|Multilateral Trade Agreements
Vietnam-Laos trade fair helps promote bilateral economic ties vietnamplus.vn 27th Jun 2019
The Vietnam-Laos trade fair (VIETLAO EXPO 2019) kicked off at the Lao International Trade Exhibition and Convention Centre (Lao-ITECC) in Vientiane on June 27. Addressing the event, Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Cao Quoc Hung highlighted the flourishing economic-trade cooperation between the two countries in recent years. Hung stressed the need to expand industry and trade linkage, saying that the two countries should focus on implementing their signed commitments and trade agreements, and promoting the development of traffic and trade infrastructure.
Asia’s Monster Trade Pact Could Be Done This Year, Minus a Few Bloomberg.com 26th Jun 2019
As a monster Asian trade pact enters its next round of deliberations this weekend, Deborah Elms is upbeat about its prospects for completion this year -- though perhaps without all 16 members. The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership -- which includes all 10 Southeast Asian economies plus China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia, and New Zealand -- could be finalized in 2019, though likely with only a “subset” of the negotiating economies, Elms, executive director of the Asian Trade Centre, said Wednesday at an American Chamber of Commerce in Singapore event on trade.
US bilateral trade discussed Phnom Penh Post 18th Jun 2019
A delegation from the US Trade Representative and the US Department of State is visiting Cambodia this week to discuss bilateral trade issues, including automobile standards and the Kingdom’s labour situation. The four-day visit from June 3-7 is headed by Assistant US Trade Representative for the Office of Southeast Asia and the Pacific, Karl Ehlers, and Assistant US Trade Representative for Labor Affairs, Lewis Karesh. During the visit, the delegation met with the Minister of Industry and Handicraft Cham Prasidh and Minister of Commerce Pan Sorasak to discuss issues pertaining to the US-Cambodia Trade and Investment Framework Agreement. During the meeting on Wednesday, Sorasak said the Cambodian government expressed its thanks to the US for its provision of the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) agreement for the Kingdom’s travel goods exports to the US market.
Philippines – Indonesia EEZ boundary agreement nearing implementation Inquirer.net 23rd Jun 2019
The agreement between the Philippines and Indonesia on the delimitation of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) boundary is expected to be enforced within the year. In a joint statement between the two governments, the domestic requirements for the Agreement Between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the Government of Indonesia Concerning the Delimitation of the Exclusive Economic Zone Boundary have been completed.
These three trends will influence the evolution of fintech in ASEAN ASEAN Today 17th Jun 2019
Despite suffering catastrophic losses in the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis, Southeast Asian markets have charted a remarkable recovery over the last two decades. The financial sector’s growth has been particularly impressive, especially in countries like Indonesia and Thailand which were teetering on the brink of collapse in the late ‘90s.
LexisNexis survey outlines true cost of anti-money laundering compliance for financial firms Hubbis 17th Jun 2019
AML compliance costs rose between 9 and 10 percent during the past two years with growth expected to continue at a similar rate over the coming year. The report surveyed the views of experts within the financial crimes sector that are responsible for Know Your Customer (KYC) remediation, sanctions monitoring and/or AML transaction monitoring at banks, investment firms, asset management firms and money services bureaus across the Asia Pacific region. Some of the key findings included that midsize to large financial firms (those with USD10 billion or more AUM) have significantly larger annual average compliance costs than smaller firms, ranging from approximately USD12 million to USD14 million for larger firms and USD1.2 million to USD2.08 million for smaller firms.
Singapore’s all-out efforts in digital transformation Global Times 1st Jul 2019
The establishment of a new digital-focused office in Singapore was announced on Wednesday, aiming to forge an innovative public-private partnership model to spur the private sector in engaging the country's digital technology growth. This is in line with the goal set by the government, aiming to become a leading digital economy where every business is digitally empowered. In order to stay connected to the world, it is especially important for countries like Singapore, small in size but open in economy, to promote digitalization, industry analysts told the Global Times.
Synagie unit to help Malaysian firms adopt e-commerce The Straits Times 24th Jun 2019
Enterprises in Malaysia are getting help from a Singapore firm to sell their products in online markets in South-east Asia and China. The initiative involves a new tie-up between a Malaysian government agency and e-commerce solutions provider Synagie. A unit of Synagie, which is listed in Singapore, has been appointed by the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) as its cross-border partner until the end of next year. The tie-up is part of a seller adoption programme under a road map that will accelerate the adoption of e-commerce among Malaysian businesses.
Myanmar, Thailand sign agreement to facilitate overland trade The Myanmar Times 18th Jun 2019
Overland cross-border trade between Myanmar and Thailand will officially commence at the end of July following an agreement to allow vehicles from both sides across the border to facilitate the transportation of goods between the two countries.The agreement, which followed discussions that started a year ago, will see the governments of both countries issue licenses to logistics companies to transport goods overland through the Yangon (Thilawa)-Myawaddy-Mae Sot-Bangkok (Laem Chabang) route. Under the agreement, 100 vehicles from each country will be granted temporary one-year passes to transport goods across the border along the route. Thilawa would be where all Thai vehicles will have to stop for customs inspections while Thailand will carry out customs inspections in Mae Sot.
Investors turn to Asian bonds to escape slumping yields Pensions & Investments 1st Jul 2019
Never mind the trade war. A looming U.S. interest rate cut is set to replace tariff headlines as the key driver of developing Asian bonds, according to money managers. As traders count down to the Group of 20 summit this week, global funds are looking beyond the outcome to focus on an expected easing in Federal Reserve policy. Portfolio managers reason that regional central banks are likely to follow in the Fed's footsteps, and this would galvanize demand for Asian bonds. "The good news is the high yielders — Philippines, India, Indonesia — have central banks that hiked significantly over the last 18 months as the Fed was tightening policy," said Mark Baker, investment manager of emerging-market debt at Aberdeen Standard Investments Ltd. in Hong Kong. "It's natural to look to these markets as the first places to reverse some of that tightening."
