Lead Stories

Why bitcoin could trigger the next global financial crash
South China Morning Post
Cryptocurrencies like bitcoin are speculative derivatives with nothing to back them up, and that poses a danger to financial system

UN’s North Korea Envoy Deeply Worried After Trip, Diplomat Says
By Kambiz Foroohar – Bloomberg
Feltman visited Pyongyang after late-November missile test; Envoy says North Koreans aren’t ready to enter talks
The United Nations envoy to North Korea returned from that country deeply worried about the prospects for bringing an end to Kim Jong Un’s nuclear weapons program, according to a European member of the Security Council who was briefed on the visit.

Southeast Asia Internet Economy to Reach $50b
Financial Tribune
Digital businesses can’t afford to ignore Southeast Asia, according to a new report by Google and Singaporean state investment vehicle Temasek.

U.S., Japan Express Concern Over China’s Interest in Saudi Oil Giant; Officials urge international offering for Aramco, rather than selling a stake to Beijing, which they fear would boost its standing in Middle East
By Sarah McFarlane, Summer Said and Mayumi Negishi – WSJ
The U.S. and Japan have urged Saudi Arabia to pursue an international listing for oil giant Aramco, fearing the possible sale of a stake to China would give Beijing too much sway in the Middle East, people familiar with the matter said.

Asia-Pacific to remain most active region for new IPOs as Singapore retains hub status: EY
Wong Kai Yi – Straits Times
The Asia-Pacific will remain the world’s most active region for new listings in 2018, with Singapore retaining its status as a hub for Asean companies, EY said in a global report on initial public offerings (IPOs).

World Bank bats for ‘new social contract’ for East Asia
By Rene E. Ofreneo – Business Mirror
In recent years, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have been adjusting their neoliberal growth panacea for borrowing countries.

U.S. Finds Allies to Challenge China’s Trade Tactics
By Andrew Mayeda and Saleha Mohsin – Bloomberg
Europe, Japan join U.S. to target overcapacity, IP transfers; U.S. balances China trade actions with North Korea cooperation
The U.S. finds itself isolated in its efforts to temper support for globalization. It’s having greater success rallying rich countries to rein in a common rival: China.

Exchange News

Pioneering Komodo bond market launches in London
London Stock Exchange
London Stock Exchange today welcomes the listing of the world’s first Indonesian offshore rupiah-denominated bond – a Komodo bond – issued by an Indonesian State Owned Enterprise to its new International Securities Market. The landmark bond issuance from Jasa Marga, state-owned Indonesian toll road operator, was close to four times over subscribed. The listing paves the way, through London, for the opening of the global Komodo bond market to support Indonesian company and infrastructure financing.

FinTech News

Google launching artificial intelligence research center in China
Reuters Staff
Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) Google said on Wednesday it is opening an artificial intelligence (AI) research center in China to target the country’s local talent, even as the U.S. search firm’s products remain blocked in the country.

Techstars is launching its first accelerator program in Asia in partnership with Rakuten
Jon Russell – Techcrunch
Techstars is bringing its global accelerator program to Asia for the first time in partnership with Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten and its chat app Viber.

Future of the Asia-Pacific Biometrics for Banking and Financial Services Market
Questale published a new in-depth industry research that focuses on Asia-Pacific Biometrics for Banking and Financial Services market, delivers detailed analysis of market and future prospects of Asia-Pacific Biometrics for Banking and Financial Services market. The critical and significant data in the study makes the research a very important tool for experts, analysts and managers to get ready-to-access analysis by the industry professionals. The research is attached with substantial information in the form of graphs and tables to understand important market trends, drivers and challenges. The study is segmented by Application/ end users (Automotive, Electronics, Metal and Machining, Plastic and Polymers, Food and Beverages & Others), products type (Upto 5kg, 5~10 kg & Above 10kg) and various important geographies like China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, India, Southeast Asia & Australia.

Investing News


Behind bitcoin boom, Japanese retail investors pile in
Hideyuki Sano – Reuters
Japan’s army of retail investors, no strangers to high risk bets in the past, have emerged as a major force in bitcoin’s spectacular rally, now accounting for an estimated 30-50 percent of trading in the cryptocurrency as it spikes to record highs.

Trial of Japan-Korea Blockchain Payment System Set to Start on Friday; The blockchain-based system has the potential to cut transaction costs by 30%.
Arnab Shome – Finance Magnates
In an official statement, Japanese and South Korean banks have announced that they will begin the anticipated testing the blockchain technology with US blockchain development firm Ripplenet this Friday.

First serious incident for Japan bullet train as crack found
Financial Express
A crack has been found in a Japanese “bullet train” that could have caused a derailment, officials said today, in the first-ever “serious incident” for the iconic mode of transport.

Mainland China

Can China reduce its debt and still grow the economy in 2018?
South China Morning Post
Beijing will have to perform a tricky balancing act and make some tough choices next year, ratings agency Moody’s says

China Mobile launches UK service; Company has leased capacity from BT with eye on consumer and business market
Nic Fildes, Telecoms Correspondent – FT
China Mobile, the world’s largest telecoms company by number of subscribers, has launched a mobile phone service in the UK after striking a deal to lease capacity on BT’s network.

