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|1st Quarter 2021|
|APR 30. Commentary: Malaysia's prospects for economic recovery remains bright, but not everyone may be lifted|
This article articulate a fair scenario of the current Malaysia economy. What is worrying is the lag of employment opportunities along with a slowdown of FDI which is further compounded by a mismatch of skills and jobs. Individuals should seriously consider personal initiative for upskilling and reskilling to be more career competitive going forward. There is also an urgent need for individuals especially self-employed, informal economy participants and microenterprises to be prudent in spending while seeking competent Financial Planner to review their financial portfolios. There is certainly a need to review all potential financial commitments going forward giving a slow recovery not earlier than late 2022.
|APR 18. Citi to exit retail banking in 13 markets across Europe and Asia — including Malaysia|
This comes as a surprised to many given Citi global presence. Is this not a counter productive strategy? Of course not. At a global level it is still about bottom line as it's CEO Jane Fraser said the group has "decided that we are going to double down on wealth", by directing investments and resources to the businesses where it has the greatest scale and growth potential. Citi has always used its marketing and technological expertise to gain market share in the past in Malaysia, amid the restrictions of banking licenses, and it will continue leveraging them to move forward in Asia and Europe. With the advent of artificial intelligence, fintech and social media - there are many untap opportunities for Citi to chart new frontiers to further its market segments and leadership. Of course, Citi will also continue the strategic capitalistic approach i.e., doing less and getting more i.e., Citi will focus on wealth centres located in Singapore, Hong Kong, the United Arab Emirates and London.
|APR 08. HCM aims to be hub for start-ups|
Ho Chi Minh City has approved plans to develop 1,000 start-ups as part of its efforts to become a leading start-up hub in South-East Asia over the next five years. HCM is the new kid on the block in South East Asia unlike Singapore or perhaps Malaysia - which started the Cyberjaya, aspiring to be the Silicon Valley of Malaysia in 1997. Nevertheless, they are hungry and literally a dragon which has awaken from its slumber. Being a latecomer is never the issue. It is all about strategy, passion to succeed and the political will - and they have plenty of these to showcase, see the article The story of Viet Nam's economic miracle. Meanwhile, Malaysia need to review it's strategy as both Vietnam and Indonesia are accelerating its economic development and attracting huge foreign investment while ours are declining. Malaysia FDI drop by a huge 68% year to year as indicated in Malaysia: Foreign Investment. This is indeed worrying and hope it is a serious wakeup call to put a brake and reverse the trend immediately, otherwise it may be too little too late as foreign investment take time to nurture and gestate.
|MAR 25. “Why China is the FinTech Capital of the World?”— 50 Point Summary.|
This is a follow up article from the prior posting and attempt to give readers a feel, facts and figures on fintech in China. It provides sufficient comparison with other fintech application especially in US. There are no mention of Japan and Korea which is also high in fintech, but perhaps in very specific and narrow delivery channel. The comparison indicate a huge gap, even for US, and it seems impossible to bridge it. One reason for this is because China has already build an entire IT ecosystem of which fintech is just another player, delivery channel and stakeholder. The other reason for its success is because it has a top-down approach where the government, along with all their machinery especially the tertiary institutions, are partnering the private and public sector to drive its execution, continuous improvement, advancement and success.
Seemingly, other nations who will be users of fintech will then have to invest and acquire the components of the fintech ecosystem. In short, they will now dictate the reference and terms, configurations and benchmarks, process and systems of fintech. This is just the normal pathways of how corporations in the West once used to dominate, and it now the turn for China as the developed fintech nation to lead all other 'third-world fintech nations'.
|MAR 18. OCBC to roll out face verification at ATMs|
The FinTech is coming to the shore of Singapore and it is just the beginning - the beginning for Singapore but a progressive advancement in China. We in Malaysia is still sitting and watching and perhaps we are 5 years behind Singapore and a decade China. In the rapid speed of technology five years is equivalent to ten or more years in actual time. In this gap the setbacks will be failure to reap greater productivity, lesser operation cost, better foreign investment, lifting the poverty groups, and other spill over benefits for the economy and social landscape across the country.
Technology applied to the financial landscape is a great catalyst and connectivity for business, enterprises, consumers and the global market. It is a worthwhile investment and the tertiary institutions as well as other stakeholders should swiftly align itself to it. A good case study would be China as the entire population including the kids in school or the old vendors in the wet market are already fintech literate - all within a short span of 4-5 years.
|MAR 10. Multitude of coronavirus variants found in the US — but the threat is unclear|
Before we could close the chapter on Covid and its deadly impact on the economy, social and business scenes, and perhaps enjoy some everyday leisure and pleasure - another variant occurs. How unfortunate. This will further add to the twist and anxiety across the globe - again, on all sectors. The biggest spin would perhaps be the vaccine program and its efficacy given the variant seemingly more transmittable ability. Hopefully, the herd immunity will negate or blunt this threat.
