Aug 30 (Reuters) - Westports Holdings Bhd:
* LIM BENG KEEM RESIGNS AS CFO Source text: (bit.ly/2Ny8Gv6) Further company coverage:
Aug 30 (Reuters) - Westports Holdings Bhd:
* LIM BENG KEEM RESIGNS AS CFO Source text: (bit.ly/2Ny8Gv6) Further company coverage:
Citigroup Inc trounced first-quarter profit expectations, thanks to a rebound in the broader economy and a jump in investment banking activity, and said it will exit some overseas businesses as new chief executive Jane Fraser starts to make her mark on the country's third-largest lender. Citigroup's share price was broadly flat in afternoon trading. "Our first impression is the incoming CEO Jane Fraser is striking the right cord on messaging a sense of urgency to undertake strategic changes that enhance the profitability profile," UBS analyst Saul Martinez wrote in a note.
Gold jumped to its highest in over a month on Thursday as the dollar and U.S. Treasury yields retreated despite better-than-expected U.S. economic data, pushing more investors to bullion as a refuge against possible inflation ahead. Spot gold rose 1.7% to $1,766.13 per ounce by 11:07 a.m. EDT (1507 GMT), having earlier risen to $1,767.60, its highest since Feb. 26. "A massive amount of inflation is certainly on the horizon and gold is just the best asset to own as we start to see what I would consider some historic levels of inflation," said Jeffrey Sica, founder of Circle Squared Alternative Investments.
Also, 98 cryptocurrencies are now valued at more than $1 billion each.
Bitcoin takes a breather as billionaire investor Mike Novogratz warns of market correction.
Euro zone politicians, courts and policy hawks will pose a stiff challenge this year to the ECB's resolve to pin down the bloc's borrowing costs, precisely at a time when higher U.S. Treasury yields are tempting investors away from European markets. The European Central Bank has held sovereign debt yields low through bond purchases, and recently increased buying in its 1.85 trillion-euro ($2.22 trillion) emergency stimulus scheme, known as PEPP. And it is no longer battling alone to support the euro economy, as the pandemic induced governments to spend more and to create an 800 billion-euro Recovery Fund, seeded by joint European Union borrowing.
The direction of the NZD/USD on Thursday is likely to be determined by trader reaction to the short-term Fibonacci level at .7145.
(Bloomberg) -- Zimbabwe is considering penalizing domestic banks, telecommunications operators and other businesses over what the government describes as profiteering off the hard currency it makes available at auctions.Lenders could face fines and suspensions, while companies that charge a premium for foreign exchange may be banned from participating in the auctions, central bank Governor John Mangudya said in a phone interview from the capital, Harare.“All the malpractices will be targeted,” he said. “There’s no need to chase foreign currency as if it will run out.”President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Monday threatened unspecified actions against “sharks in the financial sector,” according to the state-owned Herald newspaper, which said unidentified entities are profiteering at the public’s expense. The president’s comments were made during a wide-ranging interview he gave to state-owned television that will be aired on April 17 on the eve of Independence Day celebrations, the paper said.Exchange ClosedMnangagwa has previously issued warnings to private companies he blames for undermining his efforts to turn around an economy plagued by annual inflation of 241% and foreign-currency shortages.Last year, his government closed the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange for five weeks and singled out the largest mobile operator, Econet Wireless Zimbabwe Ltd., for undermining the nation’s currency through its mobile-money service. Econet denied the allegations.The impending action is an attempt to prevent manipulation of the foreign-currency auction system, according to the Herald. The system has provided over $800 million to companies since its introduction in June, though high demand for U.S. dollars by importers means that there is only a limited supply.Monetary authorities met with the Bankers Association of Zimbabwe on April 12 to discuss “due diligence and know-your-customer requirements” in order to ensure economic stability, Mangudya said.Ralph Watungwa, president of the Banker’s Association of Zimbabwe, didn’t immediately answer two calls to his mobile phone seeking comment.Zimbabwe reintroduced its own currency in 2019 after a 10-year hiatus and has been battling bouts of high inflation and shortages of everything from foreign currency to food. The local unit, which was pegged at parity to the U.S. dollar as recently as February 2019, has plunged to 84 per U.S. dollar.The gap between the official exchange rate and parallel market has widened by 36%, with a U.S. dollar selling for 115 Zimbabwean dollars on the streets of Harare.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.
Bitcoin is currently trading at record highs of $64,500 as cryptocurrency fever spreads amid the listing of Coinbase on Nasdaq.
Stocks traded mixed Wednesday afternoon, with traders digesting a slew of earnings results from big banks that largely topped expectations. The Dow set a fresh record high as shares of Goldman Sachs advanced after the company reported better-than-expected quarterly results.
