When is a BBB- borrower actually a AA+? No, this isn’t financial trickery of the kind made famous in the US subprime fiasco (and perhaps repeated in China in 2012). It’s a new facility offered by the Asian Development Bank to promote cross-border borrowing within Asia.
Under the scheme, the ADB-backed fund guarantees the debt of a corporate issuer, and effectively lends out its rating, regardless of the company’s actual rating. It’s been a year in the making, but finally the scheme has broken the seal. Continue reading »
With concerns about the US Federal Reserve possibly cutting its stimulus programme hitting American markets, it was little surprise to see Asian risk assets getting a battering on Thursday.
But the impact was compounded by unexpected moves from the Chinese authorities to curb the property market and reduce to reduce liquidity. As a result the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index slumped by 1.8 per cent, with China leading the way and Shanghai closing down 3 per cent. Continue reading »
Robust domestic demand, the rise of the middle class and healthy corporate balance sheets are reasons why southeast Asia is being talked up as the last man standing in an otherwise anaemic global economy.
But Thiam Hee Ng, a senior economist at the Asian Development Bank, has sounded a rare note of caution on the region. He points out four factors that should give the boosters pause. Continue reading »
Frederic Neumann, HSBC’s Hong Kong-based economist, has been visiting clients in Europe where the view, apparently, is that Asia is getting dull, offering few obvious risks and little imminent reward. Nobody likes their own patch to be seen as unexciting, of course, but in a note to clients on Monday Neumann presents four reasons why investors should not underestimate Asia’s ability to surprise. Continue reading »