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ADB cuts Asia growth forecast on slow Covid vaccine rollout

ADB cuts Asia growth forecast on slow Covid vaccine rollout

22-Sep-2021 Intellasia |
AFP |
11:43 AM

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The Asian Development Bank warned of “lasting scars” from the coronavirus pandemic as it cut its 2021 growth forecast for developing Asia on slow vaccination rates, surging infections and crippling lockdowns.

A shortage of doses, which has hampered efforts to inoculate the vast region stretching from the Cook Islands in the Pacific to Kazakhstan in Central Asia, could worsen as evidence of waning vaccine protection increases demand for booster shots, the lender said Wednesday.

The Philippines-based ADB forecast growth of 7.1 percent compared with its previous prediction in April of 7.3 percent and a slight contraction in 2020 but said the recovery “remains fragile”.

Vaccination rates have been uneven across the region, where less than a third of the population was fully protected against Covid-19 at the end of August, the lender said in an update of its flagship Asian Development Outlook.

That compared with more than 50 percent coverage in the United States and nearly 60 percent in the European Union.

The ADB warned that delayed vaccine rollouts and the emergence of new variants were among the biggest risks to the outlook and could have long-term damaging consequences.

“Income losses caused by the pandemic in particular threaten to leave lasting scars and have a multidimensional effect on regional economies,” the ADB said.

Progress on reducing poverty in developing Asia had been set back “at least two years”, and prolonged school closures would lead to higher-than-expected learning and earning losses.

While the regional economy was expected to expand this year and next, the recovery had “diverged” in the first half of 2021 as the hyper-contagious Delta variant ripped through some countries.

In two-thirds of the developing Asian economies, the share of the population that has been fully vaccinated was 30 percent or lower, the ADB said.

“Growth tended to be stronger in economies that had progressed the most in controlling the pandemic,” it said.

East Asia, where vaccination rates were among the highest in the region and governments were quick to contain outbreaks, was set to grow 7.6 percent this year, compared with an earlier forecast of 7.4 percent.

Forecasts were lowered for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, where nations have struggled to obtain enough doses to inoculate their populations as they battle fresh waves of infections.

Southeast Asia, including virus-ravaged Indonesia and the Philippines, was expected to grow 3.1 percent this year, compared with a previous forecast of 4.4 percent.

The ADB expects the Pacific to contract 0.6 percent, after forecasting in April 1.4 percent growth.

https://www.france24.com/en/live-news/20210922-adb-cuts-asia-growth-forecast-on-slow-covid-vaccine-rollout

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Asian trade tense in the shadow of Evergrande and the Fed

Asian trade tense in the shadow of Evergrande and the Fed

22-Sep-2021 Intellasia |
Reuters |
11:42 AM

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Asian stock markets made a cautious start on Wednesday and the dollar held firm amid lingering nerves about the fallout from a looming failure at developer China Evergrande and anticipation the Federal Reserve may move a step closer to tapering.

Japan’s Nikkei (.N225) fell 0.5%. Equity, bond and currency markets in China open for the first time on Wednesday since concern over Evergrande’s predicament triggered a wave of selling and contagion worries around the world.

Singapore-traded FTSE China futures are about 2 percent below Friday’s closing level. Safe-haven assets such as the yen and US Treasuries rose slightly in morning trade.

Globally, markets have calmed following a sharp selloff on Monday, as analysts have downplayed the threat of Evergrande’s troubles becoming a “Lehman moment” and setting off a financial crisis. But stocks have scarcely bounced and commodities remain under pressure as concern shifts to the economic consequences.

Overnight on Wall Street the S&P 500 (.SPX) fell 0.1 percent to sit a little more than 4 percent below a record peak it made early in the month.

S&P 500 futures fell 0.4 percent in early Asia trade and the offshore yuan was under pressure near a one-month low at 6.4850 per dollar. Hong Kong markets are closed for a holiday.

“(The) Evergrande debacle is further stoking concern over the fallout from China’s broadening crackdown,” analysts at Rabobank said in a note to clients, pointing out new rules on everything from online gaming to developers debt levels.

“As a consequence, Evergrande can perhaps be seen not so much as a potential crisis trigger but rather a symptom of a broader policy shift which threatens Chinese growth as politics dominate economic considerations.”