This news is a couple of weeks old but as usual the coverage and reporting will also be a couple of weeks old - which means it may actually be relevant. Meanwhile, the investment climate for one will be bearish as investors in general will further sit and observe. Of course, it will also means more opportunity, especially for those who missed the last round, to invest while the price are staying low. One thing is certain - there are plenty of uncertainties in March and even in April.
| MAR 5. Monetary and Financial Developments in January 2021 - Bank Negara Malaysia (bnm.gov.my)|
It is good to study the monetary and financial development in Malaysia - which is often a proactive response to global as well as local major events. It is a summary, but sufficient to know the heartbeat of the Malaysian financial scene.
| MAR 3. Chinese millennials are on a mutual fund buying spree|
The trends in China, be it financial technology or plain lifestyle choices, catches on very fast and they move swiftly too. One of the recent trends are the millennials are into mutual fund. This focus has never been with the millennials before as they choose spending over savings. This started a bullish run for quite sometime and then as usual some corrections occurs. This new trend will stay and mature, fairly rapidly like most trends in China, and it would be interesting to observe where it will all lead next. This is movements will also impact the global financial scene.
| MAR 1. The House passed Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus bill – here’s what’s next|
This is one major news that most American are waiting for, individuals or corporations, and are hungry for it especially those who are unemployed which record a historic high. Of course, this news is also welcomed the world over. This is also crucial against the backdrop of economic downturn given the COVID pandemic where US faces the greatest crisis.
It will take sometime before the full impact of this stimulus bill will be felt across the country and it will be weeks or even months before the global impact can be seen. Hopefully, this good tidings will bring some needed stability for 2021.
|FEB 25. Scientists in China believe new drug can stop Covid-19 'without vaccine'|
This is one piece of good news that the world need to hear especially with the accelerated and unprecedented rate in which vaccines are being approved. Of course, this remedy would cost so much less and this would mean huge savings for all countries. This new drug could be a faster and more efficient way to stop the global march of the coronavirus - and hopefully it is equally effective with the new variants. According to the article it should be ready before this year end.
This piece of news affirm human ingenuity in times of great challenges. Lets bear with the necessary SOP for a couple more months - meanwhile, stay safe and stay strong.
|FEB 10. S&P 500 Has Best Day Since June; Treasuries Drop: Markets Wrap|
This is a comforting news for a long time and hope it is something concrete and not mere market sentiments. There are a few factors and in part contributed by US President Biden's huge stimulus package last week which was held back for a long during Trumph's office.
Let's hope this is a beginning of a bullish market for US - though it has also to manage the COVID overrun decisively which will otherwise blunt this encouraging response.
| FEB 03. Myanmar coup: Aung San Suu Kyi detained as military seizes control|
A sad day for Myanmar and its citizen. The country is now back to military control after only a decade of democracy after the military proposed a roadmap to democracy in 2011 and take effect in 2015 after the election.
Before the healing and economic growth could take off, the country is now plunged into darkness and uncertainties. Nevertheless, the economic impact to Malaysia and the region would be minimum. Let's pray for the safety of our neighboring citizens and its beloved country.
| FEB 01. U.S. Infection Rate Eases to Lowest Since October: Virus Update|
This global watch is necessary as it is a fair indicator for economic health around the world unless China unseat US in 2035, as forecasted, as the economic superpower. The good news is the situation is easing across US.
Meanwhile on the horizon there are news of a new COVID variant in Europe which are more fatal and spread faster. This would throw a big spin to the vaccine timeline and production as well as the herd immunity prospects.
This is a most unique article as it list not only the top 10 possible events that will pose global challenges but also the top 10 opportunities offered in 2021. Though the focus is entirely US related it is still a valid perspective for the world as a whole. It was their first such optimistic projections, not only for themselves but for most popular news.
These projections, to be taken with a pinch of salt, allow us to watch and focus on these events, notwithstanding other surprises and uncertainties, and how it will impact the financial landscape and our financial plans.
Our perspective of the most volatile crisis that will impact every single layer of society worldwide will be Challenges 3 i.e., Global Financial Crisis Driven by Debts. This is long overdue especially in US and further compounded by the Covid pandemic of which US has the greatest number of casualties - covering the population and subsequently the economic, social and political dimensions. Hopefully, the steady growth of economy in China as well as their shared vision and culture will offset the US dilemma. This of course, is not stated in this pro-US article, but is common knowledge in more Eastern Reviews - which we will suggest at a later posting.
|JAN 10. 2021 Global Economic Outlook : The Next Phase of the V|
There is a need to understand how international events will unfold in 2021 as it will also impact us - be it our job, business or our investments portfolios. These will in turn shapes our financial plans and options which we will then need to be aligned. 2021 Global Economic Outlook : The Next Phase of the V
There is a need to understand how international events will unfold in 2021 as it will also impact us - be it our job, business or our investments portfolios. These will in turn shapes our financial plans and options which we will then need to be aligned.
This article paints a very optimistic view of global growth of 6.4% and mainly attributed to a rebound after almost a year of suppressed demands due to Covid19. The strongest market rebound will be in Asia, namely India and China. This Report also project possible growth in 2022 in the various regions.