Lead Stories

ASX selects distributed ledger technology to replace CHESS
Reuters Staff
Australia’s main bourse ASX Ltd on Thursday said it would replace its existing technology used to record shareholdings and manage the clearing and settlement of equity transactions in Australia, with blockchain developed by its technology partner Digital Asset (DA).

ASX Selects DLT to Replace CHESS – Media Release 7 December 2017

China’s financial sector opening raises prospect of talent war
Sumeet Chatterjee – Reuters
In the last two years, more than 30 global asset managers have been awarded licences to set up wholly-owned units in China as they sought a share of the country’s $1.5 trillion private fund management market.

China to further regulate financial markets
China will further regulate financial markets and get tough on illegal financial activities, deputy head of China’s banking regulator said Tuesday.

iFX EXPO Asia Conference to Kick off 2018 in Hong Kong
Finance Magnates
The largest trading event in Asia will take place January 23-25 at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre

Shanghai stock market sags on doubts over China’s ‘national team’; Beijing’s fight against systemic risk may spell trouble for state-backed share buying
China’s benchmark stock index slipped to a low not seen in three and a half months amid signals that Beijing will rein in the share purchases by state-directed investors that have propped up the market.

Broker, fund manager numbers hit record amid Hong Kong stock market rally
South China Morning Post
SFC says the number of brokers, fund managers and financial advisers hit 43,976 at the end of September, as the benchmark index rose 32 per cent in the first 9 months

Hong Kong’s Surging Stocks Are Too Hot for Beijing; Mainland Chinese regulators have moved to tamp down the city’s market, which has outperformed Shanghai, Shenzhen this year
By Steven Russolillo in Hong Kong and Shen Hong in Shanghai – WSJ
Chinese regulators have succeeded in cooling the mainland’s once-volatile stock markets this year. Now, their attention is turning to Hong Kong.

Exchange News

SGX reports market statistics for November 2017
Securities – Total Securities market turnover value was at S$28.5 billion, up 19% month-on-month (m-o-m) and down 3% year-on-year (y-o-y), over 22 trading days. There were 21 trading days in October 2017 and 22 in November 2016.
Derivatives – Total Derivatives volume was 18.0 million, up 21% month-on-month (m-o-m) and up 9% year-on-year (y-o-y).

Japan Exchange Group Joins the Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative
Japan Exchange Group, Inc. (JPX) has joined the Sustainable Stock Exchanges (SSE) initiative today as a partner exchange.

LCH’s SwapClear expands Australian Dollar offering
SwapClear adds Australian Dollar BBSW vs AONIA overnight basis swaps (AUD BOBs) to its cleared interest rate derivative product offering; Complements existing AUD product suite, builds on LCH’s leading position in the Australian interest rate derivatives market
First trades cleared this week; AUD is the 4th largest currency cleared at SwapClear, by notional cleared to date in 2017; Expansion is one of a number of recent product extensions at SwapClear
LCH, a leading global clearing house, today announced that it has extended its SwapClear service to offer clearing of Australian Dollar BBSW vs AONIA overnight basis swaps (AUD BOBs). With SwapClear clearing approximately 85% of the the AUD interest rate derivatives market today, this addition will enable members and their clients to clear AUD BOBs alongside their existing SwapClear portfolio of interest rate derivatives. This allows participants to potentially achieve improved margin efficiencies by recognising offsets between AUD BOBs exposures and other interest rate derivative exposures in SwapClear.

FinTech News

A Bitcoin Frenzy Like No Other Is Gripping South Korea
By Kyungji Cho , Yuji Nakamura , and Narae Kim – Bloomberg
Korean investors are piling in as bitcoin tops $12,000
Concerned regulators have formed a cryptocurrency task force
Like thousands of South Koreans, Moonsung Bae is infatuated by bitcoin.

Regulatory News

ASIC permanently bans directors of Found Financial for dishonest and deceptive conduct
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has permanently banned Matthew Manson Wallis and Rochelle Roanna Manoharan from providing financial services.

