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© 2021 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.
SHENZHEN, China (Reuters) -Chinese telecoms equipment maker Huawei Technologies is making business resilience its top priority with a push to develop its software capabilities as it seeks to overcome U.S. restrictions that have devastated its smartphone business. Huawei was put on an export blacklist by former U.S. President Donald Trump in 2019 and barred from accessing critical technology of U.S. origin, affecting its ability to design its own chips and source components from outside vendors. The ban put Huawei's handset business under immense pressure.
(Bloomberg) -- China just slapped a record antitrust fine on Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. The company thanked the government and investors breathed a sigh of relief.Alibaba’s American depositary receipts climbed 9.3% on Monday in New York, their biggest jump in almost four years. For Jack Ma, the founder of the e-commerce giant, it meant his fortune increased by $2.3 billion to $52.1 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.The $2.8 billion fine is less severe than some investors feared and is based on only 4% of the company’s 2019 domestic sales, far less than the maximum 10% allowed under Chinese law. While the internet giant will have to adjust the way it does business, its vice chairman said regulators won’t impose a radical overhaul of its e-commerce strategy and its chief executive officer declared Alibaba ready to move on.“Alibaba would not have achieved our growth without sound government regulation and service, and the critical oversight, tolerance and support from all of our constituencies have been crucial to our development,” the company said in an open letter. “For this, we are full of gratitude and respect.”Ma, who up until last year was China’s richest person, has lost billions since his nation’s regulators began an anti-monopolistic campaign, halting the initial public offering of his Ant Group Co. payments company just two days before it was scheduled to go public. He is now China’s third-richest person after Zhong Shanshan of bottled-water company Nongfu Spring Co. and Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s Pony Ma.Separately, China’s central bank ordered Ant to become a financial-holding company that will be regulated more like a bank. The move, announced on Monday, will have far-reaching implications for the firm’s growth and its ability to press ahead with an initial public offering. Alibaba shares opened 3.4% higher in Hong Kong on Tuesday.(Updates to include Ant overhaul and stock move in last paragraph)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.
The regulator's statement offers the most detailed look so far at how companies like Alibaba use a controversial business tactic.
(Bloomberg) -- Solar stocks swooned Monday, casting a pall on an Apollo-backed special purpose acquisition company and enabling clean-energy investors to buy in at the same price as Wall Street titans like venture capitalist Chamath Palihapitiya.Apollo Capital Management-sponsored Spartan Acquisition Corp. II fell as much as 0.7% to $10, the price at which investors including Palihapitiya, Coatue Management and funds and accounts managed by BlacRock agreed to invest. That’s 40% below the SPAC’s intraday peak of $16.66 in late January, following an agreement to take solar lender Sunlight Financial LLC public via a reverse merger.As part of that deal, institutional investors committed to a $250 million private stock purchase at $10 a share. Franklin Templeton and Neuberger Berman also participated in the offering.READ MORE: Solar Stock Surge Fades on Search for Post-Lockdown Winners (1)Solar stocks were pummeled Monday, continuing their decline in spite of U.S. President Joe Biden’s infrastructure-focused spending plan that includs green economy initiatives.JinkoSolar Holding Co. appeared to suffer the brunt of the selloff in the wake of a fourth-quarter earnings miss, and was down 7.4% around midday. The Invesco Solar ETF, fell as much as 3.5% to late-March lows. Stocks tracked by the ETF, such as SunPower Corp., First Solar Inc., SolarEdge Technologies Inc. and Sunrun Inc. underperformed the broader market, falling at least 1.1% in New York compared with the S&P 500’s 0.2% decline.