Evergrande as expected missed interest payments due Monday to at least two of its largest bank creditors, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday. The next test looms on Thursday when the firm is due to pay $83.5 million in interest on bonds failure to do so within 30 days would put the bonds in default.

The firm’s distress has already spread to other developers, and an index of high-yield Chinese corporate debt (.MERACYC) predominantly issued by property firms has crumbled. But investors are now anticipating some sort of regulatory response from Beijing and hoping global fallout can be contained.

In currency markets, the dollar stayed bid as traders eyed risks that the Federal Reserve might surprise markets by bringing forward hike projections from 2023 to 2022.

The dollar held firm at $1.1722 against the euro and bought 109.13 yen.

It also kept the heavily-shorted Australian dollar near a one-month low at $0.7229, while the kiwi was under pressure after a central bank official dampened expectations of a big rate hike at next month’s meeting.

The 10-year US Treasury yield was slightly lower at 1.3209%.

Most analysts think the Fed will not go into detail about its tapering plans saving that for November but say risks lie in board members’ “dot plot” of rates projections.

“Even though a tapering announcement is not expected, the dot plot may deliver a hawkish surprise and require Powell to be dovish and push back in the press conference,” said National Australia Bank’s director of economics and markets Tapas Strickland.

The outcome of the Fed’s meeting is announced at 1800 GMT with a news conference half an hour later.

In commodities, copper hovered near a month low and oil prices found support from a relaxation of inbound travel rules, likely to boost airline fuel demand.

Brent crude futures were last up 0.4 percent at $74.64 a barrel and US crude rose 0.4 percent to $70.75. Gold was supported at $1,774 an ounce.

https://www.reuters.com/business/global-markets-wrapup-1-2021-09-22/

Category: FinanceAsia

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Asian shares on edge as day of Fed chair speech arrives

Asian shares on edge as day of Fed chair speech arrives

22-Sep-2021 Intellasia |
Reuters |
10:52 AM

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Asian shares were mixed on Friday morning as slight gains in China were balanced by declines elsewhere and investors globally turned cautious ahead of a long-awaited speech by Fed Chair Jerome Powell.

Remarks from the Federal Reserve’s more hawkish policy makers and a deadly attack in Afghanistan also subdued sentiment and helped the dollar gain against a basket of its peers.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan (.MIAPJ0000PUS) lost 0.1% while Japan’s Nikkei (.N225) shed 0.46%.

Australian (.AXJO) shares fell 0.18%, and Hong Kong (.HSI) and Korea (.KS11) were flat.

However, in a reversal of recent weeks where Chinese stocks weighed on the region, Chinese blue chips (.CSI300) gained 0.57% after China’s central bank made its biggest weekly cash injection into the banking system since February.

“There are three things that are conspiring at the moment to sap sentiment,” said Kyle Rodda, an analyst at IG markets, referencing a weak lead from Wall Street after the attack in Afghanistan, the fact Asian markets had been lagging this week because investors were nervous about the potential for future regulatory crackdowns in China, and caution ahead of the upcoming Jackson Hole Symposium.

Powell is set to speak at 1400 GMT in the Kansas City Fed’s central banking conference, an event normally held in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, which has been often used by Fed policymakers in the past to provide guidance on their future policy.

Traders will analyse Powell’s words for any hints about when the Fed will begin tapering its asset purchasing programme.

Analysts at RBC said in a note that while much of the summer had been spent waiting for the event, there was “skepticism that the Fed will provide more specific information around a timetable … amidst a rise in Delta variant COVID cases.”

Islamic State struck the crowded gates of Kabul airport in a suicide bomb attack on Thursday, killing scores of civilians and at least 13 U.S. troops.

This, along with public remarks by the U.S. Federal Reserve’s hawkish wing urging the central bank to begin paring bond purchases contributed to Wall Street closing slightly lower, ending a streak of all-time closing highs.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (.DJI) fell 0.54%, the S&P 500 (.SPX) lost 0.58%, and the Nasdaq Composite (.IXIC) dropped 0.64%.

Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan said he believed the progress of economic recovery warrants tapering of the Fed’s asset purchases to commence in October or shortly thereafter, following earlier comments from St. Louis Fed President James Bullard, who said the central bank was “coalescing” around a plan to begin tapering.