CapBridge and UOB sign agreement to provide companies across Asia with access to private capital MSN 25th Jun 2019
Global private capital platform CapBridge has signed an agreement with United Overseas Bank Ltd (UOB) to offer a range of private capital solutions to private, high-growth companies in Singapore and in the Bank’s key markets including China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. This is CapBridge’s first collaboration with a Singapore bank to provide companies with such alternative financing solutions and draws upon the combined market expertise of two Singapore-headquartered financial institutions and the country’s strength as a global financial centre. Through its investment syndication platform, CapBridge will match UOB’s clients with anchor investors and accredited 2 co-investors, catalysing private capital as a source of funding and helping these companies to broaden their investor base further.
Major payments, banking, retail, e-commerce, and ID players gather at Seamless Asia in Singapore to discuss the future of commerce in Asia BusinessMirror 24th Jun 2019
Seamless Asia, the region’s largest free-to-attend payments, banking, identity, e-commerce and retail conference and exhibition with 150 exhibitors and over 6,000 attendees, returns to Singapore on 26-27 June to explore innovative digital solutions changing commerce and banking in Asia. Representatives from banks, online & offline retailers, major payments providers and vendors who support the ecosystem will be in attendance.
Asia calls for efforts to address protectionism Phnom Penh Post 18th Jun 2019
Asian political figures and economic experts have expressed common concerns over the intensifying trade dispute between China and the US and are calling for integrated efforts to address global challenges like unilateralism and protectionism. “We are all facing an upcoming economic crisis,” warned Chen Deming, former Chinese minister of commerce. Chen made the remark at a two-day gathering in Tokyo last week at which political, economic and academic leaders from the Asia-Pacific region shared concerns on the region’s future. Chen said Asian countries should unite to build a fair and transparent new international economic order and turn crises into opportunities.
Malaysia´s asset management industry showing signs of slowdown - SC Bernama.com 1st Jul 2019
Malaysia’s asset management industry which has grown rapidly over the last decades has shown signs of a slowdown amid fundamental shifts which are expected to alter the business landscape, said Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) chairman, Datuk Syed Zaid Albar. He said over the past 20 years, the industry had been recording strong growth with a compound annual growth rate of 16 per cent. “The focus on the asset management industry is timely as data from the last five years suggested that it might have reached an inflection point with signs pointing to slowing future growth.
CBC provides vital financial health check for all citizens Phnom Penh Post 17th Jun 2019
The CEO of CBC said that it plans to “continue its policies of ensuring data security and superior customer service to meet our members’ satisfaction and remains the strategic focus driver of our business. We will continue to build on our strengths, to develop new platforms that facilitate our members in meeting their ambitions and to contribute the stability of industry growth.” CBC is also looking forward to officially launching the Commercial Credit Reporting, expanding the financial health check service countrywide, and introducing employment checks to its members.
Philippines Social Security System invests additional PHP7 billion with local wealth managers Hubbis 17th Jun 2019
Seeking to diversify its portfolio and boost returns, the Philippines state-run Social Security System (SSS) is investing PHP7 billion from its reserve fun in local wealth managers. SSS president and chief executive officer Aurora Ignacio said the pension fund has made deals with five local managers to invest the money in equity funds, balanced funds, and fixed-income funds. BPI Asset Management and Trust Corporation signed contracts to manage PHP3 billion in funds. PHP1 billion went to Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation, and ATRAM Trust, while another P1 billion each was entrusted to Metropolitan Bank and Trust and Philequity Management.
Bursa Malaysia's new CEO wants to make it a marketplace for every asset class MSN 17th Jun 2019
When it was announced last December that Datuk Muhamad Umar Swift would succeed Datuk Seri Tajuddin Atan as CEO of Bursa Malaysia Bhd — effective Feb 11 — expectations were high that he would bring a fresh perspective to the local bourse. But the fact remains that Bursa Malaysia has been experiencing an initial public offering (IPO) drought in its Main Market and ACE Market in recent years. Moreover, local benchmark FBM KLCI is the worst performer in the region year to date. Formerly the managing director and CEO of MAA Group Bhd, Umar came in as an outsider with a huge task — recreate Bursa Malaysia as the marketplace for every asset class, or as he put it, “the marketplace for everything”. In his first exclusive interview, Umar shares with The Edge some of his plans to spearhead Bursa Malaysia towards its next phase of growth in becoming a globally connected stock exchange in Asean.
BNM: liquidity remains ample in Malaysia's banking system Bernama.com 1st Jul 2019
Banks in Malaysia have maintained sufficient liquidity to support intermediation and meet urgent needs, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) said. The banking system's liquidity coverage ratio (LCR) stood at 155.2 per cent in May from 159.9 per cent in April due to lower placements with BNM, it said. "Funding profile of the banks remained stable. The loan to fund ratio and the loan to fund and equity ratio stood at 82.2 per cent and 71.8 per cent, respectively, " the central bank said in its "Monthly Highlights - May 2019" report released today. It said net financing -- outstanding loans excluding those of development financial institutions -- and outstanding corporate bonds grew by 6.3 per cent in May compared to 5.1 per cent in April, driven mainly by higher outstanding corporate bond growth amid sustained growth in outstanding loans.
