Today, 16 Jul, Thursday
Trump signs Hong Kong Autonomy Act and ends the city's preferential trade status
US President Donald Trump signed an executive order ending Hong Kong’s preferential trade treatment on Tuesday, and enacting a bill that would require sanctions against foreign individuals and banks for contributing to the erosion of Hong Kong’s autonomy.
“Hong Kong will now be treated the same as mainland China,” Trump said in a news conference in the Rose Garden at the White House. “No special privileges, no special economic treatment, and no export of sensitive technologies.”
In a statement issued later on Tuesday, the White House said that it was treating “as advisory and non-binding” certain provisions in the act related to the waiving or termination of sanctions. Language in the bill approved by Congress gave lawmakers the ability to override sanction waivers by passing “disapproval resolutions”.
US announces visa restrictions for employees of Huawei and other Chinese tech companies
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday announced visa restrictions on employees of Chinese technology companies, including Huawei, in the latest Trump administration move against Beijing.
The US "will impose visa restrictions on certain employees ... of Chinese technology companies like Huawei that provide material support to regimes engaging in human rights violations and abuses globally," Pompeo told reporters at a State Department press briefing.
The top US did not elaborate on which employees would be targeted or how many people would be affected.
In an interview with local media later Wednesday, Pompeo added that the US is looking at limits on other Chinese tech companies as well.
"Whether it's TikTok or any of the other Chinese communications platforms, apps, infrastructure, this administration has taken seriously the requirement to protect the American people from having their information end up in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party," he said.
In a statement Wednesday, Pompeo said that certain employees will be ineligible for entry into the US "if the Secretary of State has reason to believe the alien's entry 'would have potentially serious adverse foreign policy consequences for the United States.'"
22hours ago, 15 Jul, Wednesday
Jack Ma sells $6 billion of Alibaba shares amid price surgeJack Ma, the founder and second-largest shareholder of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., cashed out more than $6.1 billion by selling down his holding in the e-commerce giant over eight months since the company launched its secondary listing in Hong Kong. Ma’s reduced his Alibaba stake from 6.1% in November to 4.8% as of July 2, the company’s filings showed. Alibaba did not reveal the average selling price of Ma’s divestment. During the period, Alibaba’s U.S.-traded shares rose 28.9% to $223.60 each. Alibaba’s third-largest shareholder and co-founder Joe Tsai also reduced his stake in the company from 2% to 1.6% between November and July, filings showed. The sales amounted to $1.7 billion for Tsai based on Alibaba’s average stock price during the period. Japanese conglomerate SoftBank remains the largest shareholder of Alibaba with 24.9%. That company also set plans to sell down its holdings to raise as much as 1.25 trillion yen ($11.7 billion) to ease financial pressures.
Trump administration drops restrictions on online-only instruction for foreign students
The Trump administration has rescinded its policy that would bar international students who only take online courses from staying in the US, a federal judge announced Tuesday in Boston.
The decision comes a little over a week after Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced that students at schools offering only online courses due to the coronavirus pandemic would need to either leave the US or transfer schools.
One person familiar with the matter told CNN the White House has felt the blowback to the proposal and that some inside the West Wing believe it was poorly conceived and executed.
According to another source, the White House is now focused on having the rule apply only to new students, rather than students already in the US. The White House declined to comment on an ongoing policy process.For now, though, the move to drop the policy is a reprieve for more than 1 million international students in the US. In the last week, students had expressed frustration and concern over their next steps, as universities and colleges announced decisions to move all courses online.
Apple removed more than 2,500 lucrative mobile gaming apps in ChinaSingularity Financial Hong Kong July 14, 2020 – Sensor Tower data showed Apple removed more than 2,500 lucrative mobile gaming apps in the first week of July, potentially taking a hit to service revenue as it adjusts to meet local laws. In a blog, mobile insights strategist for EMEA Craig Chapple said China had long been “the most lucrative mobile games market in the world”, generating an estimated $12.6 billion on the App Store alone in 2019. Last week, we reported Apple has blocked updates on tens of thousands of revenue-generating iPhone games on its App Store in China amid rising tensions between Washington and Beijing. The US company warned developers in late June it planned to begin enforcing longstanding Chinese licensing laws, which require companies to have government clearance to sell games in the country. China requires video games, either paid or offered with in-app purchases, to be submitted for review and obtain a licence before commercial release. Apple’s App Store continued to offer unlicensed games before July 1, which was reportedly the company’s takedown date. By comparison, the major Chinese Android app platforms had enforced the regulation since 2016. Sensor Tower noted many of the apps targeted by Apple had previously been released without approval. The company estimated the titles removed generated a total $34.7 million in lifetime gross revenue in China. The marketing manager for the consultancy group AppinChina estimates that Apple could now lose up to $879 million in lost sales. “Regulation over game licences will be stricter and stricter,” app tracking firm Qimai Data said in a report. “Some developers said that they had tried to spoof the licence check by using their PlayStation game licence, but got rejected. As such, there aren’t any loopholes left for developers to trick the system.”
US video games giant Electronic Arts released a notice last month that Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes will no longer be available in China.
Meanwhile, Chinese players of Marvel: Future Fight, from Korean developer Netmarble Corp, and Blackfire’s Runestone Keeper have taken to social media to complain about the sudden end of services for those games.
China – with more than 720 million gamers across mobile, desktop personal computer and console hardware – is projected to generate about US$36 billion in revenue this year, up from US$33 billion in 2019, according to Niko Partners.
Trump rejects ending Hong Kong Dollar peg as penalty to China
U.S. President Donald Trump decided against moving to undermine the Hong Kong dollar’s peg to the greenback as his administration seeks to punish China for infringing on the territory’s political freedoms, according to a person familiar with the matter.Aides at the White House and State department had weighed the possibility of limiting Hong Kong banks’ access to U.S. dollars as a way of striking back at Beijing, Bloomberg News reported last week. But they dropped the idea after advocates could not gather enough support, with those against the move concerned that it would be difficult to implement and could end up hurting the U.S., according to people familiar with the matter. The idea of breaking the peg was discussed with Trump on Monday afternoon and he rejected it, one of the people said.
