It’s not often, in my experience at least, that a conversation with a stranger on a long-haul flight turns out to be both useful and edifying from a professional perspective. But that’s what happened to me last week as British Airways ferried me from Singapore to London.
The latest iteration in the drawn-out epic of alleged financial malfeasance at Malaysia’s 1MDB seems straight out of a pulp fiction potboiler. That comes as no surprise, given what has come before, but it is a chilling example of a mindset of fear which has come to grip the citizens of that country.
Expanding stock trading links between Hong Kong and China to cover IPOs is an exciting next step for both markets. It’s also likely to disappoint investors on both sides.
When it comes to the financial markets, South Korea’s biggest problem is China, not its northern neighbour.
Hong Kong maverick Sir David Tang passed away last week at the relatively young age of 63, and the timing of his death seemed peculiarly valedictory for the Hong Kong of old.
Reports of the death of traditional capital raising are greatly exaggerated, at least for the time being. Recent offerings of digital coins have caught investors’ attention, even exceeding the US$200m mark in some cases, but old-fashioned bankers can rest easy while the technology remains confined to closed loops.
When it comes to Chinese bond issues, a giant underwriting syndicate offers little protection against unforced errors.
I marvel at China’s financial system, even though I’m aware that a mountain of bad debt is looming in the background. The latter seems to be one of those facts that markets learn to live with, so that anyone prepared to go long credit or equities is a little like playing the game of truth or dare.
It’s quite easy to think of Asian electric utilities as somewhat stolid state-owned enterprises that don’t have to sing too hard for their supper and are able to tap capital markets for their often huge capex needs as if falling off a log.
The recent stumble of Asia’s high-yield bond market has prompted me to revisit that issue which is always thorny when it comes to high-yield credit: cash leakage.
As your average Luddite of a certain age I confess that rather a few aspects of the technology revolution scare me. It’s not necessarily someone having an apparently superior holiday to my own which is splashed all over Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. I don’t post that stuff anyway so I’m thankfully out of the pictorial comparison game with regard to R&R.