Vietnamese banks eye offshore markets to raise capital Asia First 1st Jul 2019
Vietnamese banks are planning to raise capital in overseas bond markets amid growing pressure to increase capital to comply with the minimum capital requirements set by the State Bank of Vietnam and Basel II standards by early next year. The Viet Nam Prosperity Commercial Bank is seeking shareholders’ approval on its plan to issue up to USD1.12 billion worth of foreign currency bonds to investors outside the US and have these listed on Singapore’s stock exchange, and green bonds worth USD120 million in a private placement. Tien Phong Bank is also asking shareholders’ opinion about the issuance of USD200 million in foreign currency bonds.
Singapore to allow digital banks; MAS issuing up to 5 new licences: Tharman The Straits Times 28th Jun 2019
Up to five new digital bank licences will be issued here, paving the way for non-bank players to break into a local financial services scene dominated by a handful of traditional providers. Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam announced the move on Friday night (June 28) at the 46th Annual Dinner of The Association of Banks in Singapore at Raffles City Convention Centre. Mr Tharman, who is also chairman of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), said the new digital bank licences mark the next chapter in Singapore's banking liberalisation journey and ensure that Singapore's banking sector continues to be resilient, competitive and vibrant.
Indonesia's Biggest Fund Turns Bullish on Banks, Property Stocks Yahoo Finance 25th Jun 2019
Indonesian banks and property stocks are beginning to look more appealing with the central bank signaling a cut in interest rates for the first time in almost two years, according to the nation’s largest mutual fund. Bank Indonesia’s decision to slash the reserve ratio requirement for lenders starting next month is set to lower the cost of funds, said Alvin Pattisahusiwa, president director of PT Mandiri Manajemen Investasi. With the central bank saying a rate cut is only “a matter of time and magnitude,” rate-sensitive sectors such as financials and property will perform better in the short term, he said.“Interest rates will decline in the short term and we can look at the banks and property stocks, which are interest-rate sensitive,”
Foreign capital flows through Vietnamese banks VietNamNet 25th Jun 2019
A series of banks, such as LienVietPostBank, SHB, OCB, VPBank, TPBank, Techcombank, have so far joined hands with JP Morgan Chase Bank, International Investment Bank (IIB), International Bank for Economic Cooperation (IBEC), International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Deutsche Bank to provide syndicated loans worth hundreds of millions US dollars. Techcombank, for example, has signed agreements with foreign banks to fund corporate borrowers. The bank provided long-term syndicated loans worth US$1.1 billion for conglomerate VinGroup alone. SHB and IIB have also signed a five-year deal on the latter’s provision of US$20 million in loans to the former to develop IIB’s infrastructure work in Vietnam and the import-export activities of goods from IIB member countries.
World Bank approves new credit for VN’s secondary cities Phnom Penh Post 18th Jun 2019
The World Bank Board of Executive Directors on Wednesday approved a $194.36 million credit plan to help four secondary cities in Vietnam build critically-needed municipal infrastructure and strengthen urban planning. The Dynamic Cities Integrated Development Project aims to increase access to improved urban services in Ky Anh in Ha Tinh province, Tinh Gia in Thanh Hoa province, Hai Duong in Hai Duong province and Yen Bai in Yen Bai province. Approximately 200,000 residents are expected to benefit directly from the project, of which more than half are women. The project will help reduce flood risks, improve sanitation, reduce travel times on new and improved roads and develop high-quality public spaces. The project will also improve connectivity to industrial parks, export processing zones, commercial establishments and tourist attractions, benefiting workers and merchants as well as visitors.
Bank Indonesia sees room to cut interest rate The Jakarta Post 18th Jun 2019
Bank Indonesia sees room to cut interest rates, according to Governor Perry Warjiyo, raising the prospect of Southeast Asia’s biggest economy easing monetary policy in the face of growing risks to growth. "If we take into account low inflation and economic growth that needs to be pushed, indeed, we already know that there’s room to lower interest rate," Warjiyo told lawmakers on Monday, without giving any indication of timing. "As of now, global financial market condition is still full of uncertainties, whether related to trade war, Brexit, geopolitics etc, which can lead to capital flows reversal and bring risks in financing the current-account deficit." Central banks around the globe have been shifting to a looser monetary policy position as they look to counter slowing demand with India, Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines and Malaysia all cutting rates in recent weeks. While Indonesia’s economy has been growing at about 5 percent, officials are also increasingly concerned about risks to growth, citing an escalation in trade hostilities between the US and China.
Bank of Thailand to allow biometrics for identification Bangkok Post 17th Jun 2019
The Bank of Thailand plans to let banks adopt biometric technology to verify identity when opening deposit accounts by the third quarter this year. The central bank expects to gradually permit financial institutions to use biometric technology for electronic Know Your Customer (e-KYC). The service is being tested in the regulatory sandbox, with exits scheduled for the third quarter, said Siritida Panomwan Na Ayudhya, assistant governor for the central bank's payment systems policy and financial group. The biometric technology includes facial recognition and fingerprint scan.
Bank Negara: Financial Threat Intelligence Platform operational before year-end www.thesundaily.my 17th Jun 2019
Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) expects to operationalise the Financial Threat Intelligence Platform before the year-end as part of its efforts to strengthen platforms for collaboration in building a safe environment for innovation. Governor Datuk Nor Shamsiah Mohd Yunus said the central bank, together with the financial industry, is in the process of establishing the platform. The central bank’s ongoing efforts to build an enabling yet safe environment for innovation also include building inter-operable infrastructures. This will start with open and fair access to a shared payment infrastructure for banks and non-banks alike.