Global voluntary carbon credit trading market insights report 2020 is hereThe voluntary carbon market has shrugged off the Covid-19 pandemic as corporate buyers stick to their climate strategies – but the role of offsets in meeting climate targets remains controversial. Syndicate Market Research has recently added the latest report, titled “Voluntary Carbon Credit Trading Market By Product Type (Industrial, Household, Energy Industry, Other), By Application (REDD Carbon Offset, Renewable Energy, Landfill Methane Projects, Others), and By Region – Overall In-depth Analysis, Global Market Share, Top Trends, Professional & Technical Industry Insights 2020 – 2026“, which examines the overview of the various factors enabling growth and trends in the global industry. The global Voluntary Carbon Credit Trading market report portrays an in-depth analysis of the global Voluntary Carbon Credit Trading Market that assesses the market size and market estimation for the predicted period. The leading performers of the Voluntary Carbon Credit Trading Market are profiled in the report along with the systematic details referring to their revenue, segmentation, earlier improvements, product segmentation, and a complete outline of their businesses. This report covers the impact of the corona-virus on leading companies in the Voluntary Carbon Credit Trading sector and also gives a comprehensive study of Covid-19 impact analysis of the market. This report includes market status and forecast of global and major regions, with the introduction of vendors, regions, product types and end industries; and this report counts product types and end industries in global and major regions. Some of the Major Market Players Are: Carbon Credit Capital, Terrapass, Renewable Choice, 3Degrees, NativeEnergy, GreenTrees, South Pole Group, Aera Group, Allcot Group, Carbon Clear, Forest Carbon, Bioassets, Biofílica, WayCarbon, CBEEX, Guangzhou Greenstone. Global Voluntary Carbon Credit Trading Market research report focuses on various developments, industry trends, growth opportunities, restraints and drivers that impact the growth of the worldwide Voluntary Carbon Credit Trading market. A new report on the Voluntary Carbon Credit Trading market delivers an in-depth understanding of the consecutive industry growth path of the along with the future scenarios and present situation of the market. This report offers an exclusive analysis and outlook of the worldwide market and also presents insights on regional and other important segments.
2days ago, 13 Jul, Monday
BlackRock is banking on Asia and more investors are buying Chinese bondsSingularity Financial Hong Kong July 13, 2020 – China'S bond market is gradually winning recognition from global investors, a trend accelerated by the renewed urgency in the global hunt for yield opportunities given the low interest rate environment, according to J.P. Morgan Asset Management’s (JPMAM) global fixed-income, currency and commodities group. Today’s China bond market has reached US$14 trillion after rapid growth over the past two decades, making it the second-largest fixed-income market in the world. Its low correlation to other global bond markets offers investors a good source of diversification, while the potential for relatively high risk-adjusted return makes it an attractive income generator in a world awash in negative yielding bonds. Wall Street Journal reports today (July 13), foreign investors are increasingly buying debt issued by the Chinese government for yields and safety. Foreign capital flowed into locally denominated Chinese government bonds in the second quarter at the fastest pace since late 2018, according to data from CEIC, an economic data provider. It surpassed 4.3 trillion yuan ($619 billion), the highest on record. BlackRock is banking on Asia, predicting that China, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan will outperform global emerging markets in the next 6-12-month period. It’s putting money on a Chinese recovery, which isn’t hard to see after the Chinese market surge this week on recovery data. Ben Powell, chief Asia Pacific investment strategist at BlackRock Investment Institute, told Bloomberg: “China of course still has got a meaningfully positive interest rate both real and nominal, which is relatively rare globally.”
4days ago, 12 Jul, Sunday
New coronavirus cases in U.S. soar past 68,000 and Trump is on maskSingularity Financial Hong Kong July 12, 2020 – According to the latest figures published by Johns Hopkins University, 12,589,749 cases have been detected worldwide, with 562,137 deaths and 6,919,392 people recovered. In the USA, there have been 3,225,721 confirmed cases and 134,580 deaths, with 983,185 people recovered from the virus. The United States on Friday reached 60,000 new cases for the first time, and the number ultimately soared to more than 68,000 — setting a single-day record for the seventh time in 11 days.
Trump dons face mask during Walter Reed visitPresident Trump wore a face mask during his Saturday visit to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, according to AP. This is the first known occasion the president has appeared publicly with a facial covering as recommended by health officials since the coronavirus pandemic began, AP writes. Trump refused to wear a mask in May while touring a Ford Motor Co. plant in Michigan because he "didn’t want to give the press the pleasure” of seeing him wearing the protective covering. Congressional Republicans have recently started to advocate for masks and aggressive testing for the virus coronavirus amid a surge in new cases around the country.
Trump, however, has declined to wear a mask at news conferences, coronavirus task force updates, rallies and other public events.
People close to him have told The Associated Press that Trump feared a mask would make him look weak and was concerned that it shifted focus to the public health crisis rather than the economic recovery. They spoke on condition of anonymity to describe private matters.
While not wearing one himself, Trump has sent mixed signals about masks, acknowledging that they would be appropriate if worn in an indoor setting where people were close together.
Samples of packaged frozen shrimp carried the novel coronavirus
Samples of imported shrimp carried the novel coronavirus, raising questions about whether COVID-19 can spread through food and frozen products.
China’s General Administration of Customs said COVID-19 was found inside and outside shrimp packaging, per Bloomberg. The samples came from three different plants. Imports were stopped immediately.
“The test result doesn’t mean the virus is contagious, but reflects the loopholes in companies’ food safety regulations,” Bi Kexin, director of the food import and export safety bureau for the department, told Bloomberg. “Customs will further strengthen control of the origins of imported cold-chain food.”
China flags shrimp as another possible COVID-19 carrierChina said samples of imported shrimp tested positive for the coronavirus, raising questions again over whether the pathogen can spread through food or frozen products. The virus tested positive on both the inside and outside of the shrimp packaging, said China’s General Administration of Customs. The samples were from three Ecuadorian plants, and imports from those processors will be halted, it said. “The test result doesn’t mean the virus is contagious, but reflects the loopholes in companies’ food safety regulations,” said Bi Kexin, director of the food import and export safety bureau in the customs department. “Customs will further strengthen control of the origins of imported cold-chain food.” China began mass testing of cold food imports at ports, and blocked shipments from meat plants abroad that reported infections among workers. China’s customs authorities tested a total of 227,934 samples and the rest of the samples were negative, it said. The shrimps that tested positive were delivered to ports in Dalian and Xiamen and have been destroyed, it said.
5days ago, 11 Jul, Saturday
California sues Trump administration over policy restricting international students at state collegesSingularity Financial Hong Kong July 11, 2020 – California sued the Trump administration Thursday to challenge new visa rules that bar international students from staying in the U.S. if they take all of their classes online, arguing it could worsen the spread of COVID-19 to require attendance in person. The lawsuit filed in federal court in Northern California is supported by leaders from the California State University and California Community Colleges systems and alleges that the new federal policy unfairly harms students and that campuses would suffer financially from the lost revenue. A similar lawsuit was filed by Harvard and MIT in Massachusetts on Wednesday. “It is a callous and inflexible policy that unfairly disrupts our more-than 10,300 international students’ progress to a degree, unnecessarily placing them in an extremely difficult position,” Cal State Chancellor Timothy White said in a statement. The Cal State system plans to offer primarily online classes this fall because of the resurgence of COVID-19 in California. The policy guidance issued Monday by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is also seen as harmful to California Community Colleges, at which some 21,000 international students are enrolled, according to Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley. “We will not sacrifice the benefit of the diversity of experiences and perspectives that international students bring to our colleges, nor will we sacrifice the safety of any student, faculty or staff member at our 115 colleges,” Oakley said. The lawsuit seeking an injunction to block the change in policy says the federal government failed to follow procedures for notice and comment for rule making, and it alleges the change will harm university budgets and endanger the health of college students and faculty if the schools are forced to hold in-person classes during the pandemic. “In addition to being cruel, Defendants’ attempt at a policy change to force in-person learning in the middle of a pandemic is absurd and the essence of arbitrary and capricious conduct in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act,” the lawsuit says. The University of California is separately planning to go to court to seek a temporary restraining order to bar enforcement of the new federal policy on grounds it violates the rights of the university and its students. More than 27,000 UC undergraduates last year were nonresident international students who could be affected. At the same time, USC has joined an amicus brief supporting a lawsuit filed by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that challenges the federal rules, USC President Carol Folt said on social media, adding that the university is “actively considering all other legal options.”
