☕️ The whole of Klang Valley now Covid-19 red zones

After Alibaba, Ant's turn to get the caning. The 20-year cost of racial bias in US - USD16 trillion. Word of The Year: Lockdown.

Know more, learn more. Be smarter in 3 minutes.

The underlined words are links! Click on them to the news article.

1. MARKET SUMMARY


2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE

USD722.1 billion - the amount American stock market investors have borrowed agains the portfolio, also know as margin debt. This is an ominous sign as it usually precede bouts of volatility, as seen in 2000 and 2008.

£670 billion (US$910 billion) - Value of goods traded annually between UK and EU in 2019.

1.5 billion masks believed to have entered oceans in 2020, resulting in an additional 4,680 to 6,240 metric tonnes of marine plastic pollution.

RM84.43 billion - Malaysia’s exports in November 2020, increased by 4.3% y-o-y.


3. COVID-19 SUMMARY


4. IN MALAYSIA

  1. CMCO in Kuala Lumpur, Sabah and Selangor will be extended until 14 Jan 2021 due to upward trend in Covid-19 positive cases. Meanwhile, all the areas in both Selangor and KL are categorised as red zones. Large gatherings to usher in New Year will not be allowed. Stay safe all.

  2. 90% of Malaysians feel the need to upskill or reskill to secure jobs post Covid-19 according to respondents in the UOB Asean Consumer Sentiment Study in July 2020. Total respondents in Malaysia - 2,480 people.

  3. Cold rolled stainless steel imports from Indonesia and Vietnam will be subjected to anti-dumping duties ranging from 7.73% to 34.82% with for 120 days from Dec 26, 2020. Anti-dumping duty is a protectionist tariff that a domestic government imposes on foreign imports that it believes are priced below fair market value according to Investopedia.

  4. The Dewan Negara passed five bills yesterday:

    1. Finance Bill 2020

    2. Customs (Amendment) Bill 2020

    3. Excise (Amendment) Bill 2020

    4. Free Zones (Amendment) bill 2020

    5. Temporary Measures for Government Financing Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19) (Amendment) Bill 2020.

  5. Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission’s (MCMC) Jalinan Digital Negara (Jendela) aims to bring fibre connectivity to 1.2 million premises and homes in 2021.

  6. Despite the availability of vaccines, Hong Seng Consolidated Bhd (formerly MSCM Holdings Bhd) will be moving forward with its glove manufacturing plant after its subsidiary Hong Seng Industries Sdn Bhd has proposed to acquire 105 acres of federal land in Kedah Rubber City for RM45.74 million.


5. AROUND THE WORLD

  1. After Alibaba’s anti-monopoly investigation, this time, Jack Ma’s Ant Group was summoned by China’s central bank, People’s Bank of China (PBOC) on 26 Dec and laid out ‘rectification’ plans for Ant to address its regulatory violations.

    According to PBOC in a harshly worded statement, some of the wrongdoings of Ant as follows:

    1. Lacking sound governance structure

    2. Defied regulatory requirements

    3. Illegally engaged in arbitrage 

    4. Excluded competitors using its market advantage

    5. Hurt consumer right

    The authority laid out a 5-point compliance agenda for Ant to address its wrongs:

    1. Return to its roots in payments and bring more transparency to transactions

    2. Obtain necessary licenses for its credit businesses and protect user data privacy

    3. Establish a financial holding company and ensure it holds sufficient capital

    4. Revamp its credit, insurance, wealth management and other financial businesses according to the law

    5. Step up compliance for its securities business

    The selloff of Alibaba shares continued on this news, tumbling another 8% and wiping out most of its gains this year. Just 2 months ago, its market cap hit a record high USD859 billion in anticipation of Ant’s listing. Now - USD586 billion, a decline of close to ⅓. 

    Ant is going to take months to implement these improvements and given the sound of how strict PBOC is going to be towards Ant, this would likely hamper their growth and put a real dent into their valuation. Don’t expect a red hot IPO, if they were to re-list. 

  2. Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte signed on Philippine’s largest ever budget of 4.5 trillion pesos (USD93.7 billion) to fund economic recovery and the purchase of Covid-19 vaccines. This budget is 10% higher than 2020 and seeks to return Philippines back to a growth trajectory.

    Philippines record the 2nd highest Covid-19 cases in Southeast Asia with 470,000 confirmed cases and more than 9,000 deaths, after Indonesia.

  3. Online learning is amongst the biggest beneficiaries of the Covid-19 pandemic. Akin to Coursera, Udemy, China’s Zuoyebang announced a Series E+ fundraising round of USD1.6 billion amongst them backed by Alibaba, Softbank Vision Fund, Tiger Global Management and Sequoia China. This brings its total amount raised to USD2.93 billion, at a rumoured USD10 billion in its latest round, 

    Its competitor, Yuanfudao announced in October a USD2.2 billion round led by Tencent at a valuation of USD15.5 billion. Zuoyebang claims to have 170 million monthly active users, of which 50 million are daily active users.

  4. A former Citigroup global analyst, Dana Peterson, discovered through her research that the cost of racial bias in US since 2000 amounted to USD16 trillion. The research can be found here. Makes one wonder what would such costs be in Malaysia, especially when a small minority of these people in power abuse their privilege in the name of protecting Bumiputera rights.

  5. President Trump, initially refusing and calling the bill ‘wasteful spending’, has finally signed the bill and got the relief package of USD900 billion going and into the hands of Americans.

  6. “Lockdown” is the word of the year as declared by Collins Dictionary.

  7. German pilot Samy Kramer drew a giant syringe in the sky, flying 200 kilometres to raise awareness on vaccination campaign in Europe.

Hope you enjoy reading our newsletter! Share this newsletter to your friends if it made you smarter today!