Posts Tagged ‘Europe’

investIn the second quarter of 2015 there was a significant increase in venture capital investments in the Asian region. The total was over half of America’s level ($19.2bn), coming in at $10.5bn. It has been suggested that this large number was due in part to a slew of deals that have been aimed at developing digital champions in parts of Asia.

As well, according to a study put out by CB Insights for KPMG, this boost is said to have been “the most prominent feature of a global surge in start-up investing this year.”

The flipside of this surge is how it makes Europe look. Even though that region has been encountering a slight development, it’s not nearly on the same par as what has been transpiring in Asia. And this of course has an impact on the global economy.

As well, while looking at Asia as a whole might be extremely positive, in July, China’s factory industry “appeared to be contracting at the fastest pace in 15 months.” Indeed, there was a plummet of Asian stocks possibly as a result of pessimistic data from China at the end of last month. The Shanghai composite index went down to 8.47%, marking its worst performance in three weeks.

So despite the increase in Asian VC investments, the region is not completely out of the woods yet.

As the threat of global economic fallout looms nearer, Asian and European leaders meet to discuss their options.

The meetings, which began in Bangkok this week, come as Asia’s economies begin to buckle under strains from the European debt crisis. Previously viewed as the strong points in a global crisis, the region’s concerns are deepening.

“With the ongoing economic difficulties of some countries in the Eurozone, I believe that our cooperation is even more crucial than ever,” said Kittiratt Na-Ranong, the Thai Finance Minister.

“Because Asia and Europe are closely knitted in terms of international trade and investment, one spark of crisis could cause turmoil in the other side of the world,” he continued.

Europe is dealing with internal arguments as well, amid talks of whether austerity or pro-growth measures will solve the region’s problems. According to a statement from Host Thailand, officials “expect that the European economy will gradually recover from the current crisis.”

Many agreed that the only solution demands that Europe pursue “growth-friendly fiscal consolidation as well as growth enhanced policies and further structural reforms. Ministers stressed the role of emerging economies in the global effort by further strengthening private consumption and implementing structural reforms to help boost domestic demand and growth.”

Stable Singapore Stakes

Is it true that things (financially-speaking) are that good in Singapore these days? Is that what is making the area so attractive for hedge funds, financiers and investors? Indeed the answer should be a resounding yes. The country is for sure facilitating things for these financiers as “setting up shop” is now deemed as much easier in Singapore than in any other Asian city.

If you just take a look at Hong Kong you will see just how much harder it is for such financiers to work. Indeed, managers of hedge funds alone are doing it tough, being forced to engage in the “same licensing requirements as mutual-fund managers.” Small funds in Singapore will be able to continue operating without having a license at all. Since it is today Singapore and Hong Kong which are the countries that have the most operation of hedge funds, of course these financiers would choose the former over the latter.

Seductive Singapore Taxes

The taxes haven’t always been so attractive in Singapore. But today they are, given what is going on in the UK. Currently the highest taxes for individuals reaches 20 percent in Singapore but the UK recently put their top rate up to a staggering 50 percent. In addition, the whole of Europe – as well as America – in general works on “tougher rules.”

So it makes sense that hedge funds in Singapore saw a significant development, reaching $48bn at the end of 2009 which was a jump of $10bn from just four years earlier. In 2001 there were only 20 hedge funds; two years ago that figure had escalated to 320 hedge fund managers. All predictors are pointing to a continued hedge fund interest looking to “tap Asia as a source of funds as well as a source of excess returns,” over the next year.

Singapore Squeeze?

While this is great for the country, is it so good for the people and the businesses already in existence there? Apparently there is the fear that “the increasing number of global hedge funds is unlikely to crowd out smaller Singapore-based managers.” There will however, be space for “large and niche players” as long as they keep adding “value to investors.” There is now more focus on “transparency and risk management by investors post-crisis,” also, which will lead to hedge fund managers around the world developing their “mid-bank office infrastructure.”

It’s great that Singapore is providing such an attractive environment for financiers around the world and that for sure will help the country’s economy. But at the same time, it has to ensure it looks after its own.