Early in Asian hours, U.S. stock futures, the S&P 500 e-minis , were flat.

The yield on benchmark 10-year Treasury notes was 1.3441% down from a two-week high of 1.375% set the day before, as traders were cautious ahead of Powell’s speech.

The dollar when measured against a basket of currencies has gained a little from Thursday’s lows. The euro traded at $1.1747 , having eased from the previous day’s high of $1.1779 as a survey showed weaker consumer sentiment in Germany.

U.S. crude ticked up 0.34% to $67.65 a barrel. Brent crude rose 0.25% to $71.27 per barrel, resuming this week’s rally after taking a rest on Thursday, as energy companies began shutting production in the Gulf of Mexico ahead of a potential hurricane forecast to hit on the weekend.

https://www.reuters.com/business/global-markets-wrapup-1-2021-08-27/

Category: FinanceAsia

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ioneer Awards Sulphuric Acid Plant Contract to DuPont Clean Technologies

ioneer Awards Sulphuric Acid Plant Contract to DuPont Clean Technologies

22-Sep-2021 Intellasia |
FTI Consulting |
10:49 AM

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* DuPont Clean Technologies (DuPont) awarded the license, engineering and equipment contract for the Rhyolite Ridge sulphuric acid plant

* DuPont to supply specialised MECS® sulphuric acid technology and equipment to ensure world-leading ultra-low emissions at Rhyolite Ridge

* The plant will produce sulphuric acid for the leach process together with zero-carbon steam and electricity that will drive the entire operation

* MECS® technology selected due to superior performance and emissions control allowing the operation to surpass stringent environmental standards

ioneer Ltd (‘ioneer’ or ‘the Company’) (ASX: INR), an emerging lithium-boron supplier, is pleased to announce it has awarded DuPont Clean Technologies (DuPont) a contract for the license, engineering, and supply of proprietary equipment for the planned sulphuric acid plant (Plant) at the Company’s Rhyolite Ridge Lithium-Boron Project (‘Rhyolite Ridge’ or ‘the Project’) in Nevada, US.

Specialty technology provider DuPont will work with engineering partner SNC-Lavalin on the Plant design, providing best-in-class MECS® sulphuric acid production technology for a Plant with a capacity of 3,500 tonnes[1] per day, and controls that limit emissions to among the lowest in the world for this type of facility.

The DuPont contract is conditional on a final investment decision on the Project by the ioneer Board of Directors.

Employing advanced technologies, the Plant will meet stringent NV Class II air quality standards and water pollution control. DuPont will also supply its latest generation MECS® Super GEAR™ catalyst and other critical proprietary equipment.

The Plant will convert sulphur into commercial grade sulphuric acid, used to leach lithium and boron from the crushed rock.

The heat released in the process will be recovered to produce steam for electricity. The Plant will generate an initial 35 MW of electricity, which is sufficient to power the entire Rhyolite Ridge operation and means ioneer will not draw electricity from the grid. Rhyolite Ridge will be an energy-independent operation, using primarily co-generated, zero-carbon power.

The heat generated will also be used for evaporation and crystallisation processes required to produce lithium carbonate and boric acid.

The Plant’s capability was an instrumental part of ioneer’s receipt of a Class II Air Quality Permit in June 2021 by the State of Nevada Division of Environmental Protection Bureau of Air Pollution Control, which is a requirement for the commencement of Project construction.

Once operational, Rhyolite Ridge is expected to produce 20,600 tonnes per annum (tpa) of lithium carbonate, converting in year four to 22,000 tpa of battery-grade lithium hydroxide, and 174,400 tpa of boric acid. Pending final federal US Department of the Interior (DOI) approval of the Plan of Operation, the Project is expected to begin production in the second half of 2024.

Commenting on the contract, ioneer Managing Director, Bernard Rowe, said:

“Development of the Rhyolite Ridge lithium-boron project is a critical strategic step to enable US production of lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles (EV) and renewable energy storage. ioneer’s core commitment is to produce essential materials in an environmentally and socially responsible and sustainable manner through lowered emissions, reduced water usage and a minimal surface footprint. We are delighted to welcome MECS-DuPont to our team. It is a world-leader in clean technology and emissions control and will work alongside ioneer to deliver this tier-1 project in the US.”