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) -- Vingroup JSC is considering a U.S. initial public offering of its car unit VinFast that could raise about $2 billion, according to people familiar with the matter.The biggest carmaker in Vietnam is working with advisers on the potential offering that could take place as soon as this quarter, the people said. An offering could raise as much as $3 billion, said the people, who asked not to be identified as the information is private. The company is seeking a valuation of at least $50 billion after a listing, one of the people said.At $2 billion, VinFast’s IPO would be the biggest ever by a Vietnamese company after Vinhomes JSC’s $1.4 billion first-time share sale in 2018, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The carmaker could also become the first Vietnamese company to list in the U.S. if successful.Shares in Vingroup climbed as much as 5.3% on Tuesday to a record high. They have risen 27% this year, giving the company a market value of about $20 billion.Details of VinFast’s IPO including size and timeline could change as deliberations are ongoing, the people said. A representative for Vingroup declined to comment.VinFast, founded by billionaire Pham Nhat Vuong, began delivering gasoline-powered autos to Vietnamese consumers with BMW-licensed engines in 2019. The carmaker plans a Vietnam roll-out of electric cars later this year and said last month it has received 3,692 local orders. The startup aims to deliver its first electric vehicles to the U.S., Canada and Europe next year and is looking to open a factory in the U.S.(Updates with Vingroup shares in fourth paragraph.)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) -- Net bullish wagers on rising commodity prices fell to the lowest since December last week, raising questions about the commodity supercycle.Money managers are trimming what had been the largest wager for rising commodity prices in at least a decade as stumbling economic reopening efforts force a reconsideration of the popular recovery trade. A recent bond rout raised worries over inflation and surging bulk shipping rates are seen capping any further upswing.There’s a sense that “we have yet to get rid of the coronavirus, with rising cases and extended lockdowns delaying the expected growth sprint,” said Ole Hansen, head of commodities research at Saxo Bank. “The surge in Treasury yields, a stronger dollar and worries that China may tighten liquidity in order to curb inflation are also contributing factors.”Hedge funds’ net bullish positions on a basket of 20 commodities have decreased for six weeks in a row, according to the latest Commodities Futures Trade Commission and ICE data compiled by Bloomberg. That comes after money managers boosted the figure to the highest in data going back to 2011, while prices in the Bloomberg Commodity Spot Index rose to nearly the highest in eight years in February.Commodities had seen a resurgence in interest early this year as major investment banks flagged the start of a new structural bull cycle -- with some even calling for a supercycle comparable to ones that peaked in the 1970s and early 2000s.The idea was that raw materials would benefit as the world emerged from the pandemic and fiscal stimulus programs would sustain a downtrend in the U.S. dollar, thereby making commodities priced in the greenback more attractive. While a return to normal is anticipated, hiccups in recent months surrounding economic reopening plans are clouding the near-term outlook. Meanwhile, the dollar came back from its lows this year alongside rising bond yields.In the last week, investor outflows were most pronounced for oil, with funds weighing whether demand will be strong enough to absorb returning supply in coming months. OPEC and its allies decided earlier this month to gradually ease unprecedented output curbs from May to July, while further out, the market may see more Iranian supply come back if it returns to a nuclear deal.Adding further pressure, volatility-targeted funds like commodity trading advisers underwent “widespread deleveraging” after global benchmark Brent futures’ briefly jumped above $71 a barrel following an attack on Saudi oil facilities in March, Ryan Fitzmaurice, commodities strategist at Rabobank, said in a note Friday.Now, a squeeze on vessels to carry some commodities around the world is adding another risk for investors to consider. The cost of shipping unpacked commodities like grains and iron ore, known as dry bulk, is up more than 50% this year.The move up in shipping costs “makes it more expensive to move things around, which goes contrary to the idea of a supercycle,” Eddie Tofpik, head of technical analysis and senior markets analyst at ADM Investor Services International Ltd., said at an online event last month.Still, calls remain for commodities to continue their price rebound this year after this period of consolidation.“Commodities remain the best performing asset class of 2021,” Goldman Sachs Group Inc. analysts wrote in a report Friday. “We view this consolidation as nothing more than a fleeting speed bump created by logistical bottlenecks in vaccine roll-outs.”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.
Further, core inflation too accelerated to more than a 2-year high, at close to 6.0% which does not offer comfort. Continued comfort on food and goods inflation as production continues to normalize should prove supportive. "Upside from crude oil prices, if any, could be offset by a likely hold or reduction in duties on petroleum products, softening of demand due to a resurgence in COVID-19 infections, and likelihood of a normal monsoon outturn (as per private weather forecasting firm AccuWeather) in 2021."