Good news is potentially on the horizon for Azerbaijan.  According to experts the country looks set to move from a “stable” to a “positive” status suggesting the country will become “an investment-grade territory” in the very near future.  This is within the backdrop of the country showing general improvements vis-à-vis the government’s fiscal and external positions.  This has been most noted in the country’s acquisition of State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan’s assets.

<h3>Other Great Economic Stats</h3>

Simultaneous to this good financial news for the country is the fact that its government “registered a fiscal surplus of 14 percent of GDP in its consolidated budget,” a substantial change from its figure in 2010 of 30 percent.  Further, the government has been  making investments in other (non-oil based) sectors which are likewise starting to reap benefits with a 7.9 percent jump last year, more than double of the figure for the year before.

<h3>Need for Economic Freedom</h3>

While this of course is all great news for Azerbaijan, the country is still a long way from becoming a true global economic player.  Before that has even a hope of happening, the country  will be forced to engage in some major renovations and liberations of its economic structure.  Further the country’s securities need to be worked on which will take some efforts from its PashaBank vis-à-vis a portfolio diversification.  Because it plans on joining the overseas capital markets, there is an expected 5-y percent worth of profits from operations with securities this year.  Currently the bank’s investment portfolio stands at 31 percent of securities assets (bonds, etc.).  Experts have noted that the country needs to make it a priority to show its interest in “investing in sovereign bonds of foreign countries….particularly in Russia, Ukraine and Central Europe.”

Financial things are a-changing in Azerbaijan, that’s for sure.  But it’s going to take time.  There are a lot of economic factors that are beginning to work well in the country but its deeper political issues (i.e. the required infrastructure reform) is still a subject with which to contend.

 A Japanese airline (a conglomeration of All Nippon Airways and ANA) will begin low cost domestic flights in November and services to China next year.  According to the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) over 5 million passengers were transported during the Spring Festival through domestic carriers, organizing close to 40,000 flights to meet increased holiday travel demand.  Services will be expanded between Dalian in China’s Liaoning Province and Toyama, Japan to Beijing.  Turkish airlines has grown, as well as Air China, the latter which transported 102,500 tons of mail and cargo.  Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific Airways – with its subsidiary Dragonair – last month transported 2.24 million passengers, 6.8 percent higher than last year.  China Southern Airlines and China Eastern Airlines likewise reported a significant increase in passenger transportation over the last year.  Spring Airlines will be using AsiaPay’s payment processing solution for its online flight booking, enabling clients to pay for tickets in local currencies.


In terms of airline partnerships, news is that first, China Harbor Engineering Company Ltd (CHEC, a subsidiary of China Communications Construction Company Ltd.) just clinched a US$1.22 billion deal for the construction of a new international airport in Khartoum, Sudan.  Second, China Telecom Corporation Limited has entered into a strategic partnership with Hainan Airlines potentially enabling the latter to be “China’s first air carrier to provide in-flight phone calls and Internet.” New services will be added to Italian airlines too and a Tibet-based air carrier (Tibet Airlines) will be the first air-carrier in the region and will start its operation launching a Lhasa-Beijing service.
 

News from solar power is that China Solar Energy Holdings Ltd. will be acquiring domestic thin-film solar photovoltaic module maker Target Samoa for US$45 million in stock and convertible notes enabling the addition of amorphous silicon thin-film module production.  Taiwanese Neo Solar Power Corp (NSP) said its revenues last month escalated over 150 percent and this trend looks set to improve.  Volthaus GmbH (German solar power developer) is due to receive 20 MWp of solar modules in an agreement with EGing Photovoltaic Technology (Chinese module maker).  There is good news in the solar cell market too in the country, with the use of Maple solar cell technology (broader and flatter silicon cells with fewer grain boundaries).


There is work on potential wind power projects via China Resource New Energy which recently stated it would put US$728 million to US$984 million in wind power developments in pursuit of 150 gigawatts of overall installed capacity by 2020.  A US company CleanTech Innovations informed of its striking a wind tower supply deal from power producer China Guodian.