(Bloomberg) -- It’s been 11 weeks since Lai Xiaomin, the man once known as the God of Wealth, was executed on a cold Friday morning in the Chinese city of Tianjin.But his shadow still hangs over one of the most dramatic corruption stories ever to come out of China – a tale that has now set nerves on edge around the financial world.At its center is China Huarong Asset Management Co., the state financial company that Lai lorded over until getting ensnared in a sweeping crackdown on corruption by China’s leader, Xi Jinping.From Hong Kong to London to New York, questions burn. Will the Chinese government stand behind $23.2 billion that Lai borrowed on overseas markets -- or will international bond investors have to swallow losses? Are key state-owned enterprises like Huarong still too big to fail, as global finance has long assumed – or will these companies be allowed to stumble, just like anyone else?The answers will have huge implications for China and markets across Asia. Should Huarong fail to pay back its debts in full, the development would cast doubt over a core tenet of Chinese investment: the assumed government backing for important state-owned enterprises, or SOEs.“A default at a central state-owned company like Huarong is unprecedented,” said Owen Gallimore, head of credit strategy at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group. Should one occur, he said, it would mark “a watershed moment” for Chinese and Asian credit markets.Not since the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s has the issue weighed so heavily. Huarong bonds -- among the most widely held SOE debt worldwide -- recently fell to a record low of about 52 cents on the dollar. That’s not the pennies on a dollar normally associated with deeply troubled companies elsewhere, but it’s practically unheard of for an SOE.Fears of a near-term default eased on Thursday after the company was said to have prepared funds for full repayment of a S$600 million ($450 million) offshore bond due April 27. Huarong plans to pay on the due date, according to a person familiar with the matter, who asked not to be named discussing private information.That’s a drop in the ocean and won’t remove investor concerns. All told, Huarong owes bondholders at home and abroad the equivalent of $42 billion. Some $17.1 billion of that falls due by the end of 2022, according to Bloomberg-compiled data.Bad BankIt wasn’t supposed to be this way. Huarong was created in the aftermath of the ‘90s Asian collapse to avert another crisis, not cause one. The idea was to contain a swelling wave of bad loans threatening Chinese banks. Huarong was to serve as a “bad bank,” a safe repository for the billions in souring loans made to state companies.Along with three other bad banks, Huarong swapped delinquent debts for stakes in hundreds of big SOEs and, in the process, helped turn around chronic money-losers like the giant China Petroleum & Chemical Corp.After Lai took over in 2012, Huarong reached for more, pushing into investment banking, trusts, real estate and positioning itself as a key player in China’s $54 trillion financial industry.Before long, global banks came knocking. In 2013, for instance, Shane Zhang, co-head of Asia-Pacific investment banking at Morgan Stanley, met with Lai. Zhang said his company was “very optimistic” about the future of Huarong, according to a statement posted on Huarong’s website at the time.Before Huarong went public in Hong Kong in 2015, it sold a $2.4 billion stake to a group of investors including Warburg Pincus, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., and Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund. BlackRock Inc. and Vanguard Group acquired lots of stock too, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The stock has collapsed 67% since its listing.Lai had no trouble financing his grand ambitions. A big reason: Everyone thought Beijing would always stand behind a key company like Huarong. It easily borrowed money in the offshore market at rates as low as 2.1%. It borrowed still more in the domestic interbank market. Along the way Lai transformed Huarong into a powerful shadow lender, extending credit to companies that banks turned away.The truth was darker. Lai, a former senior official at the nation’s banking regulator, doled out loans with little oversight from his board or risk management committee.One Huarong credit officer said Lai personally called the shots on most of the offshore corporate loans underwritten by her division.Money also flowed to projects disguised as parts of China’s push to build railroads, ports and more around the world – the so-called Belt and Road Initiative, according to an executive at a state bank. Huarong didn’t immediately reply to questions on its lending practices.Given Lai’s fate, both people spoke on the condition of anonymity.Huarong snapped up more than half of the 510 billion yuan in distressed debts disposed of by Chinese banks in 2016. At its peak, Lai’s sprawling empire had almost 200 units at home and abroad. He boasted in 2017 that Huarong, having reached the Hong Kong stock exchange, would soon go public in mainland China, too.The IPO never happened. Lai was arrested in 2018 and subsequently confessed to a range of economic crimes in a state TV show. He spoke of trunk-loads of cash being spirited into a Beijing apartment he’d dubbed “the supermarket.” Authorities said they discovered 200 million yuan there. Expensive real estate, luxury watches, art, gold – the list of Lai’s treasure ran on.This past January, Lai was found guilty by the Secondary Intermediate People’s Court in Tianjin of accepting of $277 million in bribes between 2008 and 2018. He was put to death three weeks later – a rare use of capital punishment for economic crimes. Some took the execution as a message from China’s leader, Xi Jinping: my crackdown on corruption will roll on.At Huarong, the bottom has fallen out. Net income plummeted 95% from 2017 to 2019, to 1.4 billion