Global business leader of DuPont Clean Technologies, Eli Ben-Shoshan, said:

“We have worked in close partnership with ioneer and SNC-Lavalin to be able to guarantee the precise performance and emissions control ioneer needs for its Rhyolite Ridge project to meet stringent environmental standards and production objectives. We are excited to be part of a project that helps ioneer cleanly produce lithium essential to advancement of electric energy markets and to be able to support it with our many decades of expertise in sulphuric acid plant technology.”

DuPont Clean Technologies brings over 90 years of expertise to best-in-class sulphuric acid plant engineering, processes, energy recovery and environmental technologies, and also provides a range of specialty products and services to numerous other industries. The company has designed more than a thousand customized plants worldwide to enable producers to run efficient, competitive plants with low CAPEX and OPEX costs tailored to suit their feedstock, location, local environmental regulations, energy requirements and industry.

This ASX release has been authorised by ioneer Managing Director, Bernard Rowe.

Category: FinanceAsia, PRAsia

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Evergrande: Asia stocks down as investors weigh China concerns

Evergrande: Asia stocks down as investors weigh China concerns

22-Sep-2021 Intellasia |
BBC |
7:07 AM

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Asian stocks were mixed on Tuesday as concerns persisted over Chinese property group Evergrande and its impact on the global markets.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 index closed 2.2 percent lower, but Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index regained earlier losses to end up 0.5%.

There are concerns that Evergrande a major Chinese property developer is struggling to meet interest payments on more than $300bn of debts.

Regulators have warned it could affect the country’s financial system.

Investors fear that this could hit big banks exposed to Evergrande and companies like it, causing contagion in global markets.

The jitters among the markets also come as the global economy is still recovering from the impact of the coronavirus.

On Monday, the Dow Jones index in the US ended 1.8 percent lower. That followed similar falls in Europe, with Germany’s Dax index losing 2.3%, and the Cac 40 in France down 1.7%.

Major stock exchanges in mainland China were closed on Monday and Tuesday for the annual mid-Autumn festival.

Despite the recent falls, Japan’s Nikkei is up by almost 30 percent compared to a year ago.

‘China’s Lehman moment’

“The fear of an Evergrande bankruptcy appears to be leading to concern about China’s very own Lehman [Brothers] moment, and a big overspill across the region,” said Michael Hewson of CMC Markets.

Investors are also nervous that the US Federal Reserve, which meets on Tuesday and Wednesday, will confirm plans to cut back support for the US economy this year.

Global stocks have rallied as economies reopen and central banks have provided trillions of dollars in support to boost growth.

But there are concerns of a decline if support is taken away at a time when the Delta variant of coronavirus continues to drag on recovery.

Strategists at Morgan Stanley said they expected a 10 percent correction in America’s S&P 500 index as the Fed starts to unwind its support.

They added that signs of a stalling recovery could deepen that slide to 20%.

‘Signal from the noise’

However, other analysts played down fears of a rout, noting that September is typically a bad months for stocks.

“Overall, September continues to live up to its bad reputation as historically the weakest month of the year. But that doesn’t mean it can’t rebound,” said JJ Kinahan, chief market strategist at TD Ameritrade.

And Lindsey Bell of Ally Invest said any pullback may be short-lived.

“Much of investing is about sorting through what’s signal and what’s noise,” she said. “While there is concern about the Evergrande situation infecting global markets, for the long-term investor, this situation may just be noise.

https://news.yahoo.com/us-stocks-tumble-amid-fears-204834175.html

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Asian markets stabilise after rout but Evergrande fears linger

Asian markets stabilise after rout but Evergrande fears linger

22-Sep-2021 Intellasia |
AFP |
7:07 AM

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Equities fluctuated in Asia on Tuesday, with investors nervously keeping an eye on troubled property giant China Evergrande after fears over its possible collapse sparked a rout across global markets.

The crisis at one of China’s biggest developers added to an already downbeat mood on trading floors, where dealers were also juggling an expected tightening of monetary policy by the Federal Reserve, rising Covid infections and a slowing global recovery.

Meanwhile, a battle in Washington to raise the US debt limit was also fuelling concern that the government could miss payments on its debt obligations, sparking a disastrous default.

Hong Kong-listed real estate firms, which took the brunt of the selling on Monday, tanking more than 10 percent, managed to squeeze out gains in the morning as bargain-buyers moved in. But there remains a lot of uncertainty.

