3 things you need to know about the rise of China's renminbi as the world's reserve currency

SINGAPORE (July 12): Some 75 years ago, the Bretton Woods agreement was signed, making the US dollar the world’s reserve currency. But now, there is talk of an alternative: China’s renminbi.

“The economic strength of the West is weakening,” says James Wolfensohn, a former president of the World Bank and current co-chair of the Bretton Woods committee.

Western Union mobile app launched in Singapore

SINGAPORE (Dec 18): Money remitter Western Union today announced the launch of its mobile app in Singapore – making it the third destination in Asia, after Hong Kong and Malaysia, where the app can be used for Western Union transactions.

Now available on the Google Play and Apple’s App Store, the app enables customers to transfer money to bank accounts worldwide, mobile wallets where available, or to Western Union’s Agent locations in more than 200 countries and territories.

The impact of higher interest rates on regional banks and property

SINGAPORE (Oct 4): At its last meeting in September, the US Federal Reserve hiked rates by 25bps and warned that rate increases are likely to persist well into next year.

With US headline inflation hovering above 2.5%, unemployment rate at below 4% and oil prices creeping up, the Fed has sufficient reasons to take its funds rate higher to fend off overheating risks.

This means USD rates are poised to drift higher as monetary policy turns restrictive over the coming quarters.

Food Empire downgraded as US ramps up sanctions against Russia

SINGAPORE (Aug 15): RHB Research is downgrading its call on Food Empire to “neutral” from “buy” while lowering its target price on the stock to 60 cents from $1.07 previously to reflect a lower target P/E of 14 times as a result of lower valuation, versus the peer average of 16 times.

The research house has also applied a 10% discount to peers to account for geopolitical risk in Russia and other CIS countries, which believes would limit Food Empire’s upside in the near-term.

More pain looms for EMs as lousy quarter sputters toward end

SAO PAOLO/NEW YORK(June 29): A dark quarter for emerging-market bulls is nearing an end, and it’s not clear whether things will get much brighter down the road, especially in the near-term.

Currencies, stocks and bonds in developing nations are closing out their worst quarter since 2015 and facing a looming trade war, tightening US monetary policy, elections in Latin America and a weaker global growth outlook. Valuations may look appealing, but this thicket of risks has some investors cautious about plunging back in.

Promise of higher dividends mitigate currency risk for LY Corp, says NRA Capital

SINGAPORE (Jan 30): NRA Capital likes LY Corporation, the original design manufacturer of wooden bedroom furniture, for what it sees as a positive mix of growth and dividend plans to come.

While potential appreciation of the Malaysian Ringgit presents a key risk to the group’s profitability, NRA believes this will be mitigated by the promise of a higher 40% payout of PATMI for FY18-20, up 25% from 25% for FY17.

Central banks want the world to carry on as they quietly tighten

WASHINGTON/FRANKFURT (Dec 15): Central bankers are gingerly trying to take away the punch bowl without interrupting the party.

Led by interest-rate increases by the Federal Reserve and the People’s Bank of China, central banks around the world shifted toward a tighter monetary stance this week. Yet the moves were either so well-telegraphed, or so tiny, and the language about future action so hedged, that there was barely a ripple in financial markets.

Why you need to add these currencies to your portfolio now

SINGAPORE (Sept 22): The US Federal Reserve announced on Sept 20 that it would start reducing the size of its US$4.5 trillion ($6.1 trillion) balance sheet next month. It also stuck with its forecast to raise the federal funds rate again this year, citing healthy growth.

Following the announcement, Bloomberg’s US dollar index gained 0.5%. And a few market watchers are now betting on a reversal of the slide in the US dollar this year.

BNM forex scandal: Former second finance minister claims responsibility for hedging ‘mistake’ made in 1990s

SINGAPORE (Sept 7): Over the hearing which took place at the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) yesterday, Malaysia’s former second finance minister Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop, who served as adviser to Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) from 1998 to 2000, admitted to having made the “mistake” of hedging 100% against currencies.

The hearing is part of ongoing investigations into BNM foreign exchange (forex) trading losses from 1988 to 1994, which is now estimated to stand at RM32.07 billion ($10.2 billion).

Markets roiled on Trump stance tensions

NEW YORK (Aug 18): A sense of growing unease gripped financial markets as President Donald Trump exacerbated the controversy sparked by a racist rally in Virginia and terrorists struck a crowded street in Barcelona.

US stocks retreated, with the S&P 500 Index posting its second biggest one-day decline of the year, and a measure of market volatility spiked higher. Treasuries rose with the yen as investors sought havens. Gold jumped.

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