yuan, and then sank 92% during the first half of 2020. Assets have shriveled by 165 billion yuan.The company on April 1 announced that it would delay its 2020 results, saying its auditor needed more time. The influential Caixin magazine this week openly speculated about Huarong’s fate, including the possibility of bankruptcy. Its credit outlook was put on review for a potential downgrade by all three top rating firms.According to people familiar with the matter, Huarong has proposed a sweeping restructuring. The plan would involve offloading its money-losing, non-core businesses. Huarong is still trying to get a handle on what those businesses might be worth. The proposal, which the government would have to approve, helps explain why the company delayed its 2020 results, the people said.Company executives have been meeting with peers at state banks to assuage their concerns over the past two weeks, a Huarong official said.The Chinese finance ministry has raised another possibility: transferring its stake in Huarong to a unit of the nation’s sovereign wealth fund that could then sort out the assorted debt problems. Regulators have held several meetings to discuss the company’s plight, according to people familiar with the matter.In an emailed response to questions from Bloomberg, Huarong said it has “adequate liquidity” and plans to announce the expected date of its 2020 earnings release after consulting with auditors. China’s banking and insurance regulator didn’t immediately respond to a request seeking comment on Huarong’s situation.News the company aims to repay a note due this month helped its bonds rebound from record lows on Thursday. It’s not just about cost of funding though, said Thu Ha Chow, a portfolio manager at Loomis Sayles Investments Asia in Singapore. For Huarong to access the market it will need “a clear and definitive commitment,” from China’s finance ministry toward the offshore debt or clarity on a restructuring, she said.One thing is sure: Huarong is part of a much bigger problem in China. State-owned enterprises are shouldering the equivalent of $4.1 trillion in debt, and a growing number of them are struggling to keep current with creditors. In all, SOEs reneged on a record 79.5 billion yuan of local bonds in 2020, lifting their share of onshore payment failures to 57% from just 8.5% a year earlier, according to Fitch Ratings. The figure jumped to 72% in the first quarter of 2021.The shockwaves from Huarong and these broader debt problems have only begun to reverberate through Chinese finance. Dismantling all or part of Lai’s old empire would show Beijing is willing to accept short-term pain to instill financial discipline among state-owned enterprises.The irony is that Huarong was supposed to fix China’s big debt problem, not cause a new one.“Allowing a state-owned financial institution that undertook the task of resolving troubles of China’s financial system to fail is the worst way to handle risks,” said Feng Jianlin, a Beijing-based chief analyst at research institute FOST. “The authorities must consider the massive risk spillover effects.”(Updates with Loomis Sayles comment in final section)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Administrators to the Australian holding company of Greensill Capital have asked it to clarify a series of payments linked to the brother of founder Lex Greensill, amounting to $174 million.In a report prepared ahead of a creditor meeting scheduled for April 22, Grant Thornton says it’s seeking details on several transactions identified as “payment of proceeds PG Family Trust.”Transactions were recorded between October and December 2019 in a liability account labeled “Repayable Within a Year,” according to the report.“Management have indicated that these transactions in part relate to the sale of shares by Peter Greensill, however at this stage we are not in possession of sufficient documentation to confirm,” the administrators said.“We have made additional inquiries of the directors and management in relation to this account,” they said.A New York-based spokesman for Greensill Capital declined to comment.The report also states administrators couldn’t find record of payment for transferring ownership of the Greensill’s family farming company to Peter Greensill in April last year.The administrators took charge of Greensill Capital Pty Ltd. last month after the lender failed to extend insurance on some of the loans it sourced and packaged. They are now looking to recover cash for creditors, including employees, the Greensill family trust, Credit Suisse Group AG and Softbank Group Corp. They also recommended creditors wind up the company at next week’s meeting.The holding company has $777 million of receivables owed by the U.K. operating unit, and $1.1 billion of external debt, according to the report.The 37 employees of the unit are likely to be paid in full, while any payment to unsecured creditors will depend on the recovery of assets in the U.K. and Germany.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.
While demand for gold bullion coins is increasing, gold and precious metals markets have remained remarkably flat, but we believe that is all about to change
NINGBO, China/BEIJING (Reuters) -Chinese automaker Geely, owner of Volvo Cars, on Thursday launched a high-end electric vehicle (EV) brand named Zeekr, targeting China's growing appetite for premium EVs that has boosted sales for Tesla and Chinese peer Nio. Parent Zhejiang Geely Holding Group and Geely Automobile said last month they would jointly invest 2 billion yuan ($306 million) in the new venture, seeking to position Zeekr as a startup under Geely group, also known overseas for its 9.7% stake in Germany's Daimler AG. The price tags for Zeekr cars will be around 300,000 yuan, and Flynn Chen, Zeekr's vice president, said the brand will explore new sales and marketing methods, including allowing customers to subscribe to car-using rights and offering a stake in the company to car buyers.
