financializer news A weblog highlighting financial topics making news in the international media.

commission plans: And rarely, except in wartime, have market economies been subjected to the sort of rigid central planning that the Commission now proposes, according to The Japan Times. The program envisages three different carbon dioxide emissions-trading systems. On July 14, the European Commission presented a comprehensive package of measures aimed at achieving massive reductions in EU firms' and households' CO2 emissions in the short term in order to meet the 55% target by 2030 and make the bloc carbon neutral by 2050. ; Never before has the world seen a comparable effort to protect the environment. The Commission plans to expand the existing scheme, which already applies to the energy and chemical sectors and parts of basic industry, to shipping. Moreover, emissions certificates will no longer be allocated free of charge. The EU will also create a new, separate trading system for buildings and road transport. ( As reported in the news.

earnings power: The gauge, which marks its one-year anniversary on Tuesday, was up 59% at its February peak but has since seen more than 551 billion in market value wiped out amid Beijing's clampdown on the sector. ; That has reduced the gain to nearly 6%, compared to more than 40% for the MSCI World Information Technology Index and the Nasdaq-100 Index, according to The Japan Times. The measure also lags onshore peers the Chi Next Index is up 35% in the period. The Hang Seng Tech Index has been on a roller-coaster ride in the last 12 months. The underperformance highlights regulatory risks for one of the fastest-growing sectors of China's economy. The ongoing concern that medium-term earnings power may be dented by their data becoming more of a public good, and privacy becoming more of an issue, remains a headwind, said Joshua Crabb, portfolio manager at Robeco Hong Kong Ltd. Beijing's bold moves to rein in the nation's powerful tech firms such as Jack Ma's Ant Group Co. and Didi Global Inc. have sent global investors fleeing on concerns over China's tighter grips on data while relations with Washington remain difficult. ( As reported in the news.

land access: A cyberattack targeting key South African ports, according to The Japan Times. Events have conspired to drive global supply chains toward a breaking point, threatening the fragile flow of raw materials, parts and consumer goods, according to companies, economists and shipping specialists. ; The delta variant of the coronavirus has devastated parts of Asia and prompted many nations to cut off land access for sailors. Natural disasters in China and Germany. That's left captains unable to rotate weary crews and about 100,000 seafarers stranded at sea beyond their stints in a flashback to 2020 and the height of lockdowns. This is a perilous moment for global supply chains. We're no longer on the cusp of a second crew change crisis, we're in one, said Guy Platten, secretary general of the International Chamber of Shipping. ( As reported in the news.

cyberspace watchdog: Officials from the CAC, the Ministry of Public Security, the Ministry of State Security, the Ministry of Natural Resources, along with tax, transport and antitrust regulators, began an investigation on-site at the company's offices, the cyberspace watchdog said in a statement. ; Regulators are weighing a range of potential punishments, including a fine, suspension of certain operations or the introduction of a state-owned investor, the people said, according to The Japan Times. Also possible is a forced delisting or withdrawal of Didi's U.S. shares, although it's unclear how such an option would play out. Regulators see the ride-hailing giant's decision to go public despite pushback from the Cyberspace Administration of China as a challenge to Beijing's authority, the people said, asking not to be named because the matter is private. Deliberations are at a preliminary phase and the outcomes are far from certain. It's hard to guess what the penalty will be, but I'm sure it will be substantial, said Minxin Pei, a professor of government at Claremont McKenna College in California. Beijing is likely to impose harsher sanctions on Didi than on Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., which swallowed a record 2.8 billion fine after a monthslong antitrust investigation and agreed to initiate measures to protect merchants and customers, the people said. ( As reported in the news.