Attention is on what happens next in the Evergrande saga, with the firm which is wallowing in debts of more than $300 billion due to pay interest to bondholders on two notes on Thursday. Most experts expect the firm to default on the payments, though it does have a 30-day grace period afterwards.

Still, analysts said the nervousness on markets comes from a lack of clarity from leaders in China, which was observing a national holiday on Monday and Tuesday.

Evergrande’s woes have been exacerbated by strict new rules introduced by Beijing to rein in runaway debt at the country’s developers, essentially cutting off the firm’s ability to finish its properties and make cash.

“Even though most people don’t expect Evergrande to collapse all of a sudden, the silence and a lack of major actions from policymakers is making everyone panic,” Ding Shuang, at Standard Chartered, said.

“I expect China to at least offer some verbal support soon to stabilise sentiment.”

US default warning

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index, which plunged more than three percent Monday, edged up 0.2 percent.

Henderson Land, New World Development, Sino Land and Sun Hung Kai Properties all rose, while Macau-based casino operators also enjoyed gains after last week’s crash fuelled by plans for a government crackdown on the industry.

There were also gains in Sydney and Singapore.

Tokyo lost two percent as traders returning from a long weekend played catch-up with Monday’s global sell-off. Wellington, Manila and Jakarta also fell.

Aside from Evergrande, focus this week is on the Fed’s latest policy meeting, with observers predicting it will set out its timetable for tapering the vast bond-buying monetary easing programme that has been a key driver of a global recovery for more than a year.

Officials have flagged they will begin winding back this year as they look to temper surging inflation but the prospect of the punch bowl being removed is tempering that rally.

“Markets are clearly having some angst on the potential spillover effects from Evergrande, along with some nervousness over the September (policy) meeting,” said Cliff Hodge, of Cornerstone Wealth.

“We’ve been in the camp that we’re overdue for a correction, something in the five to 10 percent range that is a buyable pullback. At the moment, we’re not worried about a market crash. The Fed and Evergrande are not new.”

All three main indexes on Wall Street ended well in the red Monday.

There is a growing concern that US lawmakers will not reach an agreement to raise the country’s debt ceiling to keep the government running and pay its bills, with Republicans against the move.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned in an article for The Wall Street Journal that a default would “likely precipitate a historic financial crisis that would compound the damage of the continuing public health emergency”.

Key figures around 0230 GMT

Hong Kong Hang Seng Index: UP 0.2 percent at 24,135.00

Tokyo Nikkei 225: DOWN 2.0 percent at 29,898.57 (break)

Shanghai Composite: Closed for a holiday

Dollar/yen: UP at 109.54 yen from 109.38 yen at 2050 GMT

euro/dollar: UP at $1.1734 from $1.1726 on Friday

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.3667 from $1.3656

euro/pound: UP at 85.86 pence from 85.84 pence

West Texas Intermediate: UP 0.9 percent at $70.90 per barrel

Brent North Sea crude: UP 0.8 percent at $74.50 per barrel

New York Dow: DOWN 1.8 percent at 33,970.47 (close)

London FTSE 100: DOWN 0.9 percent at 6,903.91 (close)

https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/2185347/asian-markets-stabilise-after-rout-but-evergrande-fears-linger

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Crunch time for Evergrande, but no ‘Lehman moment’

Crunch time for Evergrande, but no ‘Lehman moment’

22-Sep-2021 Intellasia |
AFP-JIJI |
7:07 AM

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With the future of Evergrande hanging in the balance, global markets have plunged on fears that one of China’s biggest developers could collapse and cause a contagion throughout the world’s No. 2 economy and beyond.

Talk of a “Lehman moment” has rung loud this week as worried investors try to ascertain whether the crisis could be a replay of the bankruptcy of Wall Street titan Lehman Brothers during the 2008 global financial crisis.

While predominantly a developer, Evergrande which employs 200,000 people, has a presence in more than 280 cities and claims to indirectly generate 3.8 million Chinese jobs has been on a buying spree for more than a decade.

In that time it has bought Guangzhou FC and turned it into a highly successful club, set up the popular Evergrande Spring mineral water and opened amusement parks it boasted were “bigger” than Disney’s.