(Bloomberg) -- For Ahmad BinDawood, last year’s share offering in the eponymous Saudi grocery business was a chance to shape his legacy at the family firm he’s worked at since the age of eight, while cementing a $3.1 billion fortune built over the decades by his father and uncles.As the October public offering of BinDawood Holding Co. got underway, details emerged of some $76 million in previously undisclosed loans made by the Saudi company to family members. In a departure from the traditional secrecy associated with the kingdom’s family firms, Jeddah-based BinDawood revealed everything, put the IPO on hold and gave buyers the chance to take their money back.As the loans were quickly repaid, the sale resumed and eventually raised about $500 million for the family, attracting $29 billion in bids along the way.“We have to be very transparent with investors,” BinDawood said in an interview in Riyadh last month. “If there is any disclosure at any time that we need to make, we will go ahead and do it. So we took this on the shoulder and decided to announce it.”The success of the IPO has helped establish BinDawood, 37, as one of a new breed of Saudi executives rising within a corporate world that was largely off-limits to foreigners until a few years ago. What’s more, it has made him emblematic of a drive to shake up traditional ways of doing business, dovetailing with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s goal of transforming the oil-rich kingdom into a regional business hub.That mold-breaking character can even be seen inside BinDawood stores. The past few months have seen the company doing prominent Valentine’s Day and Easter promotions, a move unthinkable just a few years ago in a country that has historically adhered to a strict Wahhabist interpretation of Islam.Prince Mohammed’s commitment to reshaping the economy isn’t all working in BinDawood’s favor. A sudden decision to triple value added tax last year hit consumer spending. Higher customs duties and fees on expatriates are driving up costs for Saudi firms, too. And all at a time when the Covid-19 pandemic has been stoking unemployment.“We remain cautious of near-to-mid term growth across the consumers space as market size shrinks on potential expat depopulation,” said Mehwish Zafar, a senior equity analyst at Arqaam Capital in Dubai who has a “hold” recommendation on the shares. Like-for-like sales growth will probably be negative until at least 2022, he said, with growth only coming from new store openings or acquisitions.Shares in BinDawood jumped more than 30% in the days immediately after the sale. They have since slipped back, showing as of Monday a gain of about 11.5% from the listing price.It’s a performance that has helped buttress the family’s bid to diversify into other assets while strengthening the core business, a goal identified by Ahmad BinDawood as key to avoiding the kind of strife his father feared might undermine the business as it passed to a new generation.“The majority of family businesses don’t survive the transition to the third generation, and that’s something that concerned my father a lot,” BinDawood said.Pilgrims ProgressThe rise of the BinDawood business has been some 40 years in the making. Once a small-time vendor of Arabian perfumes and groceries to pilgrims visiting the Islamic holy sites of Mecca and Medina, it is now a nationwide concern spanning supermarkets and hypermarkets, hotels and distribution centers. The grocery business alone employs more than 10,000 people across 74 stores.Ahmad BinDawood’s own destiny was sealed as soon as his father, Abdulrazzag BinDawood graduated in the 1980’s from the King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals in Dhahran. Instead of following his peers into the oil industry, he decided to join his brothers Ismail and Abdullah in their burgeoning retail trade.Which is why Ahmad found himself on the front line at such a young age. At just eight, he was helping to sell items to the pilgrims during his school holidays, envious of friends who were away avoiding Saudi Arabia’s scorching summers.“Our friends were traveling and off enjoying themselves and sometimes we would would ask: why not us?” BinDawood said. “But that experience built the passion in us to stay in the business that our father and our uncles built.”A decision to push into online shopping and delivery helped prepare the firm for lockdowns during the coronavirus pandemic, but couldn’t outweigh the hit from the absence of religious tourists who were prevented from entering the kingdom for much of the year. While profit climbed almost 7% last year, it had slumped more than 53% in the fourth quarter as Saudi Arabia reimposed travel restrictions.BinDawood is still optimistic that shoppers will return as travel resumes, though how quickly pilgrims come back to Saudi Arabia in anything like their previous numbers remains uncertain.Next up may be the purchase of a rival grocery chain to expand into neighboring countries, BinDawood said. At the same time, the IPO proceeds will help further develop the BinDawood Group family office, which Ahmad’s father is now running. That fortune, which is split across several family members, is estimated at about $3.1 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.“The IPO had two main angles to it -- sustainability and continuity of the business first, and second the diversification for the family,” he said. “We are in the process of building the family office and bringing in the right talent.”More family businesses are likely to follow in BinDawood’s footsteps. The IPO of Saudi Aramco in 2019, which many Saudis never thought they would see, “has been a massive driver in motivating families to take their operating businesses public to help grow their enterprises and generate new wealth,” said Tayyab Mohamed, co-founder of London-based family office staffing firm, Agreus Group.For all the challenges, Ahmad BinDawood is optimistic, citing his life-long involvement in the business as a foundation for success.