6days ago, 10 Jul, Friday
SoftBank energy arm to raise $600 million via offshore bondsSoftBank group’s SB Energy, the Indian unit for green energy business, is raising up to $600 million in overseas green bonds being launched Wednesday. This is the first ever offshore bond sale by an Indian private company since the pandemic began. Bonds will likely mature in five years, with the company using the proceeds for refinancing, three people with direct knowledge of the matter told ET. A small portion of the proceeds will also be used to fund expansions in the non-conventional energy space. SB Energy didn't respond to ET's queries, sent at a short notice. Bank of America (BofA) Securities, Barclays, Deutsche Bank, Mizuho Bank, Standard Chartered Bank are among the lenders helping the company raise the money. SB Energy Investment Ltd, a London-based subsidiary, would be the issuing securities certified as green bonds by Climate Bonds, an international certifying agency.
Singapore's MAS announced to extend ILS grant scheme to end of 2022The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has extended its insurance-linked securities (ILS) grant scheme to the end of 2022, as Singapore looks to build on recent positive momentum and attract more catastrophe bond issuers to its shores. Launched in February 2018 to encourage ILS issuances in Singapore and to develop the region as Asia’s leading hub for ILS business, the ILS grant scheme funds 100% of certain upfront issuance costs of catastrophe bonds in Singapore. “The Singapore exchange is assessing the feasibility of introducing a platform for the listing of catastrophe bonds. We are also keen to grow a vibrant ILS ecosystem based in Asia, to service Asian risks and clients, including structurers / arrangers, modelling firms, lawyers, advisors, loss reserve specialists, and ILS fund managers,” said Mr. Benny Chey, Assistant Manager Director (Development and International) at the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).
Vanguard expands ESG suite with launch of first fixed income ESG etf for U.S. investorsVanguard today filed a preliminary registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission to launch Vanguard ESG U.S. Corporate Bond ETF. The fund is expected to launch in September and Vanguard's Fixed Income Group will serve as the fund's advisor. The low-cost, broadly diversified ETF will be Vanguard's first ESG-focused fixed income product for U.S. investors and complements Vanguard's existing equity ESG ETFs and mutual funds. "Vanguard's new U.S. ESG bond fund illustrates our commitment to providing investors with quality investment products and the ability to construct a portfolio that reflects their values," said Kaitlyn Caughlin, head of Vanguard's Portfolio Review Department. "Investors in this fund will benefit from our leading fixed income indexing capabilities, a low expense ratio, and robust screening process, all in an accessible and diversified manner." ESG investing continues to gain traction around the world. U.S. investors hold more than $321 billion in assets in ESG mutual funds and ETFs and industry-wide assets for the fixed income indexed market doubled in 2019 to approximately $1.3 billion. Vanguard ESG U.S. Corporate Bond ETF will complement Vanguard's existing $10.6 billion U.S. equity ESG product suite and offer a diverse fixed income option for investors.
Fauci says U.S. states with major outbreaks should seriously look at shutting down again
Fauci added Thursday that he hopes there’s not a need for new shutdowns, saying it “would not be viewed very, very favorably,” and urged states to pause their reopening process to slow the spread of the virus so that renewed shutdowns are not necessary.
With coronavirus infections soaring across the United States, hospitals in hot spot states are on the verge of becoming overwhelmed. Personal protective equipment is once again in short supply, and intensive care units in many areas are approaching capacity.
Reuters: Chinese banks prepare contingency plans over threat of U.S. sanctions, sources sayOn Thursday (July 9) Reuters put up an report, Chinese state lenders are revamping contingency plans in anticipation of U.S. legislation that could penalise banks for serving officials who implement the new national security law for Hong Kong, sources at five state financial institutions said. Reuters' reporters wrote, "In worst-case scenarios under consideration by the Bank of China and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), the lenders are looking at the possibility of being cut off from U.S. dollars or losing access to U.S. dollar settlements, two sources said." "We are hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst. You never know how things will turn out," one of the sources said. According to three of the sources from Reuters, the contingency planning has been initiated by the banks themselves. Bank of China, the country's most international lender, had the biggest exposure of the country's big four lenders to the greenback at the end of 2019, with about $433 billion in liabilities. China's top four banks, which also include ICBC, China Construction Bank and AgBank, had a combined 7.5 trillion yuan ($1 trillion) in U.S. dollar liabilities at the end of 2019, annual reports show. Report's sources also said that at least three state-run leasing firms, including an ICBC unit and CSIC Leasing, are also making contingency plans. Leasing firms are often heavily reliant on dollar borrowing to fund purchases of aircraft, machinery and facilities."