It also has an electric car unit as well as investments in tourism, digital operations, insurance, and health.

So, what’s the problem?

Well, that spending spree was paid for by founder Xu Jiayin’s gargantuan borrowing. The firm is now in the hole for more than $300 billion equivalent to 2 percent of China’s GDP and it is having trouble paying that back.

The debt pile became a major issue last year when the government, as part of a drive to address a worrying debt mountain accumulated by property firms, began to unveil a series of measures aimed at reining in their borrowing.

This has severely curtailed its ability to finish properties and sell them to repay its debts.

Banks have already given up expectations of repayment for loans made to the firm, but on Thursday it is due to make payments on two bonds.

It is not expected to meet those either, and while it has 30 days grace it is widely forecast to default.

What happens then?

All eyes are on the government. The property sector is a crucial engine of the Chinese economy estimated to account for around a quarter of GDP and has played a key role in the post-pandemic recovery. Any bankruptcy of such a major company would have major repercussions.

But, as a private company, Beijing might feel less compulsion to stop Evergrande hitting the buffers and could force it to file for bankruptcy, to use it as a warning that no firm is too big to fail and they cannot rely on the state to bail them out.

However, most experts agree the state will not want to see Chinese homebuyers left out of pocket.

Larry Ong from SinoInsider said the “best-case scenario” is that authorities “find a way to keep Evergrande from declaring bankruptcy, give the company’s creditors a glimmer of hope that they will walk away from the debacle with at least something, and avert the triggering of greater social unrest”.

Then there is the prospect of a restructuring with local authorities taking control of parts of the firm, while corporate investment divisions are allowed to go out of business.

But that would be a huge undertaking.

“I think it’s more of a quiet rescue, because they also do not want to explicitly say: hey, I’m here to inject X amount of billions into your books to actually rescue you,” said Kelvin Wong of CMC Markets.

“They do not want to actually create another moral hazard to the market, to say… ‘go on, continue your business as usual of property development, at the end of the day, we will still rescue you.’”

Notably, the group has hired experts including Houlihan Lokey which advised on the restructuring of Lehman Brothers after its collapse in September 2008.

Is this a ‘Lehman moment’?

Apparently not.

Lehman Brothers was a Wall Street behemoth, one of the so-called Big Five investment banks. However, drowning under huge losses linked to sub-prime mortgages, US authorities allowed the firm to go under.

A banking crisis ensued and markets were pummelled, while millions of jobs were lost and lives ruined.

But analysts say conditions are different here.

“I do not think it will be at that kind of level, because I do not see any kind of a securities product that’s been kind of securitised off from Evergrande’s books itself” said CMC’s Wong.

“So what we could see right now is more of a negative feedback loop impact, a sentiment impact that actually spills over to the rest of the world.”

Ratings agency S&P said in a report this week that officials would likely step in, but only if they thought the crisis could cause widespread risks.

“We believe Beijing would only be compelled to step in if there is a far-reaching contagion causing multiple major developers to fail and posing systemic risks to the economy,” it said.

“Evergrande failing alone would unlikely result in such a scenario.”

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2021/09/21/business/evergrande-lehman-moment/

Category: FinanceAsia

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Uber CEO aims for ‘fully green’ food-delivery business

Uber CEO aims for ‘fully green’ food-delivery business

22-Sep-2021 Intellasia |
Bloomberg |
7:07 AM

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Uber Technologies Inc. wants to expand its zero emissions pledge to food-delivery and make the business environmentally sustainable, but Chief Executive Officer Dara Khosrowshahi stopped short of committing to do so by a 2030 deadline for its ride-hailing arm.

The CEO said in an interview that food deliveries Uber makes in Europe are typically carried on scooters and bikes, so it prioritised cars for its green ambitions.

Dara Khosrowshahi Photographer: Samyukta Lakshmi/Bloomberg

Dara Khosrowshahi Photographer: Samyukta Lakshmi/Bloomberg

“We wanted to start with our mainline mobility business, and then based on our learnings there, we will absolutely apply them to delivery as well,” Khosrowshahi said. “I don’t know if it’ll be included in the 2030 target, but we’re absolutely going to look to drive delivery to be fully green as well.”

Ahead of two weeks of climate talks between world leaders known as COP26 several transportation-focused technology firms called for sped-up sustainability targets and expanded urban mobility options.