party oversight: They're looking for ways to stay in cryptocurrency, even if it means testing their luck in lesser-known parts of the ecosystem that may or may not incur the wrath of Beijing. ; While plenty of miners have fled China, these cryptocurrency diehards are betting they can continue to thrive under Communist Party oversight by shifting into lesser-known tokens and decentralized storage technologies with names like Filecoin, Swarm, Silicoin and Chia, according to The Japan Times. It's a high-risk wager at a time when Xi Jinping's government is ramping up scrutiny of energy-intensive industries and anything that could pose a risk to financial stability. But attendees of the event in Chengdu, China, were clear about why they turned up in the middle of a government crackdown on Bitcoin mining. Filecoin is a grey area business that hasn't yet caught regulators' attention, said Tom, who works for a Shanghai-based firm that makes mining machines. Despite the steady drumbeat of headlines on China's cryptocurrency crackdown, the mood at the Chengdu Marriott Hotel Financial Center was generally upbeat. Like many of the people interviewed for this story, he asked not to use his full name given the sensitivity of the topic in China. ( As reported in the news.

policy agenda: The office website of Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy says he is the Nation's Doctor note the capitalization providing Americans with the best scientific information on how to improve their health and reduce the risk of illness and injury, according to The Japan Times. With the nation gorging on politics, this mission statement becomes an invitation to political advocacy. Many people, finding insufficient satisfaction in just doing their jobs, grasp for the prestige and excitement of becoming political performers. Murthy advocates a whole-of-society effort to stop what he calls an infodemic of health misinformation. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a housing policy the eviction moratorium and Murthy, too, has an expansive policy agenda. So, a category of speech is comparable to an infectious disease something government should urgently eradicate. ( As reported in the news.

chinese billionaire: It was Mark Zuckerberg, bobbing up and down on a hydrofoil surfboard, clutching an American flag and exuding all the confidence of a man worth 130 billion. ; The contrast between the social media mogul's July 4 Instagram video and the day's big event in China could hardly have been starker, according to The Japan Times. Regulators in Beijing had just hours earlier banned Didi Global Inc.'s ride-hailing service from app stores, delivering their latest hammer blow to an entrepreneurial elite that once seemed destined to challenge Zuckerberg and his U.S. peers at the top of the world's wealth rankings. But this wasn't the flamboyant Chinese billionaire who disappeared from public view eight months ago. The age of unfettered gains for China's ultrarich now appears to be coming to an abrupt end. Shares of their flagship companies sank by an average 13% during the period the first time in at least six years that they've recorded declines when the broader Chinese equity market was rising. Even as the world's 10 wealthiest people added 209 billion to their net worth in the first half of 2021, China's richest tycoons in the Bloomberg Billionaires Index saw their combined fortunes shrink by 16 billion. ( As reported in the news.

cybersecurity review: A chill has settled over global finance after a fortnight in which China first cracked down on its Uber-like Didi Global Inc. within days of a U.S. trading debut, followed swiftly by the State Council announcing closer scrutiny of all offshore listings, according to The Japan Times. On Saturday, a cybersecurity review was proposed for companies with data on more than 1 million users before they seek to list in foreign countries. ; The warning signs had been flashing for a while. Deals are being shelved and investors are nursing heavy losses. As underwriters totted up a record 1.5 billion in fees last year from helping Chinese firms with initial public offerings offshore, relations between China and the U.S. were at a low ebb. Simultaneously, Chinese President Xi Jinping stepped up oversight of big technology firms, partly to secure the treasure trove of data they control. In December, then-U.S. President Donald Trump signed a bill that could delist Chinese companies that don't meet audit inspection rules. ( As reported in the news.

show growth: While the PBOC said the move isn't a renewed stimulus push, the breadth of the 50 basis-point cut to most banks reserve ratio requirement came as a surprise. ; Data on Thursday is expected to show growth eased in the second quarter to 8% from the record gain of 18.3% in the first quarter, according to a Bloomberg poll of economists, according to The Japan Times. Key readings of retail sales, industrial production and fixed asset investment are all set to moderate too. The changing outlook was underscored Friday when the People's Bank of China cut the amount of cash most banks must hold in reserve in order to boost lending. The PBOC's swift move to lower banks' RRR is one way of making sure the recovery plateaus from here, rather then stumbles. But economists say the softening has come sooner than expected and could now ripple across the world. The economy was always expected to descend from the heights hit during its initial rebound and as last year's low base effect washes out. ( As reported in the news.

