Japanese online brokerage company SBI has ended a long venture with Chinese insurance company Ping An due to high fintech development costs and an increased concern with data security. (Finews)

Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. is in a strong position to purchase Citigroup Australia as a retail asset. The move would make ANZ number one in the Australian credit card business. National Australia Bank, a contender, would become number two if it did the deal with Citigroup. (Bloomberg)

Saudi Arabia may block overseas pilgrims from participating in this year’s Hajj in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus. The Hajj is the annual pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, that is mandatory for adult Muslims to complete once in their lifetime. Vaccinated nationals and residents, as well as those who have recovered from the virus six months before the pilgrimage, will be allowed to participate. (Bloomberg)

Major cocoa bean and chocolate producers in Ivory Coast and Ghana have reported progress in their efforts against deforestation. Ivory Coast reported satellite monitoring of forest areas, while both countries contributed to restoring forests by planting 10 million trees and restoring 226,000 hectares of forest. The Cocoa and Forest Initiative reports this is a good starting point in an industry that supplies 70% of the world’s cocoa and has lost up to 85% of its forest territory. (Bloomberg)

A proposed exchange between New Zealand Rugby and global private equity firm Silver Lake Management LLC has players and members of the New Zealand Rugby Players Association worried. An influx of money from Silver Lake (NZ$387 million) would help with the sport’s stretched resources. However, some are worried that Silver Lake’s 12.5% stake in revenue from the All Blacks brand will lead to the corporatization of the sport. (Bloomberg)

As U.K.-based Cairn energy moves to acquire India’s offshore assets after winning an arbitration ruling, India’s banks are seeing a sudden influx of dollars. The surge in dollar liquidity has caused a rise in premiums as high as 10%, prompting the Reserve Bank of India to urge banks to protect their dollar deposits. (Bloomberg)

The trading of cheap cigarettes in Caracas has become the new economic glitch in currency exchange. The hyper-inflated bolivar currency in Caracas is sometimes the only option that poorer citizens of the country have to pay for buses, gasoline, and grocery staples. The U.S. dollar has been locally adopted, however, many establishments offer major discounts just to trade in the government currency they so desperately need. Cigarette vendors exploit this system, using cheap tobacco as the middle man for a ludicrous currency exchange. (Bloomberg)

SBI Terminates Ping An Joint Venture Over Data Fears; Japan’s largest online brokerage SBI has ended a joint venture with Ping An Insurance over concerns about data protection.
SBI terminated its joint venture with Ping An, according to a report by Japanese news agency «Kyodo», due to unexpectedly high fintech development costs.

ANZ CEO Not Ruling Out Purchase of Citi Australia Retail Assets
Nabila Ahmed and Shery Ahn – Bloomberg
‘We will take opportunity when it comes,’ CEO Elliott says; ANZ’s 1H profit rose as Australia’s economic rebound builds
Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. is in a strong position to make acquisitions, according to Chief Executive Officer Shayne Elliott. Elliott didn’t rule out the bank’s interest in Citigroup Inc.’s retail operations in Australia, saying ANZ has capital to grow. ANZ and National Australia Bank Ltd. are among contenders in discussions over the U.S. bank’s assets, Bloomberg News reported on Tuesday.

Saudi Arabia May Bar Overseas Hajj Pilgrims Again, Reuters Says
Dana Khraiche – Bloomberg
Saudi Arabia may bar overseas pilgrims from the annual hajj for the second year to contain the spread of coronavirus, Reuters reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

West African Cocoa Giants Report Progress in Deforestation Fight
Leanne de Bassompierre – Bloomberg
Ivory Coast and Ghana use initiatives to improve forest areas; Cocoa has been a key driver of deforestation since the 1960s
Cocoa giants Ivory Coast and Ghana reported progress in goals to end deforestation as they prepare for stricter European Union rules on production standards of the chocolate ingredient.

Silver Lake’s Deal for New Zealand All Blacks Stokes Players’ Concern
Tracy Withers – Bloomberg
New Zealand Rugby’s ambitious plans to sell a slice of revenue to a private equity investor could be stymied by the nation’s leading players, who fear control of the iconic All Blacks brand may be lost. Silver Lake Management LLC has pledged to invest NZ$387 million ($278 million) into the game by taking a 12.5% stake in a new entity that will own the commercial revenue from the All Blacks brand. Last week, the provincial unions that govern the game gave New Zealand Rugby officials clearance to finalize the Silver Lake deal. But it still needs the consent of the New Zealand Rugby Players Association, which has expressed grave concerns.

India’s Currency Market Roiled as Banks Protect Dollar Assets
Suvashree Ghosh and Subhadip Sircar – Bloomberg
State-run banks are staying away from receiving dollars; Forward premium on dollar-rupee doubles over the past week
India’s foreign-exchange market is getting roiled after the government told state-run banks to protect their dollar deposits due to a tax dispute. Banks were told by the authorities to protect their dollar deposits on concern that U.K.-based Cairn Energy Plc will move to seize India’s offshore assets after winning an arbitration ruling, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Cigarette Vendors Are Currency Traders in Disguise in Caracas; Brands you’ve never heard of are excellent bolivar-laundering tools
Alex Vasquez – Bloomberg
Ibiza! Costero! Malibu! The cigarette vendors jog up and down the sidewalks and weave in and out of traffic, yelling out their wares. They sell a lot of brands you’ve never heard of on El Comercio, which has for years been cheap-tobacco heaven. But these days, not every patron is here for the smokes. The serious side-business on El Comercio is changing money—U.S. dollars for bolivars, the country’s ridiculously hyper-inflated currency.


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