“Retail is embedded in our DNA now,” he said.(Updates share performance in ninth paragraph.)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) -- Bond traders searching for a chink in the armor of central banks are starting to look Down Under, where a likely showdown over yield-curve control is set to test the power of policy makers to contain the next wave of reflation bets.The global trading day for bonds begins in earnest in Sydney each morning, giving developments in Australia’s $600 billion sovereign debt market an out-sized impact on sentiment. It was the scene of a dramatic “flash crash” last year when the yield program was announced, illustrating the potential for turmoil.While the Reserve Bank of Australia has largely tamed markets since then, as the economy’s recovery strengthens, wagers against the RBA’s ability to keep yields lower look poised to rise.“If inflation expectations do start to un-anchor, then I think the RBA will be one of the first central banks to be tested by bond traders,” said Shaun Roache, an economist at S&P Global Ratings in Singapore. “The RBA is a canary in the coalmine for central banks as it is ahead in its labor market recovery.”The RBA brought short-sellers quickly to heel when the global bond rout emboldened them to test its grip on yield control in February. After weeks of aggressive positioning by traders, the bank nudged up the cost of speculating on rising rates and the yield on benchmark three-year bonds fell neatly back into line with its 0.1% target.But keeping the market at bay next time may prove more difficult, as vaccination campaigns gather pace in major economies and the U.S. recovery nears an “inflection point,” emboldening traders.If yield control fails in Australia, it may fade away as a potential option for other monetary authorities in need of more policy ammunition. Especially because yield control’s record in Japan -- the only other country to officially employ it -- is patchy.Pinning the rate of one key bond maturity has helped the Bank of Japan reduce borrowing costs in general and also allowed it to slow the pace of bond purchases. But it has come at a cost. The nation’s debt market is lambasted as dysfunctional and an economic recovery strong enough to revive inflation looks as far away as ever.Widening GapBeneath the surface, problems appear to be building Down Under too. While the RBA has its thumb on one specific bond line, there is a large gulf between the yield on this security and those maturing slightly later. There’s also a widening gap to rates on the suite of derivatives linked to three-year yields that flow through into borrowing costs for companies and consumers.Take Australia’s three-year swap rate, an important tool for corporate borrowers to manage interest-rate risks. It surged through February and March, rising to four times the RBA’s target for three-year bonds amid pressure from higher U.S. yields and a rebounding economy at home.Australia’s bond futures tell a similar story. The yield implied by three-year futures doubled in the two weeks to Feb. 26 and remains elevated, even after retreating from its high point.“Lack of liquidity, a central bank that’s digging its heels in -- all that, for us, means there’s going to be more volatility in Aussie rates,” said Kellie Wood, a fixed-income portfolio manager at Schroders Plc’s Australian unit. “The RBA has succeeded in terms of round one. But we are starting to see cracks,” said Wood, who expects the market to challenge the 0.1% target again.Stephen Miller, an investment consultant at GSFM, an arm of Canada’s CI Financial Corp., agrees that higher yields may arrive in Australia sooner than the RBA thinks. “It will be powerless if the U.S. curve shifts upwards and other rates markets follow,” said Miller.Not everyone is prepared to bet against the RBA.For Fidelity International’s Anthony Doyle, taking on the RBA may be a recipe for steep losses if past lessons from the European Central Bank and U.S. Federal Reserve are anything to go by.Nine years ago, then ECB President Mario Draghi vowed to do “whatever it takes” to save the euro, leading to quantitative easing and bond purchases that are still in place. The Fed said more than a year ago that it would buy unlimited amounts of Treasuries to keep borrowing costs at rock-bottom levels, and it’s still holding firm.“I don’t think it’s ever wise to fight anyone that has a printing press,” said Doyle, a cross-asset investment specialist at Fidelity in Sydney. “The RBA as a house holds all the cards. If they want yields lower, they’ll get it.”Yet Governor Philip Lowe isn’t doing everything he could to damp doubts over the RBA’s resolve. His reluctance to make an early switch in the yield target to bonds maturing in November 2024, from ones due in April 2024, is fueling debate about how soon the policy could be wound back.Lowe said at the conclusion of the latest board meeting on April 6 that a decision would be made later this year, without being more specific. He also indicated that the RBA expected to maintain “highly supportive monetary conditions” until at least 2024, even though the number of Australians with a job has returned to pre-pandemic levels.“We don’t think they’ll extend yield-curve control” beyond the current April 2024 bond, said Wood, who warned of potential taper tantrums.Lowe’s February win against short sellers, and a slide in yields at home and abroad over recent weeks, has given the RBA space to breathe. But it’s likely only a matter of time before bond traders come back for round two.“Everybody’s watching how this is going to unfold,” said S&P’s Roache. “The RBA may not want this role, but it is taking quite a starring role I think among global central banks.”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.