masayoshi son: The deal follows the sale of Verizon Communications Inc.'s media division, the bulk of which is the original U.S. version of the Yahoo web portal, to private equity firm Apollo Global Management Inc. for 5 billion. ; Yahoo Inc. was one of Son's early big investments, who built a 100 million stake in one of the original web startups in the mid-90s, according to The Japan Times. He subsequently formed the joint venture Yahoo Japan Corp., which over the years morphed into tech and e-commerce platform Z Holdings as Yahoo sold off its core assets. But it still has value in Japan, where the once-illustrious marquee just sold for 178.5 billion 1.6 billion . Z Holdings Inc., a unit of Masayoshi Son's Soft Bank Group Corp., agreed to buy the rights to the Yahoo name in Japan to replace an existing licensing agreement. While the Yahoo brand has fallen from favor on the English-language internet, it is a vital part of the Z Holdings portfolio, along with messaging app Line, fashion e-commerce outlet Zozo and mobile payment platform Pay Pay. The Yahoo Japan top page alone brought in almost the same number of users as You Tube. Yahoo brands made up four of the top-10 visited websites in Japan in 2020, according to a survey by Values Inc. ( As reported in the news.

non-discretionary spending: Cuts to non-discretionary spending are also part of the plan, according to The Japan Times. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is pushing for investment into green and digital technologies even as the government struggles under the developed world's heaviest debt burden. Under the plan, ministries get 3 to spend on projects in targeted areas including the environment and digitalization for every yen they're able to cut from other spending, according to documents released by the Cabinet Office Wednesday. ; The plan calls for cuts of 10% to discretionary spending, which totaled 14.9 trillion 135 billion last year across the country's ministries. The new budgeting mechanism is an attempt to square that circle by providing incentives for Japan's bureaucrats to cut costs while also funding the country's new growth projects. Analysts are skeptical the goal will be met, but the new budgeting incentives could at least help. Like many countries, Japan has adopted new targets for reducing greenhouse gases, aiming for net-zero emissions by 2050. ( As reported in the news.

year: Gone are the days when a long, lucrative career in finance and all the social capital that comes with it seemed appealing. ; But the real reason no one wants to work in banking isn't just the terrible hours and a generational awakening, according to The Japan Times. It's that, like banks themselves, the work isn't what it used to be. Post-pandemic life has been an opportunity for introspection. Sources of investment banking revenue have been the same for years. Slides that proposed companies for mergers have shown up in pitchbooks year after year. Bankers have been talking the same old book. ( As reported in the news.

challenge son: Son may relinquish the chief executive officer title and hopes to have an idea of who his successor will be at around 69, according to The Japan Times. For now, the 63-year-old CEO, unusually wearing reading glasses during his presentation, said he feels energized thanks to advanced medical technology. ; Coming up with a plan for who will succeed Son is Soft Bank's biggest challenge, according to Yuko Kawamoto, who just stepped down as director after one year on the job. Son, who has often indicated he plans to find his replacement in his 60s, may stay on as the chairman into his 70s, the billionaire told shareholders during their annual meeting Wednesday. She had been the first female board member for the conglomerate and shareholders approved the appointment of another, Koei Tecmo Holdings Co. Investors also asked about plans for more share repurchases and the possibility of taking the company private through a slow-motion management buyout. Chairman Keiko Erikawa, at the meeting. ( As reported in the news.

day: The Tokyo market got off to a mixed start, according to The Japan Times. The Nikkei rose on the strength of higher semiconductor-related stocks after the tech-heavy Nasdaq index rewrote its record high on Tuesday, while the Topix met with profit-taking after the previous day's sharp rally took back more than it lost Monday. The 225-issue Nikkei average of the Tokyo Stock Exchange inched down 9.24 points, or 0.03%, to close at 28,874.89, after rocketing 873.20 points Tuesday. ; The Topix index of all first section issues ended 10.39 points, or 0.53%, lower at 1,949.14, following a gain of 60.08 points the day before. Stocks weakened in the afternoon as investors sold on the rally, pulling down the Nikkei to around the previous day's close. The Nikkei was capped at around 29,000, as it has been for a while, Maki Sawada, strategist at Nomura Securities Co., said. The market then struggled for direction amid a dearth of new market-moving factors. ( As reported in the news.

