Thursday, February 22 2018 | ASIA TODAY INTERNATIONAL - Reporting the Business that Matters in Asia
Updated: 3 hours 42 min ago
While the deleveraging of the banking system appears to be nearing its end, the number of employees and branches in the sector continues to fall. Solvency and asset quality have further improved. Income remains somewhat weak affected by current interest rates and spending is controlled, but the sector is feeling the impact of the Banco Popular resolution.
In the last few weeks, the debate on private savings as an instrument to supplement public pensions has again intensified. Although this has always been a topic for discussion and analysis, the recent cause was the royal decree that will enable the amount saved in pension plans to be redeemed after 10 years.
Highlights: IOSCO issued a report on the protection of investors of OTC leveraged products. ESRB issued recommendations to address systemic risk for investments funds. ESAs issued a warning regarding virtual currencies. The CNMV presented its action plan for 2018. The PRA issued a consultation regarding algorithmic trading.
The recovery of activity and a strong control of spending anticipate the compliance with the stability target of 2017. With a broadly neutral fiscal stance for 2018 and 2019, Spain will exit the excessive deficit protocol, but it could fail to achieve its targets.
In a world where the rise in the use of the Internet is increasing exponentially, the ability to prove your identity is crucial for the economic, financial and social development. Individuals and companies need identity solutions valid across different services, markets, standards and technologies.
China’s ODI saw a big turnaround as its strong growth momentum in 2016 came to a halt last year due to the authorities’ restrictive measures to curb capital outflows. We use a deal-based database by CGTI to detect where China’s ODI goes. Despite uncertain global political and economic environment, outbound investment by Chinese firms is likely to rise over the long term.
In just a few years the big technology companies have gone from being admired for their constant innovation, offering us new products and services, to being labelled as dangerous all-powerful giants. In the recent Davos forum, without more ado, George Soros accused Facebook and Google of being “obstacles to innovation” and a “menace to democracy”.
Latin America is consolidating the renewal of a growth cycle that began 2017. In the past few months activity figures have been pleasantly surprising in most countries. At the same time, prices of key export commodities have risen substantially.
The economy will grow 3.3% in each of the next 2 years driven by investment and increased external demand, particularly from Brazil and China. Inflation will continue to fall slowly but convergence to the goals will remain a challenge for the Central Bank. It is key to monitor the evolution of the twin deficits (fiscal and external).
Although we predict that crude oil prices will continue to recover this year and beyond, a substantial improvement in these balances will only be achievable in the medium term if the following factors remain: i) strong performance of tax revenues; ii) strict discipline over public spending; and iii) the impulse derived from the manufacturing export sector.
Banxico raised its policy rate by another 25bp to 7.5%, as widely anticipated, and in line with our and consensus call, given recent communication hawkishness and hints from Banxico's governor ahead of the decision. The policy rate is now at a nine year high.
Highlights: ESMA issued guidelines to manage conflict of interest in CCPs, a final ITS on the application of MAR, several work programmes and updated a set of Q&As. EBA updated a guide on risk indicators. BdE and CNMV issued a joint statement on cryptocurrencies and ICOs. Finally, the EC issued a call for feedback regarding public reporting obligations.