A lack of concern for moral hazard in some corners of China’s debt markets has undoubtedly kept the printing press running over recent years. In fact, the ability of companies and local governments to avoid default and repeatedly raise funds has led many commentators to liken the onshore financial system to a gigantic ponzi scheme.
The era of cheap money was supposed to have ended several times already, but perhaps the message has finally reached the Asian bond market.
The cosy relationship between a core group of Asian credit markets may be about to come to an end. The cost of default protection for China, Malaysia, the Philippines, South Korea and Thailand has been close to parity for a long time, but CDS markets are now digesting another input from President Donald Trump.
Hong Kong’s biotech IPO rush may end up doing more harm than good. Even before the exchange has finalised its new rules exempting biotech companies from the usual profit and revenue tests, the long list of potential floats is prompting talk of a bubble.
What would it take, one wonders, for a financial scandal to create popular uproar in Malaysia?
Xiaomi’s pending IPO is set to be a defining moment for China’s capital markets ambitions. It’s still not clear, however, which way it will go.
Supply pressures are mounting in Asia’s bond markets. Borrowers will need to be careful not to get caught in the crush.
Assuming that the wheels don’t fall off in the financial markets as they did a decade ago, I suspect Belt and Road, or OBOR (One Belt, One Road), as it used to be known, is going to loom large this year. I’m tempted to rename the subject “OBORE” because that’s always been my visceral reaction to what at first blush seems a vanity project of Chinese President Xi Jinping, who conceived the idea of a new Silk Road around five years ago.
As someone who watches the environmental, social and governance (ESG) arena rather closely (as readers of this column are no doubt aware), I often wonder how many of the players who express sincerity in aligning with ESG are simply voicing platitudes rather than actively, as it were, putting their money where their mouth is.
How about a long shot: the reunification of the Korean peninsula. At first blush it seems fanciful, but in South Korea an eventual union has been the received wisdom for a long time.