ueno facility: Zoo director Yutaka Fukuda said the twin birth was a first for the Ueno facility, according to The Japan Times. When I heard the news that the second baby was born, I couldn't help but whoop, he told reporters. They were born in the early hours of Wednesday, the zoo said in a statement, adding that it had not yet confirmed the sex of the pair. ; Officials are currently doing their best to protect and observe the mother and babies, the statement added. One of the babies, weighing in at 124 grams, was placed in an incubator, spokesman Naoya Ohashi said in a news conference later. When pandas have twins, they usually only raise one, so we will be making sure the mother panda will breastfeed one while we keep the other in the incubator, Ohashi said. The mother panda is in good health, and carefully looking after the other baby, he added. ( As reported in the news.

bri projects: But until now we haven't offered a positive alternative that reflects our values, our standards and our way of doing business, according to The Japan Times. China's BRI is a multitrillion-dollar infrastructure project launched in 2013 by President Xi Jinping involving development and investment initiatives that would stretch from Asia to Europe and beyond. The official, who spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity, said the United States would also push the other G7 leaders for concrete action on forced labor in China, and to include criticism of Beijing in their final communique ; This is not just about confronting or taking on China, the official said. More than 100 countries have signed agreements with China to cooperate in BRI projects like railways, ports, highways and other infrastructure. In March, Biden said he had suggested to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is hosting the three-day G7 leaders' summit in southwest England, that democratic countries should develop their own rival plan. According to a Refinitiv database, as of mid-last year, more than 2,600 projects at a cost of 3.7 trillion were linked to the initiative, although the Chinese Foreign Ministry said last June that about 20% of projects had been seriously affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. ( As reported in the news.

caregiving: The program took aim at the government's kaigo hoken caregiving insurance system implemented in 2000 and to which everyone starting at age 40 contributes, according to The Japan Times. Although the problems inherent in the system have been discussed previously, the pandemic has exacerbated them, making them even more apparent since the well-publicized aging of Japanese society has yet to peak. Japan's public broadcaster, NHK, is running a series of special reports on how the pandemic is changing the world, and the May 23 installment was about senior caregiving services. Demand for services will increase over the next decade even as the caregiving insurance system collapses. One of the sectors hardest hit by the pandemic is resident facilities, which became hotbeds of infection clusters early on, thus bringing to the fore one of the main purposes of the caregiving insurance system, which is to encourage and promote care at home, where seniors can be attended to either by family members or contracted home helpers. So far, media coverage has focused on the lack of caregivers owing to low pay and difficult working conditions. ( As reported in the news.

fintech officer: The environment the country is building enables these fintech players to find opportunities to see if their early ideas translate into real value in the long run, according to The Japan Times. Mohanty, who spent 17 years at Citigroup Inc. before taking the position at the central bank in 2015, is in the fintech role at a time when the industry is fast evolving. Such investments have risen from around 20 million in 2014 to a record 1.1 billion last year, and more is expected this year, Sopnendu Mohanty, the Monetary Authority of Singapore's MAS chief fintech officer, said in an interview. ; We don't have Silicon Valley, but we are trying our best, he said. The MAS' aspirations are central to Singapore's aim to fortify its position as a global financial center where incumbent banks and contesting tech firms compete to provide services to consumers and corporates, though it is also a gatekeeper of standards as companies roll out their businesses. He is also keen to expand a cross-border payments infrastructure, that has kicked off with Thailand allowing people in both countries to almost immediately move money via their mobile phones through government-backed systems. Mohanty has been involved with efforts like Partior the joint venture between JPMorgan Chase & Co., Temasek Holdings Pte. and DBS Group Holdings Ltd. that's a new blockchain-based platform for payments, trade and foreign-exchange settlement. ( As reported in the news.

