SINGAPORE (Sept 2): Looking beyond current global economic uncertainties, the fact remains that the stock market usually rises in the very long term. The local banks are a good example. Once proxies to GDP growth in Singapore and Malaysia, they now reflect growth in Asia as they gradually regionalise. Economies usually grow over the long term. The 30-year price charts (see Charts 1 to 3) of the three local banks show that their prices have risen over a 30-year period, despite the two occasions on which there were serious declines — during the Asian and global financial crises.
Despite the trade war and its uncertainties, the local banks have carved out different growth strategies.
On Aug 22, United Overseas Bank opened its first branch in Hanoi. A year ago, UOB incorporated UOB Vietnam as a foreign-owned subsidiary bank. In March this year, UOB launched its mobile-only digital bank TMRW in Thailand. A second location, believed to be Indonesia, will be added by year-end, followed by Malaysia and Vietnam. UOB’s strategy is for Asean — where the bank has a growing presence — to be one homogenous market with Singapore as the hub.