesia through subsea cables.

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