7days ago, 9 Jul, Thursday
New York Regulator Fines Deutsche Bank for AML FailuresSingularity Financial Hong Kong July 9, 2020 – New York Regulator Fines Deutsche Bank for AML Failures By Regulation Asia Deutsche Bank has been fined $150mn for its dealings with known sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein and its correspondent banking relationships with Danske Bank Estonia and FBME Bank. New York’s DFS (Department of Financial Services) has fined Deutsche Bank USD 150 million for “significant compliance failures” in connection with the bank’s relationship with known sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein and correspondent banking relationships with Danske Bank Estonia and FBME Bank. With respect to Jeffrey Epstein, Deutsche Bank failed to properly monitor account activity conducted on his behalf despite ample publicly available information concerning his earlier criminal misconduct. As a result, the bank processed hundreds of transactions totaling millions of dollars “that, at the very least, should have prompted additional scrutiny in light of Mr. Epstein’s history.” The transactions included payments to alleged co-conspirators in sexually abusing young women, settlement payments totaling over USD 7 million, over USD 6 million in payments for legal expenses, payments to Russian models and related expenses, and suspicious cash withdrawals. These failures were compounded by “a series of procedural failures, mistakes, and sloppiness” in how Deutsche Bank managed, oversaw and monitored the Epstein accounts. Between August 2013 until December 2018, Deutsche Bank is said to have handled more than 40 accounts related to Epstein and related people and entities. “Throughout the relationship, very few problematic transactions were ever questioned, and even when they were, they were usually cleared without satisfactory explanation,” DFS said. The DFS consent order points to April 2013 internal Deutsche Bank communications describing 2007 charges against Epstein for soliciting an underage prostitute, for which he served 13 months in jail and was involved in 17 out-of-court civil settlements. Despite this, Epstein was cleared to be onboarded by the bank. “We acknowledge our error of onboarding Epstein in 2013 and the weaknesses in our processes, and have learnt from our mistakes and shortcomings,” a Deutsche Bank spokesperson said this week. “Immediately following Epstein’s arrest, we contacted law enforcement and offered our full assistance with their investigation.” With respect to Danske Estonia, which is “at the centre of one of the world’s largest money laundering scandals”, Deutsche Bank was repeatedly put on notice of the bank’s “inherent control failures that resulted in large quantities of money being moved on behalf of Russian oligarchs”. Although Deutsche Bank assigned its highest possible risk rating to Danske Estonia, it failed to take appropriate action to prevent the bank from transferring billions of dollars of suspicious transactions through Deutsche Bank accounts in New York. With respect to FBME, Deutsche Bank failed to act on red flags concerning its correspondent banking relationship, despite considering FBME to be a high-risk client that required annual enhanced AML checks. Despite the checks, FBME did not improve the quality of its controls and was eventually barred by the US Treasury Department’s FinCEN from doing business with US banks. “By that point, Deutsche Bank was the last major Western bank with a correspondent banking relationship with FBME,” DFS said. A copy of the consent order is available here. Original Source: https://www.regulationasia.com/new-york-regulator-fines-deutsche-bank-for-aml-failures/
KKR to Acquire a Controlling Stake in J.B. Chemicals & PharmaceuticalsGlobal investment firm KKR today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to purchase a controlling stake in J.B. Chemicals & Pharmaceuticals Ltd. (NSE: JBCHEPHARM) (“J.B. Chemicals” or “the Company” or “JBCPL”), one of the leading Indian pharmaceutical companies specializing in branded formulations. As part of the agreement, KKR will acquire its stake from the founding Mody family at a purchase price of INR 745 per share and make an open offer for an additional 26% of the Company. Details of the open offer will be disclosed at the appropriate time. J.B. Chemicals is one of the leading pharmaceutical companies in India, supplying affordable, high-quality products in the cardiac, gastrointestinal and anti-infective therapeutic areas across the branded formulations market. The Company’s portfolio includes four flagship brands in India, Cilacar, Metrogyl, Nicardia and Rantac. The Company currently exports its branded formulations to more than 40 countries around the world. J.B. Chemicals’ contract manufacturing capabilities also allow it to partner with large, international brands to develop a diverse range of innovative specialty products, including tablets, injectables, creams and ointments, lozenges, herbal liquids and capsules. J.B. Mody, Founder, Chairman and Managing Director of J.B. Chemicals, said, “For more than four decades, J.B. Chemicals’ mission has been to deliver affordable, high-quality pharmaceutical products that improve the lives of individuals living in India and around the world. We are thrilled that KKR – with its deep knowledge of the pharmaceutical industry and experience in investing in the sector, as well as its extensive investments in India – will take our mission forward and build on the foundation of core values that our family has instilled in this company. This will also create growth opportunities for our people to progress.” Sanjay Nayar, Partner and CEO of KKR India, said, “We are pleased that the promoters of J.B. Chemicals have selected us to take over their rich legacy and to help the company continue its expansion, which is clearly driven by its diversified product portfolio and state-of-the-art manufacturing capabilities. We believe J.B. Chemicals has an opportunity to accelerate its growth and leverage its strengths to enter into new therapeutic areas. We look forward to working with the management team to build on the company’s strong foundation, and believe this investment underscores KKR’s ongoing commitment to India’s long-term economic prospects and the potential of its companies.” KKR has a long track record of supporting companies in the pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors globally. In India, KKR’s pharmaceutical and healthcare investments include Max Healthcare and Radiant Life Care, which collectively comprise the largest hospital network in North India. KKR has also previously invested in Gland Pharma, an Indian pure-play generic injectable pharmaceutical products company that was the first company in India to get US Food and Drug Administration approval for pharmaceutical liquid injectable products. KKR will fund this investment from Asian Fund III. The transaction is subject to regulatory and other customary approvals. Avendus Capital served as financial advisor to the Promoters of J.B. Chemicals, and Platinum Partners (Mumbai) acted as legal counsel. Moelis & Company served as financial advisor, EY as accounting and tax diligence advisor, and Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co. and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP acted as legal counsel to KKR. ICICI Securities Limited will be acting as the manager to the public tender offer.
American, United stop flying to Hong Kong amid crew testing requirementsSingularity Financial Hong Kong July 9, 2020 – United Airlines and American Airlines have temporarily halted flights to Hong Kong after its government imposed coronavirus testing requirements for airline crews. Hong Kong’s Centre for Health Protection has said that as of Wednesday, incoming crews will be subject to the collection of “deep throat saliva specimens,” and any person refusing to be tested will be subject to a fine and imprisonment. If a crew member tests positive, “hospital admission will be arranged as soon as possible.” United said it suspended its service to and from Hong Kong through July 10.
American is halting flights to Hong Kong until Aug. 5.
In a statement, United said a flight between San Francisco and Hong Kong that had been scheduled for Wednesday was canceled because of “recent changes in testing protocol” at Hong Kong International Airport. It added that “We are currently assessing how this impacts our future operations.”
Earlier this week, United said it planned to resume service between Chicago and Hong Kong starting in September.American Airlines pilots’ labor union, the Allied Pilots Association, said it discussed concerns about the testing requirements with management.
TikTok's 800 million users face more headwind using the social media platformSingularity Financial Hong Kong July 8, 2020 – TikTok, which is not downloadable in China, was taken down from the Google PlayStore and the Apple App Store in India and is going to be removed from Hong Kong within days, many U.S. officials, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, are floating the idea of restricting use of the video sharing platform in the United States. TikTok, a social media application that allows individuals to create and upload short videos to be shared across its network, has been downloaded over 2 billion times since it was launched in China under the name Douyin in 2016. TikTok, which operates outside of China, is nonetheless owned and operated by a Chinese-based company, ByteDance, founded by 35-year-old Zhang Yiming. ByteDance, currently valued at approximately $75 billion, recently hired former Disney executive Kevin Mayer as CEO of TikTok and COO of ByteDance. At the core of the issues are questions about TikTok user data privacy, particularly given concerns about the Chinese government’s influence over economic and business interest in mainland China, and increasingly in Hong Kong. U.S. Secretary State Pompeo said in an interview on Fox News that the U.S. is “certainly looking” at restricting the use of TikTok and other Chinese-owned social media apps in the U.S. There are currently over 800 million users on TikTok, of which 39.6 million users are in the United States. Advertisers are also taking note of the powerful influence TikTok has on its users. With over 25% of its U.S. users in the lucrative 16-24 age range, the influencer engagement statistics, as calculated by Influencer Marketing Hub, substantially exceed other social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook.