Central bank calls on financial institutions to sign up on cybersecurity sharing platform Business World 17th Jun 2019
To help strengthen the banking industry’s resilience to cyber attacks, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has ordered BSP-supervised financial institutions (BSFIs) to participate in a cybersecurity sharing platform hosted by the Bankers Association of the Philippines (BAP). The memorandum further stated that through the database, BSFIs can raise “the level of situational awareness” as the latest tactics, techniques, and procedures of cyber threat actors that target financial institutions, including those in the dark web, will be shared.
Digitally-focused Chip Mong Bank launches in Cambodia bobsguide 17th Jun 2019
Chip Mong Bank (CMCB) - a newly established bank and subsidiary of local conglomerate Chip Mong Group - chose Compass Plus’ TranzWare to help realise its vision and kick-start its operations in Cambodia. Chip Mong Bank aims to become a leader in Cambodian retail banking by offering cardless transactions and a seamless customer experience. The project, which went live in just a short time by the collaborative and strong team of Chip Mong Bank despite regional holidays, saw Chip Mong Bank implement Compass Plus solutions to support cardless ATM cash withdrawals using cash-by-code transactions which is super convenient to its users. This service is available 24/7/365.
NBC selects three banks for pilot QR code system The Phenom Penh Post 18th Jun 2019
The National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) has selected three of the Kingdom’s banks to implement a Cambodian-Thai QR code-based payment system, which could begin late this year, the NBC said. The three banks are Acleda Bank, Foreign Trade Bank of Cambodia (FTB) and Cambodian Commercial Bank Ltd. Speaking during the launch of the ‘QR Code Settlement between Cambodia and Thailand’ project on Monday, NBC director-general Chea Serey said this is an evolution of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) which the central bank previously signed with its Thai counterpart. She said using QR codes would be beneficial for Cambodia – helping to boost the use of the local currency and avoiding foreign-exchange risks.
CIMB, CapBridge to provide firms access to private capital Phnom Penh Post 18th Jun 2019
CIMB Bank Bhd’s recent memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Singapore’s CapBridge Pte Ltd will facilitate capital raising and trading of shares for private companies through the latter’s investment platform and the 1exchange (1X) private securities exchange. This MoU will see CIMB Bank and CapBridge collaborating to offer the bank’s customers in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand and Cambodia access to private capital and liquidity through the holistic CapBridge private capital ecosystem, CIMB said in a statement on Sunday.
Mobile payment solutions are taking off in Southeast Asia · TechNode 26th Jun 2019
TechNode gathered four industry experts at its ORIGIN conference, during Malaysia Tech Week 2019, for a discussion on “Payment Solutions in Southeast Asia.” Kenneth Ho, CEO of the cross-border business matching engine Beam and moderator for the panel, began the talk by asking, “What is the landscape like for mobile payments in Southeast Asia (SEA)? Who do you think is going to be the dominant player? And will Grab simply kick everyone’s ass? Every country has at least 30 to 40 e-wallets. Competition is definitely going to be high in Southeast Asia because of the low barriers of entry,” said Jeremy Wong, head of partnership at e-commerce company Fave. Aiza Azreen Ahmad, director of strategic partnership at lifestyle e-wallet company Boost, said, “For Malaysians today, I’m sure your phones would easily have three e-wallets.”
Global Vietnam Mobile Payment Market worth $43,427 million by 2025 MarketWatch 17th Jun 2019
Big Market Research adds global Vietnam Mobile Payment market report that gives meticulous investigation of current scenario of the market size, share, demand, growth, trends, companies active in the industry and forecasts for the coming years. Surge in need for immediate transactions in Vietnam is anticipated to be one of the major drivers of the Vietnam mobile payment market. In December 2017, Vietnam’s e-payment pioneer, MoMo, signed an agreement with a U.S.-based ride-hailing company, Uber Technologies, to enable passengers to pay for rides along with utility bills, airline tickets, and online purchases using the MoMo app. Moreover, banks in Vietnams have been focusing on e-payment; for instance, Sacombank and Maritime Bank have launched their own QR code-based online payment services, which are used at stores and restaurants. Thus, growth of the e-commerce industry, increased penetration of smartphones, improvement in standard of living, and need for quick & hassle-free transactions drive the growth of the mobile payment market in Vietnam. However, data breaches & security concerns are expected to impede the market growth. Conversely, rise in awareness about mobile payment, exposure to social media, and increase in popularity of cashless payments in Vietnam are expected to present major opportunities for market expansion during the forecast period.
Asean+3 growth forecast lowered to 4.9%: report The Business Times 24th Jun 2019
In the wake of escalating trade tensions between the United States and China, the Asean+3 Macroeconomic Research Office (AMRO) has lowered its regional growth projections. Baseline growth is now expected at 4.9 per cent in 2019 and 2020, down from the previous 5.1 per cent estimate in early May, AMRO said in the June edition of its monthly update of the Asean+3 regional economic outlook. In the adverse trade scenario where the US places a 25 per cent tariff on remaining China imports, growth is expected to slow to 4.7 per cent in 2019 and 4.5 per cent in 2020. "Regional economies with greater GVC (global value chain) participation oriented towards final demand outside the region will be more affected," said the report. With the exception of Vietnam and the Philippines, export values around the region have weakened since October, led by Japan and China.
VN to be among the most dynamic markets by 2030 Phnom Penh Post 18th Jun 2019
With an emerging market economy and continued strong growth, Vietnam is set to become one of the most dynamic markets in the world by 2030, according to Euromonitor International, a global market research company. An Hodgson, Euromonitor International’s income and expenditure research manager, said the company’s research database showed that urbanisation, with the associated concentration of income, wealth and population, would propel Vietnam’s commercial success by 2030.