What Happens To China’s Economy If A Conflict Breaks Out Between The U.S. And North Korea?
Sara Hsu – Forbes
War exercises are afoot, just in case war breaks out, with North Korea and the U.S. at its center. China and Russia are stepping up preparations for potential North Korean conflict with the U.S. Both nations have embarked upon computer simulated anti-missile exercises as top North Korean officials meet at Mount Paektu to discuss the situation. The United States, Japan and South Korea are embarking upon missile tracking drills to prepare for potential North Korean submarine-launched ballistic missiles.

China authorities mandated to collect DNA from Xinjiang residents; Police in restive region gather fingerprints, blood types, DNA and iris scans
Emily Feng in Beijing – FT
Chinese authorities in Xinjiang have begun collecting extensive biometric data from residents aged 12 to 65 as part of an increasingly advanced state surveillance apparatus.

China’s rich kids splash out on tech; ‘Tech investing solves a problem for the country’s wealthy offspring — what to do with themselves’
Leslie Hook – FT
For young Chinese people of means, there is one label that no one wants attached to their name: fuerdai, or “the wealthy second generation”. In other words, rich kids. This privileged group faces intense animosity in China, where they are generally despised for their ostentatious lifestyles. (One social-media storm involved a young man who bought two Apple watches — for his dog.) They may often bring it on themselves but the fuerdai also suffer from a sense of aimlessness and being unable to live up to their parents’ success.

The Whole World Is Paying the Price for Cleaner Air in China
Bloomberg News
China’s anti-smog policies lifting global natural gas prices; Air quality in Beijing has improved by 41% so far this year
China’s war against smog is lifting prices for energy all over the world, according to analysts at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and the International Energy Agency.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong Finance Regulator Upraises the Legitimacy of Bitcoin Futures
The launch of Bitcoin Futures brought not only the escalation of its price but the hot discussions on the legal and regulatory requirements for that kind of contracts.


Indonesian tycoon back with $1bn rights issue; Barito Pacific’s Pangestu to consolidate geothermal assets under holding company
Indonesian billionaire Prajogo Pangestu, once known as “timber king” before shifting his focus to petrochemicals, is aiming to raise up to $1 billion through a rights issue to consolidate his geothermal energy business under a holding company.

World Bank: encouraging geothermal investment in Indonesia
Alexander Richter – ThinkGeoEnergy.com
Under its Country Partnership Framework for Indonesia, together with the country’s government, the World Bank is planning a new Geothermal Risk Mitigation Facility aiming to facilitate investment in geothermal power generation projects.


Singapore bourse clears first Dubai/Kuwait/India Sling LNG futures
Straits Times
The Singapore Exchange (SGX) has cleared the world’s first futures contract for liquefied natural gas (LNG) delivered to Dubai, Kuwait and India.

Singapore is getting even tougher on free speech and curtailing debate, says Human Rights Watch
South China Morning Post
‘People in a country that calls itself a democracy shouldn’t be afraid to criticise the government’

Everything you need to know about Singapore and Bahrain’s fintech relationship
Bahrain EDB’s Khalid Saad teases developments on the Singapore Fintech Consortium and other projects.


Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand launch currency settling framework
The central banks of Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand have launched a local currency settling framework designed to boost and facilitate trade.


Don’t look for foreign support for island’s cause, Beijing warns Taipei
South China Morning Post
Warning comes after mainland diplomat insists China will invade if US warships dock on the island

South Korea

Banks warned over North Korea’s complex finance web; Report highlights Pyongyang’s use of foreign banks to sidestep payment sanctions
Don Weinland in Hong Kong – FT
A new report from research groups in Washington and Seoul has highlighted the sophisticated ways that North Korea’s international finance network uses foreign banks to sidestep sanctions targeting the reclusive regime.

South Korea Considers Steps to Rein in the Bitcoin Frenzy
David Meyer – Fortune
South Korea will move to rein in the frenzy around bitcoin by banning minors from opening accounts on exchanges, and possibly by taxing capital gains from the trading of cryptocurrencies.

North Korea’s overseas financial network squeezed by US: Report
Straits Times
North Korea’s intricate overseas financial network is creaking under the strains of Washington’s economic screws on the impoverished nuclear-armed regime, a research report said.


Once coy, small-town Indian investors are now aggressively chasing the stock market boom
Nupur Anand – Quartz India
India’s conservative investors, particularly the ones in smaller towns, are milking the country’s booming stock markets.

India Probes Unregulated Bitcoin Exchanges After Valuations Jump
By Iain Marlow – Bloomberg
Official declines to give details citing ‘ongoing operations’; Government panel set up to decide stance on cryptocurrency
India’s income tax officials are investigating transactions at various illegal bitcoin exchanges, a week after the country’s central bank cautioned users of the virtual currency about potential risks.

Tax Investigators Raid Bitcoin Exchanges Across India
Investigators from the income tax department of India have conducted onsite searches at the offices of the country’s top nine bitcoin exchanges early on Wednesday morning.


Australia favours larger role for India in East Asia
Financial Express
After the US, Australia today came out in strong support of India playing a leading role in East Asia and said the security interests of both the countries are “congruent” in ensuring stability and openness in the Indo-Pacific region.

Chinese financial services giant eyes Australian expansion
BY EMMA RAPAPORT – Financial Standard
A Chinese financial services juggernaut, which is also the world’s most valuable fintech company, is extending its reach into the Australian market under a new partnership.

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