TikTok would pull out of Hong Kong's Apple and Google app stores within days
TikTok, the popular short video app, said it would pull out of Hong Kong’s Apple and Google app stores within days.
TikTok is owned by Beijing-based ByteDance, the world’s most valuable start-up. Last August, the app reported having 150,000 users in Hong Kong. Zhang Nan, chief executive of ByteDance China, on Tuesday said TikTok’s Chinese version, Douyin, would continue to provide services to Hong Kong users.According to report from South China Morning Post, Google, Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, Telegram and LinkedIn are hitting pause on processing law enforcement requests for user data. Under the sweeping national security law, police no longer require a warrant from a magistrate to ask internet companies to hand over user data if there are “reasonable grounds” to suspect that, for example, a delay caused by the warrant application might defeat the purpose of obtaining the data.
Citi creates new team of bankers for‘fast growing demand’in ESG bondsCitigroup has created a new team of bankers dedicated to generating sustainable bonds as the US investment bank continues its push into environmental and sustainable banking, which it says will surge in the wake of the coronavirus crisis. Senior dealmakers in London, New York and Hong Kong have been shifted into the new team, called global sustainable debt capital markets, according to a memo sent to staff seen by Financial News.Philip Brown, head of Citi's public sector DCM business, has been handed responsibility for the new unit, the memo said, which was created in response to "fast-growing demand from our clients for socially responsible DCM solutions". Other bankers on the team include London-based Sanaa Mehra as well as Amanda Boggs, a managing director in New York and Celine Pastor in Hong Kong.
Reuters reported that Ant Financial was seeking a Hong Kong IPOU.S. traded shares of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. rallied Wednesday and closed up 9% at $257.68 following a report that the Chinese e-commerce giant plans an initial public offering for Ant Financial Services Group. On Tuesday, Reuters reported that Alibaba was seeking a Hong Kong IPO for Ant that would value the fintech segment at more than $200 billion, between 5% and 10% of its shares in an initial public offering, and one of the world’s biggest listings this year. According to the report, Ant had been looking to sell shares in Hong Kong and mainland China simultaneously, but is now leaning heavily towards the Asian financial hub first because it would probably face a smoother listing process, the sources and a third person with knowledge of the matter said. Reuters also reported, however, that Ant said information about its IPO plans was incorrect while Alibaba had yet to respond for a comment.
Ride-hailing giant DiDi joins China's digital yuan project
Ride-Hailing giant, DiDi, the Chinese equivalent of Uber, will pilot the nation's digital yuan, a major Ethereum alliance is moving to support DeFi as Nexo readies to enter the prime brokerage space with a Chainlink integration.According to an announcement, the company has entered into “a strategic partnership” with the Digital Currency Research Institute of the People’s Bank of China (the PBoC). Together, DiDi and the PBoC’s think tank will reportedly work to bring the DC/EP solution to the former’s large-scale transportation network, which DiDi also refers to as “the world’s largest one-stop on-demand transportation platform.” The statement reads: “Under PBOC’s overall DCEP strategy and operation timeline, DiDi's DCEP taskforce will design and implement pilot DCEP projects in accordance with rigorous safety, security and governance standards.” DiDi claims to have 550 million users across Asia, Latin America and Australia. Its services mainly include public transportation and food delivery, while the company’s latest reported plans are to create an autonomous vehicles subsidiary and release more than one million self-driving cars by 2030. In late June, the former vice-chair of the PBoC’s National Council for Social Security Fund, Wang Zhongmin, announced that the backend architecture development of China’s CBDC has been completed. Nevertheless, there is still no official launch date for the CDBC despite the pilot test being carried out in various locations including the cities of Shenzhen, Suzhou, Xiongan new area, Chengdu and the future site of the winter Olympics.
1week ago, 8 Jul, Wednesday
Trump aides weighed proposals to undermine Hong Kong’s dollar peg: BloombergU.S. President Donald Trump’s top advisers weighed proposals to undermine the Hong Kong currency’s peg to the U.S. dollar, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday, citing people familiar with the matter, although the idea did not appear to gain traction. The proposal to strike against the Hong Kong dollar peg, possibly by limiting the ability of Hong Kong banks to buy U.S. dollars, was raised as part of broader discussions among advisers to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, it added. Other administration members pushed back against the proposal, worrying that such a move would only hurt Hong Kong banks and the United States, not China, sources told Bloomberg.
ICMA publishes Chinese translation of Sustainable finance: High-level definitionsSingularity Financial Hong Kong July 8, 2020 – ICMA publishes Chinese translation of Sustainable finance: High-level definitions (Source: ICMA Press Release) Sustainability has become a mainstream consideration for the financial sector. There is however a need for convergence on terminology among market participants and wider stakeholders. In the original English-language Definitions from May 2020, ICMA proposed high-level definitions building on current market usage and existing official sector terminology for the most commonly used terms in the sustainable finance field, for example climate finance, impact finance, green finance and social finance. The objective is to help all participants and stakeholders to use a common and transparent vocabulary. It is also designed as a contribution to other ongoing efforts in the financial industry to develop a consensus around key terms and definitions in sustainable finance. The Definitions is the second publication from ICMA’s Sustainable Finance Committee, which brings together representatives from various ICMA committees, including our buy-side, corporate issuer and legal and documentation committees, as well as the Executive Committee of the Green Bond Principles and Social Bond Principles, to address cross-cutting sustainable finance developments. Download the Chinese translation of Sustainable Finance: High-level definitions Also available are Chinese translations of the Green Bond Principles, the Social Bond Principles (2018 edition), and the Sustainability Bond Guidelines (2017 edition). International Capital Market Association (ICMA) ICMA is the trade association for the international capital market with around 600 member firms from more than 60 countries, including banks, issuers, asset managers, central banks, infrastructure providers and law firms. It performs a crucial central role in the market by providing industry-driven standards and recommendations for issuance, trading and settlement in international fixed income and related instruments. ICMA liaises closely with regulatory and governmental authorities, both at the national and supranational level, to help to ensure that financial regulation promotes the efficiency and cost effectiveness of the capital market. ICMA provides the secretariat for the Green Bond Principles and Social Bond Principles.
Hedge fund Marshall Wace plans to raise $1 billion to invest in stocks with strong ESGSingularity Financial Hong Kong July 7, 2020 – Hedge fund Marshall Wace plans to raise $1 billion for a fund that will invest in stocks with strong environmental, sustainability and governance (ESG) ratings while betting against stocks with poor ratings, according to a source familiar with the matter. Its new ESG investment strategy will form part of Marshall Wace's proprietary investment strategy known as TOPS, in which the firm trades stocks based on ideas generated from hundreds of "sell-side" organizations, including independent research firms. Funds totaling $19 billion are under the TOPS umbrella, part of the firm's $43.8 billion in assets under management. The new strategy is the latest sign that investors increasingly believe markets will punish companies that aren’t environmentally or ethically conscious while rewarding those that are. Last year net flows into sustainable funds available to US investors totaled $20.6 billion, nearly four times the net inflows of 2018, according to financial data provider Morningstar. Inflows into sustainable funds in Europe were even higher, topping €120 billion or twice that from 2018, according to a separate Morningstar analysis. Investors could be taking their cues from governments’ and corporations’ growing focus on curbing emissions of planet-warming greenhouse gases, a focus that has only intensified this year. Contrary to expectations a few months ago, many countries are responding to the economic shock of Covid-19 not by shedding climate obligations but by doubling down on them. Europe has arguably gone furthest, last month unveiling a plan to raise €750 billion on capital markets for long-term climate investments.