Asia Pacific – Banking, financial services and insurance industry reports growth in online recruitment Staffing Industry Analysts 17th Jun 2019
The banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI) industry in Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines reported year-on-year growth in online recruitment in April 2019, according to the latest Monster Employment Index. Singapore’s BFSI industry recorded 26% year-on-year increase in demand in April while the Philippines recorded a 13% increase followed by Malaysia which reported a 1% increase. Monster.com's APAC and Gulf CEO Abhijeet Mukherjee told The Edge Markets that a major transformation is underway in the banking and finance industry at the moment, as organisations become increasingly reliant on AI to simplify and automate processes.
Asian Stocks Mixed As Markets Look To Fed, Mull US Retail Sales DailyFX 17th Jun 2019
Asia Pacific stocks were mixed to start a week which will probably be dominated economically by Wednesday’s monetary policy statement from the Federal Reserve. The central bank is not expected to cut interest rates this month but futures markets still evince strong expectations that it will next month, despite the strength of domestic retail sales data seen on Friday.
Guan Eng: Malaysia Welcomes Investments That Raise Skills, Wages New Straits Times 17th Jun 2019
Malaysia welcomes any investments from abroad, especially Japan, that will raise the skills and wages of workers. Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said such investments would improve the competitiveness of the Malaysian economy through the application of new technology. Speaking at a shareholders agreement signing ceremony between the Japan Overseas Infrastructure Investment Corp for Transport and Urban Development (JOIN) and Tasco Bhd here today, Lim said JOIN could be the bridge that connects Malaysian companies to other parts of the world through its global network and direct links to Japan’s largest corporations.
Online marketplaces test delivery drones across rural Indonesia | Phnom Penh Post Phnom Penh Post 28th Jun 2019
As logistics remains a big issue in e-commerce expansion in Indonesia, online marketplaces are showing an interest in investing in unmanned aerial vehicles, also known as drones, to help reach rural areas across the country. Under its global smart supply chain network, China’s second largest online retailer JD.com has tested drones in Indonesia following the government’s approval earlier this year as it wants to expand to overseas markets.
The elusive 7 percent: Major reform required in Indonesia to boost e-commerce growth The Jakarta Post 25th Jun 2019
For Indonesia to reach its elusive 7 percent gross domestic product (GDP) growth target during the second term, the Joko “Jokowi” Widodo government will have to implement some difficult reforms. These would need to include changes in e-commerce sector governance, which the government has identified as one of the main ways in which it could reach this GDP target by 2025.
OIC touts cheap premium schemes Bangkok Post 18th Jun 2019
The Office of the Insurance Commission (OIC) is pushing the idea of launching micro insurance schemes with cheap premiums designed for the grassroots and retirees. "We are preparing to push forward a micro life insurance scheme where [customers will] pay a premium of only 20 baht per month, as well as a personal accident (PA) insurance scheme attached to state welfare cards to help medium- and low-income earners access affordable insurance protection policies," said OIC secretary-general Suthiphon Thaveechaiyagarn. The insurance industry regulator also plans to develop products such as pension insurance, lifetime insurance, long-term care insurance, insurance policies covering a variety of agricultural crops, fishing insurance, mining insurance and government property insurance. The OIC will discuss the planned schemes with the new government.
Local insurance providers see growth potential in industry The Myanmar Times 18th Jun 2019
The government is expecting a total of 29 foreign and local life and non-life insurance companies to operate in Myanmar. So far, four foreign life insurance companies have applied to form joint ventures with local partners while five non-life foreign insurance companies may also form similar partnerships, Daw Sandar Oo, the Chair of Myanmar Insurance Association, said during the Into Myanmar: Insurance Summit 2019 in Yangon yesterday. In Myanmar, insurance penetration stands at just 0.07 percent of GDP, with the market valued at just US$70 million in 2016-17. Non-life insurers contributed to more than 70pc of the market. There are 30 categories of insurance products now being offered, with property insurance representing 80pc of total non-life income, according to Myanmar Insurance Association.
Vietnamese, Lao investment ministries enhance co-operation VietNamNet 24th Jun 2019
The Ministries of Planning and Investment of Việt Nam and Laos signed an agreement on bilateral co-operation for the 2019-2021 period during talks between the two ministers in Vientiane on June 22. At the talks, Lao Minister of Planning and Investment Suphan Keomixay hailed the significance of the Vietnamese delegation’s visit as it helped tighten the comprehensive co-operation and special solidarity between Laos and Việt Nam. Both he and the Vietnamese Minister, Nguyen Chi Dung, agreed the two ministries and the cooperation committees they chair should work closely to address difficulties in investment, improve the business climate, facilitate connections between the two countries’ enterprises and diversify trade activities to achieve a stable growth rate of 10-15 per cent a year. Dung suggested both sides continue implementing memoranda of understanding on development co-operation, saying the Vietnamese ministry will boost collaboration with the Lao side in training and experience sharing.The two sides agreed to focus on speeding up investment and assistance projects, particularly those related to transport connectivity.
Thai and Lao central banks ink MoU on banking supervision The Nation 24th Jun 2019
The central banks of Thailand and Laos on Monday signed a memorandum of understanding on banking supervision.Veerathai Santiprabhob, governor of the Bank of Thailand, and Sonexay Sitphaxay, governor of the Bank of the Lao PDR, put their names to the document.The MoU serves as a solid foundation for effective cooperation in the supervision of banking organisations operating in both countries, in accordance with the principles set out in the Basel Core Principles for Effective Banking Supervision, they said.