The overhaul will force the Alibaba-backed group to become a financial holding firm.
(Bloomberg) -- India’s deepening coronavirus crisis slammed the nation’s stocks and currency on concern it will deliver a fresh blow to an economy that’s only just recovering from the worst contraction in nearly seven decades.The Indian rupee dropped past 75 to a dollar for the first time since August 2020, while the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex Index declined 3.4%, the most in almost two months. India reported a record 168,912 new infections for a day, taking the tally to 13.53 million cases, the government said Monday.Many provinces across the nation, from the financial hub Mumbai to capital New Delhi, are bringing back stricter restrictions on movement of people to curb the surge in cases. Reports are emerging of hospital beds running short and immunization centers turning away people as they run out of vaccines.That and a vaccine shortage “are unnerving markets and no one is sure whether lockdowns will help bring cases under control,” said Deepak Jasani, head of retail research at HDFC Securities. Given the uncertainty, “the incentive to try and bottom-fish at this point is limited for traders.”Taking a BeatingThe NSE Nifty 50 Index dropped 3.5%, making India’s key stock indexes the worst performers in Asia on Monday. All 19 sector sub-indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. slipped, led by a gauge of property and industrial shares.India’s virus resurgence has prompted some brokerages to reconsider their preference for stocks, which are most sensitive to the economic recovery. Nomura cut the weight of financials and cement shares in its model portfolio, while Jefferies downgraded Indian banks to underweight from overweight.Not everyone is pessimistic. India’s long-term outlook remains strong and any decline in equities due to infections should be used as an entry point by investors, according to Prabhudas Lilladher Ltd. India’s gross domestic product is forecast to grow by as much as 12.5% this fiscal year, which would make it the world’s fastest-growing major economy.Bonds held on to last week’s gains, with the yield on the benchmark 10-year notes near the lowest since mid-February, amid optimism the central bank may keep its policy accommodative for long to support the economy. The rupee fell 0.4% to close at 75.0550 per dollar on Monday.“We expect the rupee to weaken versus the USD as have other EM currencies,” and given the slow progress of vaccination, the economy “will be slower to recover,” R Venkataraman, managing director at IIFL Securities, wrote in a note.(Updates with closing prices; adds IIFL analyst’s comment in last paragraph.)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.
The listing could spur newbie investors to try cryptocurrencies.
HSBC and Huawei Technologies' Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou have reached an agreement in a dispute about the publication of documents relating to U.S. fraud allegations against her, their lawyers told a Hong Kong court. The legal dispute reached the Hong Kong court last month after a British judge in February blocked the release of internal HSBC documents relating to the fraud allegations against Meng.
The early price action suggests the direction of the June Comex gold futures contract on Monday is likely to be determined by trader reaction to $1746.90.
It’s good to the be the top dog at Coinbase—better than it is to be the chief of JPMorgan or Goldman Sachs, if CEO Brian Armstrong’s total pay is anything to go by. The direct listing won’t raise any money, which is fine because Coinbase doesn’t need any: The exchange has more than a $1 billion on its balance sheet and raked in about $1.8 billion in revenue during the first three months of the year. How much does Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong get paid?
Who wouldn't love to replicate the investing success achieved by billionaire Warren Buffett? This is why investors are drawn to stories about the "Buffett Indicator."
Shares of Tesla climbed 3% on Monday after Canaccord Genuity raised its rating on the electric car maker to "buy" and compared its brand to Apple. Canaccord Genuity analyst Jed Dorsheimer upgraded Tesla to "buy" from "hold" and increased his price target to $1,071, the second highest among 37 analysts tracked by Refinitiv. "TSLA is rapidly creating an Apple-esque ecosystem of energy products, harmonized in electrification, to become The Brand in energy storage," Dorsheimer wrote in a client note focused on Tesla's battery technology and residential energy products.