1week ago, 7 Jul, Tuesday
China O2O new retail unicorn KK Group raises US$141 million led by CMC CapitalSingularity Financial Hong Kong July 7, 2020 – Chinese new retail enterprise KK Group, formerly known as KKguan, has recently completed a new round of financing worth approximately RMB1 billion (US$141.6 million) led by CMC Capital. BA Capital, INCE Capital and some existing investors such as Aplus Capital also participated. KK Group was launched in April 2015. It adopts an “online+offline store business model”, covering three main categories of products: food and snacks, beauty and skin care products, and general merchandises. The company has overseas cooperative warehouses in Japan, South Korea, Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States and other regions, and has opened franchise stores in more than 30 cities across China. It is worth noting that this is KK Group’s third large financing since 2019. In March and October of last year, it raised a RMB400 million series C round and a US$100 million series D round financing, respectively. At the same time, KKguan, the predecessor of KK Group, was officially upgraded to KK Group. After that largest fundraising, valued over US$1 billion, a new unicorn in the retail sector was brought into being. To a large extent, this indicates the upsurge in the field of consumer upgrade. Since the beginning of 2020, even though the Chinese venture capital market has always been shrouded in the COVID-19 epidemic, consumer sector has maintained a staggering and strong vitality. Companies in consumer upgrade sector such as HEYTEA, POP MART, Miss Fresh, and Nayuki have successively raised venture capital. In the past 20 years of China’s venture capital process, although consumer investment has been an eternal theme, there has never been such a large and intensive investment boom, and the previous consumer-oriented funds were mostly mid- to late-stage investors. Statistics show that in 2019, the “capital winter” year, there were still 477 VC deals in the consumer field, with a total financing amount of more than RMB50 billion. With the emergence of new marketing methods such as intergenerational replacement, Xiaohongshu KOL, WeChat private domain traffic, and online celebrity live broadcast, of course – there are also some temporary weaknesses resulting from TMT innovation opportunities, the hotness of the new retail industry is a historical necessity. It is foreseeable that in the future, consumer investment will be one of the core themes in the venture capital market.
Sydney-listed Perpetual acquired the early ESG investor TrilliumAccording to Environmental Finance, the $36 million acquisition of environmental, social and governance (ESG)-focused investment firm Trillium Asset Management by Australian financial firm Perpetual has completed. In January, Sydney-listed Perpetual said it would acquire the early ESG investor – which was founded in 1982 – as it looked to establish a US footprint and increase its exposure to the fast-growing ESG sector. “Our acquisition of Trillium materially increases Perpetual’s exposure to the fast growing ESG segment,” said Perpetual chief executive Rob Adams. “The interest in ESG has accelerated globally in recent times due to the Covid-19 pandemic as well as extreme climate events, all contributing to the positive momentum of true, integrated ESG investing fast becoming mainstream.” Boston-based Trillium – which has over $3.8 billion in assets under advisement – will retain its brand and continue to operate independently through its own management team, including chief executive Matthew Patsky. “We found the right partner in Perpetual with their 18-year history in ESG investing and century-long commitment to community engagement and philanthropy,” Patsky said. “Clients around the world are increasingly demanding investment opportunities that provide both a positive long-term ESG impact and positive returns.” Trillium manages a number of ESG-focused US, global and thematic equity as well as US fixed income funds, including fossil fuel free strategies that have been operating for more than two decades. “The additional resources bring global scale to our business, enhance distribution capabilities and support our objective of delivering market-competitive strategies that align with the values, impact goals and investment objectives of clients,” Patsky added.
New proposal recommends multi-currency CBDC including Chinese Yuan, Japanese Yen, South Korean Won, Hong Kong DollarMany developing and developed countries across the globe are considering or already developing and testing their own central bank digital currencies (CBDCs). China might be creating an East Asia virtual currency platform, according to a report from the Nikkei Asian Review. The new currency might compete with the Facebook-led Libra stablecoin and even the US dollar, which remains the global reserve currency. Last month, Asian officials reportedly proposed a plan to issue a digital currency that would consist of the Chinese yuan, Japanese yen, South Korean won, and the Hong Kong dollar. The suggestion to issue the virtual currency was made by 10 members of a political advisory group that attended the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. The members included billionaire Neil Shen, co-founder at Ctrip, a major Chinese travel services provider, Henry Tang, a Hong Kong politician and former chief secretary of the city-state, is also part of the political advisory group that recommended issuing a virtual currency backed by major Asian fiat currencies. The CPPCC, which consists of leaders from several major business sectors, is held on the sidelines of the National People’s Congress (the national legislature). The People’s Bank of China (PBoC), the nation’s reserve bank, has been testing the virtual yuan in Shenzhen and four other locations in mainland China. The 10 members said that the private sector in China should also support the development of a CBDC. The regional digital currency’s value will be backed by the Chinese renminbi (60%), Japanese yen (20%), South Korean won (percentage not determined yet), and the Hong Kong dollar (percentage not determined yet). The proposal recommends creating a cross-border payment network through which companies will be able to conduct transactions via digital or online wallets. This type of network should help expand global trade as it could potentially lower the risks associated with foreign exchange volatility. Notably, the Japanese yen was one of the five major world currencies that the Libra project was planning to use for its global payments system. However, the yen was dropped from Libra’s updated plan which may support the Singapore dollar, Euro, and the British pound (and the USD of course).
HKMA sells HK$5.43 bln as currency hits strong end of trading bandThe Hong Kong Monetary Authority sold HK$5.425 billion ($700 million) into the market in Hong Kong trading hours after the local currency hit the strong end of its trading band, according to data released by the HKMA. The aggregate balance - the key gauge of cash in the banking system - will increase to HK$137.042 billion ($17.68 billion) on July 8, an HKMA spokesman said on Monday. The Hong Kong dollar is pegged in a narrow range of 7.75-7.85 to the U.S. dollar. The HKMA has been conducting sales in recent sessions to weaken the currency to keep it within that trading band. ($1 = 7.7500 Hong Kong dollars)
1week ago, 6 Jul, Monday
Suspected case of bubonic plague found in China's Inner Mongolia
Singularity Financial Hong Kong July 6, 2020 – Authorities in the Chinese region of Inner Mongolia are on high alert after a suspected case of bubonic plague, the disease that caused the Black Death pandemic, was reported Sunday.