In a manifesto organised by European city network Polis and backed by Uber, e-scooter operator Lime, air-taxi company Lilium and several others, industry leaders called for Europe to bring forward zero emissions targets for mobility to 2035. The European Union has previously said it aims to be carbon neutral by 2050.

William Todts, executive director of Transport and Environment, an advocacy group, said the manifesto reflects a “good level of ambition” but added that he thought transportation inside major cities should be emissions-free by 2025, and that regulators should impose rules mandating food delivery be emissions free.

“If you create new economic activity you shouldn’t be adding more pollution at this stage,” he added.

There have also been issues for mobility companies pursuing greener businesses. Uber and Lyft Inc.’s 2030 deadline to transition entirely to electric vehicles in North America and Europe has come with a tentative and incomplete approach thus far that trailed broader adoption of electric vehicles in the US’s passenger fleet.

In their manifesto, the companies said cities should prioritise public transportation, embrace artificial intelligence to reduce crashes, and introduce regulation to help deploy self-driving vehicles.

Some of the companies have adopted faster timelines to de-carbonise parts of their business, such as Uber and Lime, which target 2030 to achieve net zero emissions on part or all of their businesses.

In 2020, Uber reported that its total emissions stood at more than 3 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent. Lime’s disclosures excluded Scope 3 emissions, which are emissions that come from its value chain and are likely the biggest portion of its total.

Wayne Ting, chief executive officer Lime, said in an interview that cities needed to add more bike lanes and de-prioritise parking for cars compared to other forms of transport, to encourage people to choose transportation aside from autos.

“These are types of policies that are going to make people think twice before driving a car into a city centre,” he said. “It certainly aligns with our business interests but it also aligns with our core values.”

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2021/09/21/business/uber-ceo-aims-fully-green-food-delivery-business/

Category: FinanceAsia

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Asia markets fight for footing as investors fret over Evergrande crisis

Asia markets fight for footing as investors fret over Evergrande crisis

21-Sep-2021 Intellasia |
Reuters |
12:40 PM

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Asian stocks struggled to shake off contagion fears on Tuesday and selling pressure persisted amid concern that troubles at indebted developer China Evergrande could ripple across the world economy, markets and financial system.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng (.HSI) hit a fresh 11-month low and was down 0.3% by midsession, with a early gains in banks and property stocks paring a little. Japan’s Nikkei (.N225) returned from a market holiday with a drop of almost 2%.

Currency, commodity and bond markets steadied, but overall demand for riskier assets remained low especially as the Federal Reserve is expected to step closer to tapering on Wednesday.

European futures rose 0.5% in the Asia session. FTSE futures advanced 0.7% and S&P 500 futures climbed 0.6% a day after selling hit banks on both sides of the Atlantic and tipped the S&P 500 to its steepest fall in two months.

“For markets to bounce we need to see concrete actions from the authorities to stem any wide spread contagion,” said Dave Wang, a portfolio manager at Nuvest Capital in Singapore.

Though China is on holiday, and mainland markets closed, there was little evidence of that yet, with no mention of Evergrande’s troubles in major Chinese state media.

Evergrande, struggling for cash, owes $305 billion and investors are on edge at the risk a messy failure reverberates through China’s property sector and everything exposed to it – primarily banks and then the broader economy.

China’s yuan steadied in offshore trade to recoup some of the losses that sent it to a three-week low on Monday. Evergrande (3333.HK) shares fell 4% as focus there shifts to Thursday when the company is due to make bond interest payments.

Australia’s stock market (.AXJO) was also barely better than flat as iron ore miners BHP (BHP.AX) and Rio Tinto (RIO.AX) scraped from nine-month troughs plumbed on Monday. Copper hovered near a one-month low on demand fears.

“There is market caution,” said George Boubouras, head of research, at K2 Asset Management in Melbourne.

“However the profit and earnings cycle is far from a bear market,” he said. “Evergrande is a sentiment issue, no doubt. But no Lehman event … it will be addressed, bailed out or restructured if it becomes a notable mainland China problem.”

FED WATCH

The next few days present yet more tests, with the Federal Reserve concluding a two-day meeting on Wednesday and likely to offer some guidance on the tapering outlook and with Evergrande due to meet its bond interest payments on Thursday.