Investing News

China equities sell-off targets this year’s highest flyers; Investors are using year end to book profits on some of their best performing stocks
Emma Dunkley in Hong Kong and Edward White in Taipei – FT
Hong Kong-listed shares tumbled to their lowest level in nearly two months as a sharp reversal in large Chinese companies, led by Tencent, triggered the biggest broad market correction in a year.

In the World’s Strangest Bull Market, Most Stocks Are Falling
By Jeanny Yu – Bloomberg
Shanghai Composite’s gain has left a majority of shares behind; It’s a break with history and makes the gauge a global outlier
Every bull market is unique, but the one in China right now looks downright strange.

Move Over Tech. Here Come Southeast Asia’s Builders
Bloomberg News
$323 billion spending seen amid election campaigns next year; Infrastructure has been under invested, NN Investment says
Tech is so 2017. With at least $323 billion in infrastructure spending in the pipeline in Southeast Asia and potentially more expected over the next few years, 2018 could well shape up as the year of builders’ stocks from Indonesia to the Philippines that have been the laggards in a broader market rally this year.

Asia’s Booming Bond Market Leaves Distressed-Debt Investors With Few Options
By David Yong and Lianting Tu – Bloomberg
Noble Group is seeking to restructure $3.5 billion of debt; Keshik sees opportunities in ‘epic’ NPL cleanup in India
Asia’s booming bond market is leaving distressed-debt investors with few options to bet on for the new year.

China’s $160 Billion Energy M&A Binge Was Bad for Most Investors
By Ben Sharples – Bloomberg
Acquisitions over past two decades destroyed value: Bernstein; Chinese majors have $35 billion in cash to spend on targets
If history is any guide, investors in China’s biggest oil companies may lose out as a record $35 billion in cash is tapped for a fresh round of deals, according to Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. LLC.


BOJ’s Nakaso: Bank consolidation may enhance Japan’s financial stability
Reuters Staff
Bank of Japan Deputy Governor Hiroshi Nakaso said on Wednesday consolidation and reorganization of financial institutions could be effective in enhancing Japan’s financial stability.

Japan to Help Iranians Combat Dust Storms
Financial Tribune
In an effort to curb dust and sand pollution, Iran’s National Convention to Combat Dust Storms is seeking to use Japan’s successful experience in the field by implementing joint projects.

MonaCoin explodes 100% on Japan Exchange news
By John Rechtien – Oracle Times
Not sure we can say this enough but volume matters. What also matters is fiat exchange for coins. The combinations makes trading into and out of coins much easier and cheaper than wandering from exchange to exchange while waiting for Bitcoin transactions to process. MonaCoin (MONA) this morning was approved by the Japan Financial Services Agency to be added to 4 more exchanges today. In the last 24 hours MonaCoin has done more volume than Bitcoin (BTC) on Xtheta.

Japan Embraces the Robot Takeover
By Pavel Alpeyev and Katsuyo Kuwako – Bloomberg
While people fret about robots taking human jobs, machines in Japan are stepping in to fill vacancies amid the worst labor shortage in more than 40 years. That’s creating an opportunity for up-and-coming startups focused on automating warehouse tasks.

Mainland China

IS AN ALL-POWERFUL XI AND AN EMBOLDENED CHINA GOOD FOR SOUTHEAST ASIA?; Sceptics look to China’s imperial past as a warning about a possible new hegemon in the region
BY KARIM RASLAN – South China Morning Post
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Is China, under President Xi Jinping, Southeast Asia’s new hegemon?

As China’s Financial Sector Opens, Acute Talent Shortage Could Hinder Growth
By Sumeet Chatterjee
In the last two years, more than 30 global asset managers have been awarded licenses to set up wholly-owned units in China as they sought a share of the country’s $1.5 trillion private fund management market.

Caracas rift over unpaid debts
Jonathan Wheatley in London – FT
One of China’s biggest state-owned oil companies is suing its Venezuelan counterpart in a US court, in a sign that Beijing’s patience over unpaid debts is running out as the Caribbean nation falls deeper into economic and social chaos.