korean: The ruling was contrary to South Korean Supreme Court rulings in 2018 that had ordered two Japanese companies to compensate South Korean plaintiffs for wartime forced labor, according to The Japan Times. Presiding Judge Kim Yang-ho said that while the plaintiffs have not lost their right to claim damages as individuals under a 1965 claims settlement agreement signed alongside a treaty normalizing ties between the two countries, such a right cannot be exercised through lawsuits. According to one judicial source, what lay behind those rulings, which dismissed Korean plaintiffs' demand for damages from Japanese government and corporations, was judges' personal conviction that is unrestrained by the political winds of the day. ; On Monday, the Seoul Central District Court dismissed a damages lawsuit brought against 16 Japanese companies by 85 plaintiffs and their bereaved families who say they were made to work for them during Japan's 1910-1945 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula. The decision was in line with the Japanese government's position that the issue of compensation was resolved finally and completely by the bilateral agreement, under which Japan provided South Korea with 300 million in grants and 200 million in loans. The court went so far as to say that Japan's economic cooperation provided under the 1965 accord greatly contributed to South Korea's economic growth. The ruling said that if a compulsory execution for compensation follows a ruling in favor of the plaintiffs, and if an international court subsequently rules against South Korea over the case, that would damage the country's relations with Japan and the United States, and its national security. ( As reported in the news.

pricing talks: In a dramatic shift from a year ago, customers rushing to secure supply are left with far less haggling power, leading to ever-higher fees. ; Buyers in Japan agreed to pay a premium of 185 about 20,240 per ton above benchmark London prices for the coming quarter, the highest in six years, according to five people familiar with the matter, according to The Japan Times. That's more than double the level seen a year earlier, when demand suffered due to the global coronavirus outbreak. Producers of the lightweight metal are increasingly calling the shots in pricing talks with Japanese buyers as demand climbs amid a tightening global market driven by economies recovering from the pandemic. Further, in a sign of how clearly the sellers have gained the upper hand, the negotiations involved a rare notice from a producer saying that if its initial offer wasn't agreed to, the price would be raised, according to three of the people who asked not to be identified because talks are private. Japanese buyers seem to have had to accept the higher premium to secure enough supply, because otherwise ingot would be diverted to other countries, said Takeshi Irisawa, an analyst at Tachibana Securities Co. Typically, producers present their highest prices at the start of talks and gradually lower their offer as they seek deals. ( As reported in the news.

security officials: Major decisions involving data security will be made by central national security officials, according to The Japan Times. The law takes effect Sept. 1. Firms found mishandling core state data can be forced to cease operations, have their operating licenses revoked or fined up to 10 million yuan 1.6 million under a law passed Thursday by the Asian nation's top legislative body. ; Companies that leak sensitive data abroad can be hit with similar fines and punishments, and those providing data to overseas law enforcement bodies without permission can face financial penalties up to 5 million yuan and business suspensions, according to the law published on the website of the National People's Congress. Xi's administration has tightened control over the hoard of information produced by the nation's tech companies as part of broader efforts to position China as a leader in big data. The law represents another important piece in the overall data protection regulatory jigsaw in China, Carolyn Bigg, a lawyer who specializes in intellectual property and technology issues with DLA Piper in Hong Kong, said before it was passed. Beijing has been pouring money into data centers and other digital infrastructure to make electronic information a national economic driver and help shore up the Communist Party's legitimacy. ( As reported in the news.

apec host: The trade ministers also said APEC economies will work proactively to support discussions for a temporary waiver of certain intellectual property protections on COVID-19 vaccines, according to The Japan Times. The mention of the waiver was included in the statement as New Zealand has announced its support of a proposal by India and South Africa for the World Trade Organization to temporarily suspend intellectual property protections on the vaccines. The ministers from 21 economies that form the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation met virtually amid the pandemic, with New Zealand, the current APEC host, serving as chair. ; Recognizing the role of extensive COVID-19 immunization as a global public good, we urgently need to accelerate the production and distribution of safe, effective, quality-assured, and affordable COVID-19 vaccines, they said in a joint statement, stressing trade and investment's role in ensuring widespread and equitable access to vaccines. In addition to the joint statement, the ministers issued a separate one on COVID-19 vaccine supply chains that said APEC economies will expedite the flow and transit of all vaccines and related goods through air, sea and land ports. At a pre-meeting news conference, New Zealand Minister for Trade and Export Growth Damien O'Connor, who serves as meeting chair, said the successful distribution of vaccines across the Asia-Pacific region will be critical to the region's recovery. We will consider voluntary actions to reduce the cost of these products for our people, particularly by encouraging each economy to review its own charges levied at the border on COVID-19 vaccines and related goods, the ministers said in the statement. ( As reported in the news.