(Bloomberg) -- GameStop Corp. fell on Monday, wrapping up its longest losing streak in a year, amid growing skepticism over its long-term potential despite activist Ryan Cohen’s latest efforts to revitalize the company.Shares fell 11% in New York to close at $141.09, their lowest level in more than two weeks, as Reuters reported the video-game retailer is seeking a replacement for the current Chief Executive Officer George Sherman, without naming sources.GameStop didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on the Reuters report.News of the potential change at the company’s helm followed a warning by Ascendiant Capital Markets analyst Edward Woo, who downgraded the retailer to sell from hold, raising questions about the company’s long-term prospect as it faces growing competition from the likes of Microsoft Corp. and Sony Group Corp.GameStop’s Reddit-trading surge is likely to fade and shares will tumble in the long run “to match its current weak results and outlook,” he wrote.GameStop shares surged about 650% this year, pushing its market value to nearly $10 billion thanks in part to optimism over a Cohen-led overhaul. The activist investor has brought on a number of new executives and board members over the past few months as part of his turnaround.Still, trading in GameStop, as with most stocks favored by traders using social platforms like Reddit, has fizzled recently as investors turn their focus elsewhere. The company’s announcement earlier this month that it plans to offer as much as $1 billion in additional shares added to the selling pressure.Read more: Meme Stock Mania Fizzles, Wall Street Sees ‘Big Reckoning’GameStop has suffered with the video-game industry’s shift to online distribution. With gamers downloading more and more there’s less reason to make a trip to a physical store, analysts said. The company reported disappointing fourth-quarter earnings last month.The stock now has five sell-equivalent ratings, compared to two hold ratings and zero buys, data compiled by Bloomberg show. An average price target of $46.50 implies shares will lose two-thirds of their value in the coming year.(Close prices, updates with details throughout)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) -- Walmart Inc.’s e-commerce unit, Flipkart Online Services Pvt., signed a pact with tycoon Gautam Adani’s conglomerate to build one of the largest retail warehouses in India as the U.S. giant gears up to battle Amazon.com Inc. and homegrown rivals in the South Asian nation.The partnership marks the entry of Adani, India’s fastest-rising billionaire, into the three-way fight for domination of India’s online shopping space. Up against the Walmart-Adani alliance is not just Amazon, but also Reliance Industries Ltd., the conglomerate owned by Mukesh Ambani, India and Asia’s richest man.They all want a slice of a market estimated to generate $200 billion in sales by 2026 -- turbocharged by pandemic restrictions that are keeping people away from brick-and-mortar stores.Adani Logistics Ltd., a unit of Adani Ports & Special Economic Zone Ltd., will build a 534,000-square-feet fulfillment center in its upcoming logistics hub at Mumbai and lease it to Flipkart, the companies said in a joint statement Monday. Expected to be operational in the third quarter of 2022, this warehouse -- roughly the size of 11 football fields -- can store 10 million units of inventory, the firms said.Bengaluru-based Flipkart will also develop its third data center at the AdaniConnecX facility in Chennai to help the e-commerce company keep its data within India, according to the statement. Adaniconnex Private Ltd. is a joint venture between U.S.’s EdgeConneX Inc. and Adani Enterprises Limited., the conglomerate’s flagship listed unit.Financial terms of the partnership were not disclosed.More CompetitiveAmazon has already invested heavily in fulfillment centers in India, and its data-centric approach enables it to offer next-day delivery for select products in large cities, according to Utkarsh Sinha, managing director at Mumbai-based consultancy Bexley Advisors. “It will be critical to see if Walmart’s plans follow a similar tech-first infrastructure approach, which could make Flipkart’s delivery and fulfillment more competitive.”The new fulfillment center being planned is likely to be larger in area than the ones operated by Amazon in India so far, underscoring the potential size of the Indian market.“We see this as a great opportunity to serve Flipkart’s physical as well as digital infrastructure needs,” said Karan Adani, chief executive officer of Adani Ports.The partnership is another sign of Adani’s rising clout: his coal mining-to-data centers conglomerate has rapidly expanded and diversified across sectors, adding $24 billion to his net worth this year. Riding a massive rally in his companies’ shares, Adani’s wealth has jumped to almost $58 billion -- the fastest rise in wealth globally.(Updates with analyst comments in the seventh paragraph.)