LaoVietBank helps connect Vietnamese, Lao economies vietnamplus.vn 23rd Jun 2019
The Lao Viet Joint Venture Bank (LaoVietBank) has become a bridge connecting the economies of Vietnam and Laos over the past years and a symbol of the bilateral special friendship, Lao Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Somdee Duangdee has said. The Lao Deputy PM made the statement at a ceremony held by the bank in Vientiane on June 22 to receive a first-class Labour Order presented by the Lao State and celebrate its 20th founding anniversary (June 22, 1999-2019).
We'll optimise liquidity management for more stable financial market: PNB Bernama.com 1st Jul 2019
Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB) will insulate itself by optimising its liquidity management and continuing to diversify its asset classes to further contribute to a more stable condition in the domestic financial market, says group chairman Tan Sri Dr Zeti Aziz. “PNB has an important role to contribute to the financial market, and given the fact that we have inflow of funds from our unit holders, we can invest in new funds therefore we are diversifying our assets into better liquidity management,” she told reporters during a media briefing on PNB’s first half performance here today. The former Bank Negara governor said that the size of the local financial market is significant and Malaysia has a flexible exchange rate with the economy well adjusted to it. This has created a more resilient economy, with the corporate sector showing greater activity and growing in capital inflows.
Dr M: Government may tax e-commerce businesses MSN 28th Jun 2019
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said he has floated the idea of Malaysia taxing e-commerce and sharing economy-related activities during the Plenary Session of the 34th Asean Summit. “I mentioned about tax, now that we have online businesses... we don’t know who is making the profit. “Online business is affecting other businesses. I said Amazon sells books and bookstores have had to close down.
CEO: Time for e-wallet environment to consolidate Ganeshwaran Kana 19th Jun 2019
The Malaysian e-wallet environment is ripe for consolidation, say top industry players. Representatives from key e-wallet providers namely Boost, TNG Digital and Maybank said in a forum yesterday that only a few service providers will be able to sustain operationally over the long run. ...TNG Digital chief executive officer Syahrunizam Samsudin said Malaysia has more e-wallet providers than the world’s second largest economy, China.
BNM international reserves at US$102.8b as at May 15 New Straits Times 18th Jun 2019
Bank Negara Malaysia’s (BNM) international reserves stood at US$102.8 billion as at May 15, 2019 from US$103.4 billion at April 30, 2019. In a statement, the central bank said the reserves position is sufficient to finance 7.4 months of retained imports and is 1.1 time total short-term external debt. BNM said the main components of the international reserves, as at April 15, comprised foreign currency reserves at US$96.6 billion, International Monetary Fund reserves position (US$1.1 billion), Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) (US$1.1 billion), gold (US$1.6 billion) and other reserve assets (US$2.4 billion).
Laos approves new law to safeguard local products Phnom Penh Post 18th Jun 2019
Laos’ National Assembly (NA) on Friday approved a new law relating to anti-dumping and countervailing duties in order to protect domestic products from unfair imports. Laos’ Minister of Industry and Commerce Khemmani Pholsena (pictured, Vientiane Times) told the assembly’s ongoing session on Friday that the enactment of the law was part of Laos’ efforts to fulfil its obligations as a member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). She said if Laos does not have the law, it cannot apply anti-dumping and countervailing duty measures against the unfairly imported products.
BNM seeks feedback on electronic trading policy framework MSN 17th Jun 2019
Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) is seeking written feedback on the planned policy framework in its exposure draft which indicates the central bank's requirements on market participants that offer electronic trading platform services within the Malaysian wholesale financial markets.In a statement today, BNM said wholesale financial markets refer specifically to money and foreign exchange markets. BNM said money market instruments refer to products like negotiable instruments of deposit, bills, bankers acceptance and repurchase agreements. Foreign exchange products include spot, forward, swaps and derivatives thereof of all currency pairs, according to the regulator.
Myanmar Strategic launches 12-month share issuance programme Stock Market Wire 1st Jul 2019
Myanmar Strategic Holdings said it had launched a share issuance programme that would allow it to raise capital over the next 12 months. The move would allow the company to issue up to 480k shares to take advantage investment opportunities and provide additional working capital. Myanmar Strategic said it intended that no shares would be issued at less than $20 per share.
'Myanmar not quite ready for digital economy' The Myanmar Times 18th Jun 2019
Myanmar has prepared a digital transformation roadmap for the years 2018 to 2025 built off a master plan drafted by the Digital Economy Development Committee (DEDC). Yet, the country is not ready for the digital economy, if indicators such as network readiness index, e-government development index, cyber security index and ICT development index are anything to go by. Based on measurements on digital readiness, Myanmar has a long way to go, as indicators showed that the country ranked among the lowest in a 10-member Asean grouping.
New Competition Commission already under fire The Myanmar Times 18th Jun 2019
Myanmar’s professed commitment to competition reform has come under fire after the government packed the new Competition Commission with bureaucrats serving under a minister. Six out of the 11-member body, including the chair, are government officials, while only one identifies as an economist. Appointing Commerce Minister U Than Myint as Commission chair is “questionable” since his own ministry has been called out for protectionism, said U Aung Khant, who heads a Yangon-based policy think tank. The appointment also deviates from international best practices, where governments usually delegate this area of decision-making to technocrats, independent of vested interests and political pressures. For example, none of the competition authorities in India, Hong Kong, Singapore and the UK is headed by a politician. But criticism goes beyond the appointees. Local business people have no idea how serious the Commission is, according to Myanmar businessman U Zaw Naing, who owns an IT firm and who supported Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in the 2015 election.