The case was discovered in the city of Bayannur, located northwest of Beijing, according to state-run Xinhua news agency.The Bayannur municipal health commission said in a press release that the people's hospital in Urad Middle Banner reported the suspected bubonic plague case on Saturday. The second suspected case involved a 15-year-old, who had apparently been in contact with a marmot hunted by a dog, a tweet from Global Times said. By Sunday, local authorities had issued a citywide Level 3 warning for plague prevention, the second lowest in a four-level system. The warning will stay in place until the end of the year, according to Xinhua. The commission urged the public to beef up self-protection as the city has the risk of people-to-people infections and not to hunt and eat animals that could cause plague infections.
Plague, caused by bacteria and transmitted through flea bites and infected animals, is one of the deadliest bacterial infections in human history. During the Black Death in the Middle Ages, it killed an estimated 50 million people in Europe. Modern antibiotics can prevent complications and death if administered quickly enough.
Bubonic plague, which is one of plague's three forms, causes painful, swollen lymph nodes, as well as fever, chills, and coughing."At present, there is a risk of a human plague epidemic spreading in this city. The public should improve its self-protection awareness and ability, and report abnormal health conditions promptly," the local health authority said, according to state-run newspaper China Daily.
CNN report said, while modern medicine can treat the plague, it has not eliminated it entirely -- and it has made a recent comeback, leading the World Health Organization (WHO) to categorize it as a re-emerging disease.
Anywhere from 1,000 to 2,000 people get the plague every year, according to the WHO. But that total is likely too modest an estimate, since it doesn't account for unreported cases.
2weeks ago, 3 Jul, Friday
DBS Bank creates sustainable and transition finance frameworkSingaporean financial services provider DBS Bank has established a ‘sustainable and transition finance framework and taxonomy’ to “provide a science-based approach to avoid greenwashing”. According to DBS, the framework has been developed to facilitate the categorisation, monitoring and reporting of financing of sustainable activities and to engage with customers to help them adapt in the face of climate change, resource scarcity and income inequality. It will cover green loans and green bonds, as well as strategic advisory, trade finance, and deposits. For green transactions with specific use of proceeds, all proceeds should be directed to an activity that demonstrates alignment with the ICMA Green Bond Principles, EU Green Taxonomy, Climate Bonds Initiative Taxonomy, or Loan Market Association Green Loan Principles. Also detailed in the framework is finance associated with the UN SDGs, and transition finance that should align with sustainable development scenarios developed by the International Energy Agency. DBS has a goal to finance SGD 10 billion ($7 billion) of renewable and clean energy developments by 2024 and an additional SGD 10 billion of other green projects and assets by 2024.
Morgan Stanley builds impact into multi-asset fundMorgan Stanley Investment Management has launched a multi-asset fund that aims to provide “a measure of downside protection in volatile markets”, as well as to incrementally increase investments in companies with potential to create positive environmental or social impact. The $584 billion investment manager said the launch of the Global Balanced Sustainable Fund seeks to capitalise on a lack of ‘sustainable’ multi-asset funds. “Although sustainable investing has grown rapidly, there remain few options for investors who need a multi-asset solution in the public markets space,” said Emily Chew, global head of sustainability for Morgan Stanley Investment Management (MSIM). The fund will be lead-managed by Andrew Harmstone, head of MSIM’s ‘Global Balanced Risk Control’ strategy. Its “risk-controlled” portfolios aim to offer investors “attractive returns, and a measure of downside protection in volatile markets”.
China state banks have $1.1 trillion in dollar funding through access to U.S. financial systemSingularity Financial Hong Kong July 3, 2020 – U.S. Hong Kong Sanctions Risk $1.1 Trillion in China Funding (Source: Bloomberg) China’s largest banks have $1.1 trillion in dollar funding at stake and face potentially steep fines from U.S. legislation that targets penalizing lenders doing businesses with Chinese officials involved in Hong Kong’s controversial security law, according to Bloomberg Intelligence. The bipartisan measure, which was passed by the U.S. Senate and still needs to go through the House and be signed by the U.S. President, bars financial institutions from providing accounts to sanctioned officials, many of whom may be assumed to use the services of China’s biggest banks, Francis Chan, a senior analyst at BI in Hong Kong, said in a June 30 note. Banks in violation risk being cut off from accessing the U.S. financial system, he said. Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd., China Construction Bank Corp., Bank of China Ltd. and Agricultural Bank of China Ltd., the nation’s four largest state-backed lenders, had a combined 7.5 trillion yuan ($1.1 trillion) equivalent of U.S. dollar liabilities at the end of 2019, of which 47% were deposits, according to their annual reports. The rest came from interbank borrowing and issuing securities to global investors. The legislation would apply penalties against financial institutions only if a bank knowingly does business with an official under sanction. The bill is intended to keep the penalties from capturing a broad swath of U.S. companies, an administration official familiar with the discussions said earlier. Banks will be informed of what entities are on the sanctions list before penalties are imposed, the person said. Among Chinese banks, Bank of China had the biggest exposure to the U.S. dollar with about $433 billion of liabilities, followed by ICBC. Chinese lenders have been expanding their presence globally over the past decade by adding branches, making acquisitions and granting loans to fund everything from local power plants to toll roads.
NetEase (NASDAQ: NTES) issues its first ESG reportNetEase, Inc. (NASDAQ: NTES; HKEX: 9999) ("NetEase" or "the Company"), one of China's leading internet and online game services providers, today announced that it has published its first Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) report, outlining the Company's ESG policies and performance. The report also provides insight into NetEase's decision making, which considers the impact its actions have on its users, employees, business partners and all stakeholders. "NetEase has always believed in the power of technology and the deep social responsibility that comes with it. As the Company grew bigger by using technology to provide users with the best product experiences in education, entertainment, consumption, food safety and others, our social responsibilities also grew," said NetEase CEO Mr. William Ding. "After more than two decades of operations, we know our long-term commitment to social responsibilities will underpin our sustained leadership in a hypercompetitive and ever-changing market." To view the report in full, please visit the ESG section on NetEase IR website at http://ir.netease.com/static-files/261a1655-0b2e-416c-b670-c715f9f4691f.
