20/03/2017 Asia Business Report

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Live from Singapore, the essential business news as it breaks and a look ahead to the news that will shape the business day.

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He will also be questioned over the attempted murder


Now on BBC News, all the latest business news live from Singapore.


From a disgraced president facing prosecutors to Chinese leader


heading down under, we take a look at the week ahead and how it impacts


financial markets. And while food companies are trying to offer


healthier options for Indian consumers. Good morning, Asia, hello


world. Glad you could join us for this Monday at edition of Asia


Business Report. I am Rico Hizon. It is set to be a busy week. Looking at


what is on the news and business agenda and how this could impact the


financial markets. The Korean impeachment saga is set to continue


this Monday with prosecutors questioning ex-president Park


Geun-hye. Later on in the week, the General Council of the European


Central Bank meets on Thursday with many expecting a potential rate rise


and to round out the week the Chinese Premier, Li Keqiang, heads


to Australia on Friday. Earlier I discussed what we can expect from


some of these stories with a market watcher. Most of them are macro


news, which tend to affect all the stocks in the markets when something


happens. And what have seen in the risk environment has changed since


the Trump election. We used to worry a lot about macro news in the past


several years but since then we are worrying more about company specific


news and the dispersion across the stock market has led to a much


healthier risk environment which has meant we can withstand more macro


bad news than we had recently. What about the European Central Bank


eventually raising the cost of borrowing, following in the


footsteps of the US? Will it happen? Europe is going to be a hotbed of


the next 12 months, the Brexit negotiations going on in the


background, elections coming in France, and we just had some good


news out of Holland, so Europe is going to be... The risk premium in


Europe will continue to remain high in the next 12 months because of


these things. I don't think talking about raising interest rates right


now is the best thing. But of course, despite all this talk of


protectionist policies from President Trump, we have seen the US


market is continuing to rise. But raising the cost of borrowing has


kept Asian stock markets on the sidelines. Some of the markets in


Asia are worried about that, because some of the markets in Asia have US


denominated debt, which will get more expensive for them. But there


are plenty of countries in Asia with no debt problem, no deficits, and


for them it is still just trying to figure out what is Trump about and


which of our companies and sectors will benefit from his policies? But


our investors concerned that the Fed could get aggressive this year in


terms of raising by another 25 basis points, by another 0.5%, on interest


rates? I think 0.5% is properly priced into the cost of doing


business, but what investors have learnt about central banks in the


last eight years or so is that they can be very accommodative when they


need to. In other business news making headlines, the president of


Uber has resigned less than a year after joining the country, Co. He


has said that the beliefs and approaches to leadership which have


guided his career are inconsistent with what he has seen at Uber. They


have been a number of controversies over the country's work culture.


Angela Merkel and Shinzo Abe have spoken up in defence of free trade


despite the increasingly protectionist stance of the US. They


were opening attack fear and the statement came after the G20 meeting


which dropped a long-standing mention of open trade in their final


communique, a move attributed to pressure from the US. While some


businesses are worried about the potential for market volatility in


2017, others are embracing it, and one of them is the currency trading


platform. But as the company starts to gain market share in Asia, will


investors be so eager to wade into the currency markets? As part of our


series, Two Minutes With, I spoke to the company's chief executive. Thank


you so much for joining us. Let's start. It is a very crowded market


out there. How do you survive? We are constantly seeking feedback from


our clients, and there are three big reasons why we are one of the top


retail foreigners exchange brokers out there. One is clients are


constantly looking for a trusted broker and we have been in the


market for 21 years, and no fines and no citations. You are based in


New York. We are based in New York. What are your plans for Asia? Big


plans for Asia, it represents 50% of our business today and we continue


to invest heavily. At the Asian markets are fragmented, do you feel


their are enough investors here who are financially sophisticated?


Definitely, definitely. We see investors in Singapore where we are


the market leader but also across greater China and the Asean region.


And investors want more engagement with the platform, and that is where


we are really investing. In education courses, helping people


understand the risks in the market, and that is what it takes. People


are looking for how do I get my trading strategy. That is true


everywhere in the world, definitely in Asia. And isn't it difficult for


Asian investors to learn online trading? They would rather talk


directly to their broker, rather than go online and trade. Actually,


you would find in the case of electronic trading, given 24/7


market access, or 24/5 market access, the way to consume


information is so easy, and you can trade on the mobile platform. With


the preponderance of mobile in Asia it is very good for investors. 2017,


a lot of volatility in the markets due to uncertainty in global events.


Does this bode well for your business? Definitely, it bodes well


for our traders and our clients, because while there is volatility in


the market they don't have trading opportunities, with more volatility,


they will look for more information and use that to trade and be


profitable. We are out of time, thank you so much for joining us,


from Oanda. India has been the standout economic growth story in


the past few years but increasing prosperity has a few downsides as


well. India's waistlines are expanding as quickly as its bank


account. The latest figures say 21% of women and 19% of men are obese,


and India's home to more than 65 million people who are diabetic. As


health concerns go, consumers are looking for healthier options and


manufacturers are taking note, with the world's largest food company


promising to make its most popular Indian products healthier. Our


correspondent has the details. Some of India's most popular food


products are going on a health kick. The company behind many of them,


Nestle, has vowed to cut sugar in some chocolate and dairy products


but its biggest gamble is a plan to cut salt and sodium content in Maggi


noodles. Indians love these noodles. Nestle's product is back to leading


the market in the category with a 60% share. That is despite a ban a


few years ago over claims these noodles contained dangerously high


levels of lead. Indians are over that controversy now, but what do


they think of Nestle's plans to make their favourite Breakfast, lunch,


dinner and snack healthier? I would rather prefer to buy something that


is organic, as a healthy choice, over a product like Maggi. I still


buy Maggi for the fact that it is Maggi and I like to have fun. You


change products and within one month you find your sodium level or sugar


levels are normal? I don't think so, but in the long run it is healthy.


It is going to make a difference. Nestle isn't the only global food


brand changing its strategy in India. Local brands are moving into


the sector as well. Spiritual gurus in particular have recognised the


potential of marketing flavours organically. These gurus have had


natural medicine products for years, but their expansion into food and


beverage retail is new. And, with hundreds of millions of followers


already, turning them into customers shouldn't be too hard. Food and


drink is a $57 billion industry in India, but alarmed by rising rates


of obesity and diabetes, the government is cracking down on


manufacturers. It plans to introduce rules on display in fat, sugar and


salt content on packaging and is considering a nationwide tax on food


products high in sugar and fat. There is more food news, this time


from China, where lobster imports from the United States have hit a


new high. American lobster is almost unheard of in most of the mainland


until 2010, when the value of imports jumped by a whopping 250%.


The market continues to grow, and last year China hit a new record,


importing lobsters worth more than 108 million US dollars


And before we go, here is a look at the markets, and Asia is starting


the new trading week a little weaker due to the decision to drop a pledge


to avoid trade protectionism at the G20. The All Ordinaries is down


slightly. The Hang Seng is moving sideways and South Korea is lower as


well. In UK is close for -- the Nikkei is ) of the colony.


The top stories this hour: President Trump has again accused


North Korea of acting very badly, after Kim Jong-un claimed