Hong Kong tightens liquidity with $260 mil currency defence

HONG KONG (Mar 11): Hong Kong faces the likelihood of rising borrowing costs after the city’s de facto central bank intervened to defend its currency peg for the first time since August.

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority bought HK$1.51 billion ($260 million) of local dollars during London and New York trading hours after the currency fell to the weak end of its trading band, it said in a statement Saturday. The move will reduce the aggregate balance, a measure of interbank liquidity, to a decade low of HK$74.8 billion.

Why aggressive intervention may do little to save Argentina's peso

SINGAPORE (Sept 3): Fund managers are worrying that the worst has yet to come in Argentina’s peso crisis as big names in the bond market continue to take a beating, according to the Financial Times.   

Based on FT calculations, funds of Franklin Templeton have lost US$1.23 billion ($1.7 billion) on just three of its biggest Argentine positions over the past two weeks.

Singapore added to Credit Suisse's preferred markets as 'the place to be' for equity investors

SINGAPORE (July 10): Credit Suisse says the Singapore market is the “place to be” for investors given it is trading at favourable valuations, offers a blend of cyclical exposure and is a beneficiary of higher interest rates.

At present, the Singapore market has a 12-month forward P/E ratio of 12.4 times which is below the 10-year average of 13.3 times, thanks to the recent pullback.

“Rising interest rates and higher oil prices are driving a rebound in earnings growth (15% in 2018),” notes Credit Suisse in a media statement on Monday.

China's yuan hovers near key level amid intervention speculation

HONG KONG (July 3): Chinese banks were seen selling dollars after the yuan weakened past a key level, stoking speculation that authorities were seeking to slow the losses.

The yuan was 0.5% lower at 6.6981 per dollar at 11:31 a.m. in Shanghai after earlier falling to 6.7204. Some Chinese major banks sold the dollar in the swaps market, according to four traders. A Bloomberg survey last week found observers expected the People’s Bank of China would act to slow the descent at 6.7.

Singapore allows currency to gain in gradual tightening move

SINGAPORE (Apr 13): Singapore’s central bank made a measured change to policy, allowing its currency to strengthen in the face of solid economic growth, while also acknowledging mounting risks from a US-China trade war.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore, which uses the exchange rate as its main policy tool, increased the slope of the currency band slightly from zero percent, it said in a statement on its website. That was in line with the forecasts from the majority of economists in a Bloomberg survey.

China's yuan plunges most since aftermath of devaluation in 2015

(Feb 8): China’s yuan sank the most since the aftermath of the shock devaluation of the currency in August 2015 after trade surplus figures missed estimates and amid speculation policy makers will step up efforts to rein in gains.

Your fund's currency exposure may not be what you think

(Oct 23): A client of mine was recently interested in a mutual fund that invests in Asian equities. It had a great investment track record and a solid manager; his main reservation was that it was denominated in British pounds (GBP). Given the continuing fallout from Brexit, he was afraid that GBP would depreciate in value against the Singapore dollar and therefore he could lose money in SGD terms even if the fund performed well. Is he right to be concerned?

Singapore still prefers cash over digital payments

SINGAPORE (Sept 5): In tech-savvy Singapore, where almost everyone has a smartphone, nine out of 10 people still prefer to pay for everyday transactions the old-fashioned way – with cash. 

Like Theresa Loh, a 27-year-old sales clerk. She queues up with thousands of Singaporeans every day at sprawling food courts across the city state that serve up cheap local delicacies like chicken rice and spicy noodle soup.

Expat packages are worsening in Singapore and Hong Kong: Survey

HONG KONG (May 18): The value of pay and benefits packages for expatriates moving to Hong Kong and Singapore continued to decline last year, according to consultancy firm ECA International.

For middle managers in Hong Kong, expat packages -- including salary, tax and benefits such as accommodation and schooling -- have fallen 2% in US dollar terms over the past five years to around US$265,500, while the typical package in Singapore dropped 6% to US$235,500 ($327,592), ECA’s annual MyExpatriate Market Pay survey found.

Xi buys time with Trump as tensions loom over North Korea threat

HONG KONG (April 10): After predicting a “very difficult” encounter with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Donald Trump emerged from their first meeting hailing “an outstanding relationship” between chiefs of the world’s biggest economies.

Xi was similarly upbeat about his US counterpart after the 18-hour summit in Florida that ended on Friday, saying they “got deeply acquainted, established a kind of trust and built an initial working relationship and friendship."

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