low-tax countries: Increasingly, income from intangible sources such as drug patents, software and royalties on intellectual property has migrated to these jurisdictions, allowing companies to avoid paying higher taxes in their traditional home countries, according to The Japan Times. What other talks have taken place The G7 accord feeds into a much broader, existing effort. Such a deal aims to end what U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has called a 30-year race to the bottom on corporate tax rates as countries compete to lure multinationals. ; Why a global minimum tax Major economies are aiming to discourage multinationals from shifting profits and tax revenues to low-tax countries regardless of where their sales are made. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has been coordinating tax negotiations among 140 countries for years on rules for taxing cross-border digital services and curbing tax base erosion, including a global corporate minimum tax. If a broad consensus is reached, it will be extremely hard for any low-tax country to try and block an agreement. The OECD and Group of 20 countries aim to reach consensus on both by midyear, but the talks on a global corporate minimum are technically simpler and less contentious. ( As reported in the news.

u.s: From denying its existence, minimizing its seriousness, delaying the delivery of personal-protective equipment and by placing inexperienced people in charge of managing the administration's response, the former president's approach needlessly caused the loss of many lives, according to The Japan Times. In addition, the president's messages were often unclear and at odds with information from the U.S. National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control CDC . While China has successfully controlled the pandemic, other countries including the United States still suffer its consequences. The differences in its evolution throughout the world permits us to draw some lessons on how best to deal with the pandemic, and by studying failed policies, we will be able to better confront future challenges. ; Wrong and right approach The Trump administration's pandemic policies can be best described as a tragedy of errors. Authorities in China were able to implement, from the beginning, draconian measures to prevent the rapid spread of the virus. A note of caution Many experts consider this a gross underreporting by the Chinese authorities, although China's success in controlling the pandemic cannot be denied. From Jan. 3, 2020, to May 17, 2021, there were 104,428 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in China, with 4,858 deaths reported to the World Health Organization. ( As reported in the news.

mass protests: The junta has insisted schools open on Tuesday after a year's absence due to COVID-19, but many educators had already decided they could not return to a job they love, according to The Japan Times. I'm not afraid of their arrest and torture, said Shwe Nadi, a teacher from the commercial capital Yangon. Four months of national turmoil have followed the February ouster of civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, with more than 800 people killed by security forces and a nationwide strike crippling the economy. ; Public school teachers dressed in the green and white uniforms mandated by the education ministry were prominent in the early mass protests, joining railway workers, doctors and civil servants on the streets. Her name has been changed for her safety. The 28-year-old was fired for supporting the civil disobedience movement one of the thousands of teachers and academics the junta has sacked. I'm afraid of becoming a teacher who teaches the students propaganda. ( As reported in the news.

retirement age: In 2016, couples were allowed to have a second baby, although that did little to boost the birthrate, according to The Japan Times. In a meeting presided over by President Xi Jinping on Monday, the Communist Party's Politburo agreed to ease the current two-child restriction and also raise the retirement age, in a bid to boost the labor force. Economists and demographers say authorities will need a range of supportive policies on child care and measures to curb high education and housing costs to make it viable for couples to expand their families. ; China has been gradually reforming its stringent birth policy, which for decades limited most families to having only a single child. It is an important policy move, but the three-children policy alone will not lead to a sustained rebound in the fertility rate, said Yuan Xin, a professor at Nankai University in Tianjin. Some government officials, including researchers at China's central bank, have called for birth limits to be abolished entirely. A whole package of services and polices, such as childcare, tax-rebates for parents, housing subsidies and even gender equality, are needed to create a social environment that encourages parents to have more babies. ( As reported in the news.

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financializer news

A weblog highlighting financial topics making news in the international media.