Also, ether continued to move higher after the Berlin Fork.
Grab’s record-breaking deal to merge with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) will raise an eye-popping $4.5 billion in cash. A quick recap: Singapore-based Grab is poised to have a market value of around $39.6 billion after it combines with a SPAC called Altimeter Growth. Altimeter is basically a $500 million pot of money listed on Nasdaq that was looking for a target to merge with (which is why SPACS are sometimes called “blank check” companies).
(Bloomberg) -- The great stock-market rotation is revitalizing a $1.4 trillion corner of quantitative investing and handing ETF managers a rare opportunity to outperform the S&P 500.Systematic strategies wrapped up in exchange-traded funds -- known as smart-beta products -- took in a record $28 billion in March, according to Bloomberg data. After luring almost $7 billion so far this month, total assets are at the highest ever.Investors betting on a post-pandemic world are sending cash to riskier companies acutely sensitive to the economic cycle -- led by the famed resurgence in the value factor. And as the safety trade in Big Tech eases, equity gains are broadening and popular allocation styles like momentum are rebounding.All that means the smart-beta industry, which touts the virtues of diversification, is looking particularly smart.“Investors have rotated away from mega-cap growth stocks that dominate the broader index-based ETFs toward more economically sensitive styles including value and equal weighted,” said Todd Rosenbluth, director of ETF research for CFRA Research.Leading the way are value equities like banks and travel operators that are coming back as vaccines roll out. Funds tracking value attracted almost $29 billion in the first three months of the year in their best quarter for inflows on record, led by the Vanguard Value ETF (ticker VTV) and the iShares MSCI EAFE Value ETF (EFV).Every fund in that category is ahead of the market in 2021, followed by strong performances from multifactor and dividend ETFs, according to Bloomberg Intelligence.With more and more stocks powering the bull market, some 61% of U.S. large-cap factor funds are beating the S&P 500 versus 16% over the past three years, according to Bloomberg strategists Athanasios Psarofagis and Eric Balchunas.Quality, low volatility and momentum -- which sold off when risk appetite bounced back in early November -- have also stabilized of late. Meanwhile dividend ETFs -- with outsize exposure to value shares -- added a record $5.9 billion in March, followed by $1.9 billion so far this month.At the same time the famous boom in all things ESG and thematic -- from clean energy and robotics to automation -- continues with those categories taking in $11.5 billion and $34.4 billion in the first quarter, respectively.Despite the recent allocations, there’s evidence the smart-beta industry is reaching maturity if you consider a longer time-frame, according to Morningstar Inc.“The slowing pace of organic growth, the year-over-year decline in the number of products on the menu and unrelenting fee competition are signs,” analysts wrote in a recent report.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.
World stock markets extended a five-day run of fresh highs on Thursday, fueled by upbeat earnings and strong U.S. economic data that herald a solid recovery ahead, while Russian markets tumbled at the prospect of the harshest U.S. sanctions in years. Major stock indexes posted record highs, including MSCI's global benchmark, Europe's broad STOXX 600 , the Dow Industrials and the U.S. benchmark S&P 500, as bonds yields tumbled. The 10-year U.S. Treasury note slid below 1.6% to yield 1.563%, a fall of 7.4 basis points that helped spur renewed buying of big tech stocks in the biggest single-day decline in the benchmark's yield in almost three months.
ISTANBUL (Reuters) -Turkey's central bank held rates steady at 19% as expected on Thursday and dropped a pledge to tighten policy further if needed, in its first decision since President Tayyip Erdogan fired the hawkish former governor and sparked a market selloff. In a statement, the bank also ditched last month's pledge to "decisively" maintain a tight monetary policy "for an extended period" to address inflation, which has risen above 16% and been in double-digits for most of the last four years. The lira slipped as much as 0.7% to 8.125 versus the dollar after the bank under new governor Sahap Kavcioglu replaced the hawkish guidance with a softer assessment of risks to inflation that analysts said signalled interest rate cuts were on the way.
Stocks rose sharply Thursday to reach record levels as traders eyed a much stronger than expected print on consumer spending and a sharp improvement in the number of new jobless claims.
Gold fell on Wednesday as an uptick in U.S. Treasury yields weighed on bullion's appeal, while investors awaited speeches by several Federal Reserve officials in the wake of data showing higher inflation. Spot gold fell 0.3% to $1,739.00 per ounce, as of 10:45 a.m. EDT (1445 GMT). The uptick in bond yields seem to be "adding some very light pressure to the (gold) market," said David Meger, director of metals trading at High Ridge Futures.