In the currency market, traders took solace from the relative calm in Hong Kong after Monday’s plunge.

The euro traded at $1.1730 , after having touched a near-one-month low of $1.1700 while the safe-haven yen slipped to 109.57 yen to the dollar .

The 10-year U.S. Treasury yield crept up to 1.3277%, with moves capped as markets have an eye to the Fed.

Investors are looking for the tapering timeline on its bond purchases as well as its board members’ long-term rates and economic projections.

“I think the Fed will calm things down and I guess defer their tapering decision till November, said Jarrod Kerr, chief economist at Kiwibank.

This week will also see policy decisions from many other central banks spanning Brazil, Britain, Hungary, Indonesia, Japan, Norway, the Philippines, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan and Turkey.

Oil prices also rebounded a tad in Asia after falling the previous day. U.S. crude futures traded at $70.98 per barrel.

Wobbling cryptocurrencies also found a floor, with bitcoin bouncing from a 1 1/2-month low of $40,193 to trade just shy of $43,000.

https://www.reuters.com/business/global-markets-corrected-wrapup-3pix-2021-09-21/

Category: FinanceAsia

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World shares sink as China Evergrande fears spark risk off

World shares sink as China Evergrande fears spark risk off

21-Sep-2021 Intellasia |
Reuters |
9:52 AM

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World stocks sold off sharply on Monday while safe-haven assets gained as troubles at property group China Evergrande fed concerns about spillover risks to the economy, sparking fresh investor worries ahead of a busy week of central bank meetings.

MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe (.MIWD00000PUS) shed 1.63%, its biggest one-day percentage fall day in about two months, as Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 sagged 1.7 percent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq tumbled 2.2%.

Investors moved into safe havens, with US Treasuries gaining in price, pulling down yields, and gold rising.

Shares in Evergrande (3333.HK), which has been scrambling to raise funds to pay its many lenders, suppliers and investors, closed down 10.2 percent at HK$2.28.

Regulators have warned that its $305 billion of liabilities could spark broader risks to China’s financial system if its debts are not stabilised. read more

“It started with the problems with the China Evergrande real estate company and I think it just has become a contagion,” said Peter Tuz, president of Chase Investment Counsel in Charlottesville, Virginia.

“Everybody was kind of afraid of September for this very reason,” Tuz said. “It seems to be the month that… you have significant selloffs and here we go.”

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (.DJI) fell 614.41 points, or 1.78%, to 33,970.47, the S&P 500 (.SPX) lost 75.26 points, or 1.70%, to 4,357.73 and the Nasdaq Composite (.IXIC) dropped 330.07 points, or 2.19%, to 14,713.90.

Economically sensitive sectors, including financials (.SPSY) and energy (.SPNY), were hit particularly hard. Still, stocks pared losses late with US indexes ending above their session lows.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index (.STOXX) lost 1.67%, with mining stocks (.SXPP) sliding.

The selloff on Monday has seen a cumulative $2.2 trillion of value wiped off the market capitalisation of world equities from a record high of $97 trillion hit on September 6, according to Refinitiv data.

Worries over Evergrande come as a rally in equities has stalled recently with investors focused on the impact of coronavirus cases on the economy, and when central banks will ease back on monetary stimulus.

The US Federal Reserve is due to meet on Tuesday and Wednesday as investors look for when it will begin pulling back on its bond purchases.

Investors were also keeping an eye on other central bank meetings spanning Brazil, Britain, Hungary, Indonesia, Japan, Norway, the Philippines, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan and Turkey.

In currency trading, the dollar index rose 0.02%, with the euro up 0.01 percent to $1.1726.

The offshore Chinese yuan weakened versus the US currency to its lowest level in nearly a month.

Benchmark 10-year notes last rose 16/32 in price to yield 1.3158%, from 1.37 percent late on Friday.

The iShares exchange-traded fund tracking high-yield corporate bonds (HYG.P) fell 0.4%.

US crude settled down 2.3 percent at $70.29 per barrel and Brent settled at $73.92, down 1.9 percent on the day. read more

Spot gold added 0.6 percent to $1,764.30 an ounce, rising off of a one-month low.

https://www.reuters.com/business/global-markets-wrapup-9-graphics-2021-09-20/

Category: FinanceAsia

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