China’s Push to Trade Oil in Yuan Faces a Key Hurdle
By Enda Curran and Chris Anstey – Bloomberg
Proposal for a yuan crude oil futures contract gains attention; Success seen hinging on how much freedom officials will allow
China’s moves to set up trading oil in yuan have sparked enthusiasm about what could be a shift in the global financial system: a reduced role for the U.S. dollar. Players like Adam Levinson, founder of hedge fund Graticule Asset Management Asia, call it a “huge story” to come.

Hong Kong

Here’s why Chinese tech giants are choosing to list in Hong Kong
Maria Terekhova – Business Insider
Dianrong, the large Chinese fintech which offers a plethora of services, is planning to IPO in Hong Kong as soon as 2018 with the aim of raising a minimum of $500 million, according to people familiar with the matter interviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

China targets booming online lending as crisis fears build
Hong Kong Free Press
When Jia Xinru needed to borrow money to buy new clothes, order food and buy a projector to screen Breaking Bad on her wall, she had instant access to China’s growing number of lenders via her mobile phone.


Indonesia’s selfie-snapping monkey named ‘Person of the Year’
Financial Express
An Indonesian monkey who shot to fame after it snapped a grinning selfie – and sparked a landmark US copyright case – was named “Person of the Year” today by the animal rights group that took on the simian’s cause.

Stock Exchange Woos Millennials With Shows, Competitions
By Harry Suhartono – Bloomberg
Stock bourse wants to deepen institution-heavy investor pool; People aged 21-30 make up largest group of retail investors
Indonesia’s stock exchange is having trouble luring retail investors. Their solution? Target the millennials.

MUFG Expected to Begin Buying Danamon Stake Early Next Year
By Fathiya Dahrul – Bloomberg
Indonesia’s financial regulator sees first phase of deal soon; Japanese bank has expressed interest in buying Temasek’s stake
Indonesia’s financial regulator expects Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. to begin accumulating a stake in PT Bank Danamon Indonesia early next year, as Japan’s biggest bank expands in the most populous Southeast Asian nation.

Jakarta Promises Pain for Drivers as Vehicle Entry Fees Planned
By Karlis Salna – Bloomberg
City to start ERP plan in March 2019, once MRT is running; Provincial govt plans to offer project for tender next year
Drivers in the traffic-choked roads of Indonesia’s capital have been put on notice that using the city’s streets is set to get more painful.


Singapore financial firm introduces recruitment chatbot
Kelvin Ong – HRM Asia
Chatbots that can do more than answering employee questions about leave entitlements and pay matters are fast becoming a norm.

5 key Artificial Intelligence applications in the financial services industry
Samantha Chiew – The Edge Markets
Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based applications are making its way into every area of our lives today, playing very important roles.

Singaporean Gen Y finance professionals loyal to their employers
PR Newswire
A new study launched today by the Asian Institute of Finance (AIF) reveals that nearly half of Gen Y professionals in the Singaporean financial services industry (FSI) expect to remain with their current employer for at least three years or more. This bucks the prevailing stereotype which suggests that Gen Y employees are likely to be job hoppers with poor organisational loyalty.

Over $36 Million Worth of Bitcoin at Stake in Singapore’s First Ever Crypto Trial
Singapore International Commercial Court (SICC) has refused summary judgement, sending litigants B2C2 and Quoine to trial in order to sort out the gory details involving $36 million (at press time) of bitcoin. It’s a case bound to be watched around the world, as cryptocurrency begins to enter mainstream business life and establish legal precedence.


HCM City hosts forum to boost capital flows from China
The Shenzhen Stock Exchange and the HCM City branch of the Bank of China organised the China-Việt Nam capital co-operation forum on Tuesday to strengthen the financial links between the two countries.

US slaps duties on Vietnamese steel originating from China
Financial Express
The US Commerce Department on Tuesday slapped steep import duties on steel products from Vietnam that originated in China after finding they evaded US anti-dumping and anti-subsidy orders.


Jay Mart’s takeover target
Bangkok Post
The mobile phone vendor seeks to broaden its stake in direct seller and high-interest loan provider Singer Thailand, with an eye towards swallowing up the whole enterprise next…

First Bangkok Michelin Guide recognizes Thailand’s best restaurants
Tina Hsiao, CNN
Bangkok is no stranger to the Michelin Guide halo — in fact visiting chefs touting their overseas star credentials are a regular sight in culinary establishments across the city. Now it finally has a Michelin Guide of its own.