CBM to approve QR code payment transactions soon The Myanmar Times 18th Jun 2019
Digital payments using QR codes will be introduced to Myanmar as soon as the framework for such payments are ready. Shanghai-based financial services company UnionPay International’s (UPI) QR code system accessible through mobile phones would be made available when the Central Bank of Myanmar (CBM) makes the official announcement. UPI operates as a subsidiary of China UnionPay, which has the largest credit- and debit-card network in the world allowing payments to be transacted through online and mobile platforms.
Modern warehouses deemed vital to e-commerce philstar.com 26th Jun 2019
Aside from office building projects, developers in Cebu are urged to build modern warehouses to support the province vibrant economic growth. Colliers International Philippines believes that building automated warehouse systems will ensure the smooth and cost-efficient system of transferring goods from factories to households in Cebu. “This is particularly important for Cebu developers as modern warehouses are crucial in supporting the growth of the region’s e-commerce,” said Collier’s latest market intelligence report. The significant growth of trading, eCommerce, import and export trade should be supported with modern facilities such as sophisticated warehouses. Colliers believes that developers need to upgrade their warehouses continuously to keep up with the needs of logistics tenants.
Philippines seen as fertile ground for green building industry philstar.com 25th Jun 2019
The International Finance Corp. (IFC), the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, is pushing for the creation of a robust green buildings industry in the country because of mass market potential and the possibility of greater engagement with banks on green finance. In line with its ongoing efforts to groom the sector and ramp up investments in green buildings in the Philippines, IFC technical and business specialists introduced to bankers and property developers last week a so-called resilience tool that can help the financial sector assess the impact of climate and disaster risks to projects seeking green financing. Once it gains foothold, the tool can eventually be used by IFC as a precondition for making its investments through Philippine banks.
ADB To Open New Singapore Office To Expand Private Sector Operations Ministry of Finance Republic of Indonesia 1st Jul 2019
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will open an office in Singapore to support the expansion of its private sector operations. An agreement establishing the new office was signed today on the sidelines of the G20 Summit by ADB President Mr. Takehiko Nakao and Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Mr. Heng Swee Keat. 2 DPM Heng said, “ADB has estimated that developing Asia will need US$1.7 trillion per year in infrastructure investments until 2030 to maintain the region’s growth momentum. To meet this need, Governments will need to work with multi-lateral development banks, to make projects bankable and investible, in order to draw in private capital. We are happy that ADB sees value in tapping on Singapore’s financial and services ecosystem, to catalyze the flow of private capital to meet the infrastructure needs in our region. Singapore looks forward to deepening our relationship with the ADB to help countries in the region realize their Sustainable Development Goals.”
PM says Singapore is seriously studying virtual bank licences South China Morning Post 26th Jun 2019
Singapore is actively studying whether to allow companies with no banking parentage to set up virtual banks, paving the way for start-ups like on-demand services operator Grab to potentially enter the formal financial services industry.
Singapore chosen by Bank for International Settlements for innovation hub centre The Straits Times 30th Jun 2019
The Bank for International Settlements (BIS), dubbed the central bank for the world's central banks, will establish an innovation hub centre in Singapore in a move that Singapore's central bank said reflects the Republic's position as a leading international fintech centre. BIS' Innovation Hub will span multiple locations. It will first set up centres in Basel, Switzerland, and Hong Kong, making use of existing BIS facilities there. Singapore will host its third hub centre, also as part of the plan's first phase. Announcing this on Sunday (June 30), BIS said the role of the hub will be to identify and develop in-depth insights into critical trends in technology affecting central banking.
Thai e-commerce to hit $13bn by 2025 Bangkok Post 1st Jul 2019
Thailand's e-commerce market value is expected to surge to US$13 billion by 2025 from last year's $3 billion on the back of strong global demand for Thai products. The country's e-commerce sector has several product categories that are in global demand. The top five exports sold through cross-border trade in Thailand's e-commerce comprise jewellery and watches, health and beauty products, auto parts, home and garden, and collectibles, said Jenny Hui, general manager of eBay, referring to the Google/Temasek e-Conomy 2018 report.
Bank of Thailand Holds Key Rate as It Warns of Currency's Gains Yahoo Finance 26th Jun 2019
The Bank of Thailand left its benchmark interest rate unchanged for a fourth straight meeting, while at the same time downgrading its economic growth outlook and raising concerns about the strong currency. The Monetary Policy Committee voted unanimously to hold its key rate at 1.75%, the central bank said in a statement on Wednesday, in line with almost all of the forecasts in a Bloomberg survey of economists.
Central bank seen holding key rate despite flagging growth Bangkok Post 24th Jun 2019
Thailand's central bank is expected to keep its benchmark policy rate steady on Wednesday for a fourth straight meeting, a Reuters poll showed, despite slowing growth and the way many Asian central banks have shifted toward easing policy.
E-Commerce needs a new push to reach rural areas VietNamNet 28th Jun 2019
Every year in Viet Nam, farmers struggle to sell their products and in some provinces, they suffer losses when the prices of their agricultural products fall due to excessive supply. Electronic commerce (e-commerce) is seen as a new avenue for them to seek new customers and even expand globally. Last month, nearly 50 businesses that make coconut products in Ben Tre participated in a workshop on e-commerce organised by the Viet Nam E-Commerce Association (VECOM), Lazada Vietnam and Ben Tre Department of Industry and Trade. Many farmers and young businesses in Ben Tre now sell coconut products online through e-commerce platform Lazada.