HSBC adds former co-CEO of world's biggest hedge fund Bridgewater Associates to boardThe former co-chief executive of the world's biggest hedge fund and newly elected chairwoman of Finra, the US securities industry's self-regulatory arm, is joining HSBC's board as an independent director effective Wednesday, the bank said. Eileen K Murray, 62, was one of the highest-ranking female executives in the hedge fund industry when she stepped down earlier this year from Bridgewater Associates, the investment firm started by Ray Dalio that manages about US$160 billion. She had been with the firm since 2009 and served as its co-chief executive since 2011. On Tuesday, Finra said its board of governors unanimously elected Murray to serve as its new chairwoman beginning in August. "I am absolutely delighted to welcome Eileen," Mark Tucker, the HSBC chairman, said in a statement. "Her wealth of experience across banking and finance, together with her extensive knowledge of financial technologies and corporate strategy, will bring an invaluable perspective to the board." Murray will be paid total fees of £244,000 (US$302,295) a year in her board role. Her appointment is subject to election by shareholders at the 2021 annual general meeting for a three-year term. Her appointment comes at a challenging time for HSBC, which is based in London, but makes most of its profit in Asia. The economy in Hong Kong, its biggest market, has been hit hard by months of anti-government street protests and the coronavirus pandemic, which has disrupted economies across the globe. The city's economy is expected to contract by as much as 7 per cent this year. The bank, which is in the middle of its third major restructuring in a decade under chief executive Noel Quinn, is navigating a difficult operating environment as central banks have pushed interest rates to historic lows to stimulate economies hurt by months of lockdowns and lower business activity. HSBC was forced in March to pause its plan to eliminate 35,000 jobs as the pandemic worsened this spring. The bank announced last month that it would resume those cuts as its plan to reduce annual costs by US$4.5 billion "are even more necessary today". The cost cuts are expected to be fully implemented by 2022. The bank also found itself embroiled in rising tensions between Beijing and Washington over a controversial national security law tailored for Hong Kong by China's top legislative body, the National People's Congress (NPC).
Morgan Stanley is bullish on Singapore stocks and expects 14% returnsSingularity Financial Hong Kong July 2, 2020 – Morgan Stanley is bullish on Singapore stocks and expects 14% returns (Source: CNBC) Morgan Stanley is bullish on Singapore stocks and expects as much as 14% returns for the MSCI Singapore index over the next 12 months. In fact, investors could increasingly be looking to Singapore as a safe place to invest in as uncertainty roils the region, the investment bank said.
“We could see inflows supported by a growing of perception of Singapore as a safe haven amid geopolitical and economic uncertainties in the region,” analysts Wilson Ng and Derek Chang wrote in a report last week.
Singapore gene therapy start-up and Japanese pharm giant inked the deal worth US$1.2 billionA local gene therapy start-up has clinched a deal of more than $1.2 billion with a global pharmaceutical giant to develop and eventually commercialise its treatments for rare genetic diseases. Carmine Therapeutics, formed last year and believed to be the first gene therapy company in South-east Asia, and Takeda Pharmaceutical Company, an R&D-driven, Japanese multinational pharmaceutical company, inked the deal on June 19. Gene therapy is a treatment where genes are injected into patients to fight or prevent diseases, instead of using chemical drugs or surgery. Carmine developed a novel technology that uses tiny particles released by red blood cells, called extracellular vesicles, to deliver genes to parts of the body that need to be treated. Carmine is unable to reveal the rare genetic diseases they are working on at this point. Once the particles reach the diseased cells or tissues, the genes help them build therapeutic proteins to restore the tissues' normal functions. Carmine is believed to be the first company in the world to harness red blood cell extracellular vesicles as vehicles for gene therapy.
2weeks ago, 2 Jul, Thursday
U.S. House passes bill to sanction Chinese banks
The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation on Wednesday that would penalize banks doing business with Chinese officials who implement a national security law that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called a “brutal, sweeping crackdown” on Hong Kong.
The measure passed by unanimous consent, reflecting concern in Washington over China’s enactment of a security law seen as ending the autonomy that allowed the former British colony to thrive as an international financial centre.
The U.S. Senate passed similar legislation last week, but under congressional rules the bill must return to the Senate and be passed there before being sent to the White House for President Donald Trump to sign into law or veto.
The United States has already begun eliminating Hong Kong’s special status, halting defence exports and restricting the territory’s access to high technology products.
Apple has begun freezing updates for thousands of games in China's App StoreSingularity Financial Hong Kong July 2, 2020 – Apple has blocked updates on tens of thousands of revenue-generating iPhone games on its App Store in China amid rising tensions between Washington and Beijing, according to a report from The Financial Times. The U.S. tech giant told developers Wednesday that they now need to get the necessary permissions from the Chinese authorities if they want to upload certain games to the App Store in China. There are currently around 60,000 mobile games hosted on the China App Store that are paid for or have in-app purchases, according to AppinChina figures cited by the FT. However, China’s regulators have only issued slightly more than 43,000 licenses since 2010, while just 1,570 were given out in 2019. As a result, there are thousands of games that do not comply with the new rules. Developers were told in February that they’d finally have to comply with China’s mobile video game laws by June 30.China restricts content on a vast number of factors, ranging from anything considered too politically "taboo" to inappropriate character appearance. Game developers are expected to comply with the rules and show proof of license to make their games available for download.Apple had managed to avoid such regulations until now, even though the rules had been in place since 2016. Other App Stores, like those run by Huawei and Xiaomi, have been complying with the regulations for some time now."No one is entirely clear how Apple managed to avoid enforcing the 2016 licensing rule for so long. But considering the US-China trade war began heating up earlier this year, the timing is suspicious," Todd Kuhns, marketing manager for the consultancy group AppinChina, told the Financial Times. The company estimates that Apple could now lose up to $879 million in lost sales.Now, Apple has begun freezing updates for thousands of games in China's App Store as it likely prepares to remove the games if they don't submit proof of license.
JPMorgan Chase closes on $115M buy of Bank of China's former HQSingularity Financial Hong Kong July 2, 2020 – JPMorgan Chase closed on its $115 million purchase of 410 Madison Avenue, the former U.S. headquarters for Bank of China, according to public records. Negotiations over the purchase were first reported more than a year ago, after the U.S. bank had moved some of its employees into the seven-story Midtown East building. The closing price is $15 million more than estimated when negotiations began. Bank of China owned and occupied the 58,000 square-foot building for 36 years but started looking to sell in mid-2017, when it moved to 7 Bryant Park. The site, which now includes 107,500 buildable square feet thanks to the Midtown East rezoning, is just a block from Chase’s 270 Park Avenue headquarters, where it was set demolish its own 52-story building and replace it with a 70-story structure, again thanks to zoning changes. A spokesperson for JPMorgan confirmed the sale but declined to comment further. A representative for Bank of China did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The sale of 410 Madison comes after a period in which real estate deals in New York City slowed considerably because of the coronavirus-related shutdown. The city is now in its second phase of reopening, but cases are now surging in other parts of the U.S.
2weeks ago, 1 Jul, Wednesday
Japanese lawmakers to create a more accommodating environment for foreign professionalsSingularity Financial Hong Kong July 1, 2020 – Japanese lawmakers kicked off official discussions over ways to welcome more financial talents. At the first meeting Wednesday of a new project team established by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, experts stressed an urgent need to create a more accommodating environment for foreign professionals. The team will assemble a package of recommendations this year. Japan issues visas for highly skilled professionals based on a point system that considers such factors as education, work history and salary. Recipients can stay in the country for five years, with possible eligibility for permanent residency if they meet certain conditions. About 21,000 visas had been approved through Japan's point system at the end of 2019, according to the Immigration Services Bureau. While issuance is picking up, critics have pointed to issues including the complexity of the system, limits on residency time and restrictions on bringing family members.