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) -- Inside a six-story high warehouse near Singapore’s Changi airport, a vast hangar-like space is waiting to be filled with a precious metal that usually plays second fiddle to its more lustrous sibling.The vault that’s being built by Silver Bullion Pte Ltd. will -- when completed in the first half of next year --- be able to store 15,000 tons of silver. It’s only holding around 400 tons of the metal at the moment, but the vacant space is an indication that silver appears to be on the cusp of a promising few years.Demand for coins and bars is booming, fueled in part by a Reddit-induced buying frenzy in February that drove prices to an eight-year high. While the fervor has abated, retail interest is still elevated, valuations are relatively cheap and measures are being taken to meet the surge in demand. The amount of silver stored in vaults in London rose 11% in March to a record, according to the London Bullion Market Association.As well as the Singapore vault, JM Bullion, one of the biggest precious metals retailers in the U.S., plans to open a 25,000-square-foot-warehouse in Dallas in June that will be used for storing silver and other precious metals.The metal’s crucial role in the energy transition -- it’s a key component in solar panels -- also looks set to buoy consumption over the longer-term. All this has some analysts forecasting that silver will outperform gold this year.“The outlook for demand growth for silver over the next few years looks very positive, especially across a wide range of industrial applications, including solar, 5G and automotive,” said Philip Klapwijk, managing director of Hong Kong-based consultant Precious Metals Insights Ltd. “That, coupled with ongoing high levels of investment is likely to create the need for more dedicated storage space for silver in bullion and also intermediate forms.”Gregor Gregersen, founder of Silver Bullion, said he started searching for a bigger warehouse two or three years ago and that decision was vindicated last year when demand for the metal surged during the coronavirus pandemic. “The idea is to make this into a really iconic building,” he said during a tour of the vault that will be known as The Reserve. “There isn’t really a facility built specifically to store large quantities of silver securely.”Singapore has a reputation as a stable financial center and has taken steps to position itself as a bullion hub, exempting investment-grade gold, silver and platinum from a goods and services tax.Physical investment in silver, which covers bullion coin and bar purchases, is expected to reach a six-year high of 257 million ounces in 2021, according to the Silver Institute.Spot silver, currently trading around $25 an ounce, is forecast by Citigroup Inc. to peak at $28 to $30 in the second half, aided by “still solid” investment demand and an end to physical de-stocking in China and India. The lender sees the price averaging $27.30 this year. Morgan Stanley, meanwhile sees the metal averaging $25 an ounce in 2021, up 22% from last year.Gold, meanwhile, is stabilizing after its first quarterly loss since 2018 amid high bond yields and optimism over the global economic recovery from the pandemic that’s damping demand for the metal. Citi sees gold, currently fetching around $1,740 an ounce, falling to $1,575 in six to 12 months.Sill, there’s no shortage of silver. The Silver Institute expects the global market to remain in a surplus this year, although it sees the lowest excess since 2015. And even against a backdrop of strong electronics and automotive demand as well as growing solar power investment, silver’s failure to break higher suggests the gold price, real yields and the U.S. dollar remain powerful drags, Morgan Stanley said in a note.“Considering the high correlation of silver to gold, and our bearish outlook for the yellow metal over the next 12 months, we expect silver together with gold to continue to struggle amid higher real interest-rate expectations in the U.S.,” said Giovanni Staunovo, a strategist at UBS Group AG.JM Bullion Chief Executive Officer Michael Wittmeyer is more optimistic. The Reddit-fueled buying frenzy caused a spike in demand from existing silver bugs as well as bringing in a lot of first-time investors in the metal, he said. “We’re just trying to expand our capacity so that next time this happens, we’ll be able to get all these orders shipped more quickly.”The accelerating move away from fossil fuels should also provide an enduring tailwind for silver demand as investment in solar power ramps up. China, Japan and South Korea all set carbon zero targets last year, while the U.S. is considering emissions cuts of 50% or more from 2005 levels by 2030.The energy transition demand should give prices an extra boost, said CPM Group analyst Rohit Savant. Silver will average $27 this year and beat gold due to its relatively cheaper valuation and strong investment demand, he said. Spot silver fell 2% to $24.77 an ounce at 10:40 a.m. in New York on Monday after gaining 1% last week.In Singapore, Silver Bullion’s Gregersen is confident all that currently vacant space in his vault won’t go to waste. “Silver is usually a forgotten metal that people don’t really care much about,” he said. “But it’s starting to shine a bit more and that trend will continue.”(Updates with spot silver price in the 16th paragraph.)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.