WHA tech projects seek to foster regional investment Bangkok Post 28th Jun 2019
SET-listed WHA Corporation Plc is planning to develop two new projects, a science park and a high-tech industrial estate, in a bid to link trade and investment from Thailand with counterparts in other Southeast Asian nations. Jareeporn Jarukornsakul, chairman and chief executive, said WHA will reveal investment details in the next few months. "We are confident that two new plans will attract foreign and local investors," she said. "The projects are part of WHA's 2018-23 investment budget totalling 40 billion baht." Ms Jareeporn said WHA's business plans aim to connect Thailand with other Southeast Asia countries, the first group consisting of neighbouring Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia and Vietnam.
Vietnam's business environment needs strong Gov't actions VietNamNet 27th Jun 2019
The Vietnamese economy will grow faster if private companies thrive, but development should be sustained, transparent and secure, heard a meeting on Wednesday. The meeting, named Midterm Vietnam Business Forum 2019, was organised by the Ministry of Planning and Investment and the World Bank in Viet Nam. According to the European Chamber of Commerce in Viet Nam (EuroCham), Viet Nam is a very attractive destination for both domestic and foreign investors. Many European companies have chosen to come to Viet Nam and expanded their operation as much as they can.
Foreign investors to reset Vietnam’s fintech market VietNamNet 25th Jun 2019
The competition in the Vietnamese fintech market is becoming tough, with forecast that only a few big players, with financial support from foreign investors to gain the highest number of customers, can thrive in this crowded market. NextPay Holdings, which has been recently set up by a merger between e-wallet service VIMO and point-of-sale startup mPOS, aims to raise US$30 million from foreign investors as it seeks an upper hand in the Vietnamese fintech market in the context that a major shakeup in the local fintech industry is on the way. According to Nguyen Hoa Binh, chairman of NextPay, now is a good time to merge it up and raise a bigger round to dominate the Vietnam market in the next three years. The fintech industry has a small profit margin, Binh explained, forecasting that in the next two or three years, up to 70 percent of the fintech payment companies in Vietnam will be shut out from the market as the competition in the market heats up.
Cashless payment remains low in Vietnam: CIEM VietNamNet 24th Jun 2019
The ratio of cashless payments in Vietnam remains low, standing at only 11.49 percent of total means of payment, according to a recent report from the Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM). Up to 99 percent of transactions for goods and services valued below 100,000 VND (4.3 USD) are paid in cash, said the report. According to a Government plan on cashless payment in the 2016-2020 period approved by the Prime Minister, the ratio of cash transactions will be reduced from 90 percent in 2016 to below 10percent by the end of 2020. The Government has been trying to promote cashless payments in recent years, but a majority of Vietnamese people still prefer cash.
Enterprises need policies for digital economy vietnamnews.vn 18th Jun 2019
Enterprise development and the digital economy need to be prioritised in policies, said Deputy Chairman of Việt Nam's Committee for State Capital Management Hồ Sỹ Hùng. Speaking at a forum on business development held by the Institute for Brand and Competitiveness Strategy in Hà Nội on Tuesday, Hùng said domestic enterprises are still small with limited production capacity. “Enterprise development is vital for operational efficiency, job creation and prosperity of the economy,” Hùng said. The dynamics of the business sector depend on the quality of the regulatory environment. If there are effective regulations, it will help businesses save money and participate in the market fairly, contributing to cutting transaction costs, protecting investors and promoting competition,” he added.
Government urged to help grow private sector vietnamnews.vn 18th Jun 2019
HÀ NỘI Private Vietnamese firms have asked the Government to push administrative reform and build a favourable trade and investment climate to make Việt Nam one of the best places to do business in ASEAN and meet the standards of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The sentiment was expressed by representatives of the Vietnam Private Business Association during a meeting with Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc in Hà Nội on Monday. The association suggested the Government simplify procedures. The private sector currently contributes just 40 per cent of the country's GDP. The association said that if steps are taken to make it easier to do business in Việt Nam, that figure could rise to as much as 80 per cent.
VN to lift Cross-border Trade Transaction index Phnom Penh Post 18th Jun 2019
Vietnam plans to raise the cross-border trade transaction index by three to five places this year compared to last year. By next year, it targets to raise the cross-border trade transaction index by 10-15 places compared to this year. To achieve the goal, the Ministry of Finance will chair and coordinate with relevant ministries and sectors in improving operational efficiency of customs authorities; continuing to implement comprehensive reforms of management, specialised inspections and connection to the National Single Window; enhancing quality and reducing time and cost of loading and unloading and circulating of goods in warehouses, yards and ports; improving quality and reduce time and costs of transportation; and promoting activities to support the implementation of import and export procedures.
Local logistics sector amid the Fourth Industry revolution vietnamnews.vn 18th Jun 2019
Vietnamese logistics firms are embracing technology to optimise their costs and improve their competitiveness, according to experts. According to the Việt Nam Logistics Business Association (VLA), the fourth industrial revolution and breakthroughs in technology have brought about many changes in the logistics industry. Keeping up with technological trends to keep pace with the global industry is essential. But experts said the number of companies using advanced technologies was modest. They said the industry needed to invest more in technology to improve its service quality.
Vietnam fintech sector set for 'bloodbath' competition Nikkei Asian Review 17th Jun 2019
Vietnam's fast-growing but fragmented digital payments market is set for a wave of consolidation following the recent merger of e-wallet service VIMO and point-of-sale startup mPOS, with one analyst predicting a "bloodbath" as competition heats up. VIMO and mPOS announced last week that they have combined their operations and rebranded as NextPay. The new entity, which says it has 1.5 million e-wallet users and more than 35,000 acceptance points across 45 cities, estimates it will handle $1.5 billion worth of payments this year. That would be a significant share of the local market: The total value for digital transactions in Vietnam is estimated to hit $8.5 billion in 2019, according Statista, up 20% on the year.