South Korea

South Korean Financial Regulators Ban Bitcoin Futures Trading
It appears that South Korea is bowing out of the race for bitcoin futures trading, leaving the field wide open to the Americans and Japanese. This is not because established financial companies are reluctant to offer the new instruments in the bitcoin obsessed country, but due to another official ban.

S Korea’s Samsung Heavy falls by a quarter on loss forecast; Bleak outlook from world’s third-biggest shipbuilder underlines industry slump
Song Jung-a in Seoul – FT
Samsung Heavy Industries shed more than a quarter of its value on Wednesday after announcing plans to raise Won1.5tn ($1.4bn) in a sale of new shares and flagging operating losses for this year and next.

South Korea to create ‘drone-bot combat unit’ to swarm North; Seoul looks to bolster defence against Pyongyang with weaponised drones
Bryan Harris in Seoul – FT
South Korea will create a weaponised drone unit to swarm North Korea in the event of a conflict as Seoul seeks to bolster its military capabilities against its nuclear-armed neighbour.

South Korea Hikes Corporate Taxes, Boosts Hiring for Public Jobs
By Hooyeon Kim and Jiyeun Lee – Bloomberg
Tax rate for top earning companies to rise to 25 percent; Budget includes plans to hire about 9,500 government officials
South Korea raised the income-tax rate for the nation’s highest-earning companies, as President Moon Jae-in seeks to fulfill his vows to fight inequality and create jobs.

South Korea Plans to Impose Income Taxes on Bitcoin Adopters
Samburaj Das- Cryptocoinnews.com
South Korea’s National Tax Service (NTS) is pressing ahead with a framework to enforce taxes on cryptocurrencies including bitcoin.

S Korea industry’s deadly conditions built on culture of cover-up; Job sites officially among world’s safest but death rates tell different story
Bryan Harris, Song Jung-a and Kang Buseong in Seoul – FT
When Yoo Jong-won describes the South Korean factory where he devoted two decades of his life, he conjures hellish images of black fumes and burning eyeballs.


Malaysia’s exports growth pace accelerates in October; Trade surplus widens the most in 19 months signalling robust external demand
Malaysia’s exports growth gathered pace in October thanks to stronger shipments of electronics and robust demand from China, widening trade surplus to the most in 19 months, official data Wednesday showed.


India to phase out ‘petcoke’ imports after AP investigation
The Associated Press
India’s government says it plans to phase out imports of a dirty fuel known as petroleum coke, or “petcoke,” after an Associated Press investigation found U.S. oil refineries are exporting vast quantities of the product to India.

$400 Billion Indian Asset Manager Plans to Curb Stock Buying
By Ameya Karve – Bloomberg
Share market at peak after 2017 advance, LIC chairman says; LIC wants to boost exposure to government bonds, Sharma says
India’s equities rally, which has made the market the region’s most expensive, is giving the nation’s largest investor a pause.


Australia’s stock exchange is moving to a blockchain style system for trade settlements
CHRIS PASH – Business Insider
Australia’s equity market the ASX has decided to replace its CHESS system to record changes in shareholding with distributed ledger technology found in blockchain.

Amazon Launches in Australia
By Gregory Dy – Finance.co.uk
While Amazon Australia did not open in time for Black Friday as rumours have predicted, the marketplace is live just in time for the Christmas holiday shopping season. On Tuesday, it started taking orders and offers free shipping across Australia for orders that cost more than AUD 50 which is about $37 US).

FinClear joins Australian third-party clearing market with Dion Global
Dion Global Solutions (Dion | BSE: 526927) announced that FinClear is live on their comprehensive front to back technology solution – TradeCentre™ and iBROKER. FinClear, the Australian clearing and settlement provider, is the only third-party equities clearer to be admitted to the ASX in two years.

Strong urge to give to others among the wealthy
by Mark Eggleton – AFR
The number of Australia’s high net worth individuals has almost doubled over the last decade and of those who have a will, nearly 36 per cent have included a charitable bequest compared with just 7.4 per cent of everyday Australians.

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