Category Archives: BUSINESS

GPIF seeks info on managing foreign high-yield comp’ny bonds

Source: ijapicap.com

The world’s largest institutional investor is seeking information on ways to manage foreign high-yield corporate bonds from fund firms active in the field by 19 March. The details are here in English.

The Government Pension Investment Fund announced in 2016 that it would begin gathering intelligence designed to give it access to new investment ideas and manager expertise.

Data gathering kicked off in March last year with invitations to equities managers to make submissions (see archive 13 March 2017 GPIF invites passive domestic equities firms to join register).

© 2018 Japan Pensions Industry Database/Jo McBride. Reporting on, and analysis of, the secretive business of Japanese institutional investment takes big commitments of money and time. This blog is one of the products of such commitment. It may nonetheless be reproduced or used as a source without charge so long as (but only so long as) the use is credited to www.ijapicap.com and a link provided to the original text on that site.

This blog would not exist without the help and humour of Diane Stormont, 1959-2012

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Vietnam’s new internet law will make the economy lag

Author: Phan Le, ANU

Vietnam’s Ministry of Public Security (MoPS) thinks it is killing two birds with one stone by passing new laws regulating data storage. But it could soon find out it has no use for two dead birds while the stone flies off and damages the economy.

An internet user browses internet in front of an advertising billboard for 4G connection service at a bus stop in Hanoi, Vietnam, 29 August 2017 (Photo: Reuters/Kham).

” data-medium-file=”http://www.eastasiaforum.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/RTX3DWSQ-400×267.jpg” data-large-file=”http://www.eastasiaforum.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/RTX3DWSQ-600×400.jpg” title=”An internet user browses internet in front of an advertising billboard for 4G connection service at a bus stop in Hanoi, Vietnam, 29 August 2017 (Photo: Reuters/Kham). ” src=”http://www.eastasiaforum.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/RTX3DWSQ-400×267.jpg” alt=”An internet user browses internet in front of an advertising billboard for 4G connection service at a bus stop in Hanoi, Vietnam, 29 August 2017 (Photo: Reuters/Kham). ” width=”400″ height=”267″ srcset=”http://www.eastasiaforum.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/RTX3DWSQ-400×267.jpg 400w, http://www.eastasiaforum.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/RTX3DWSQ-150×100.jpg 150w, http://www.eastasiaforum.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/RTX3DWSQ-768×512.jpg 768w, http://www.eastasiaforum.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/RTX3DWSQ-600×400.jpg 600w, http://www.eastasiaforum.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/RTX3DWSQ-300×200.jpg 300w, http://www.eastasiaforum.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/RTX3DWSQ-100×67.jpg 100w, http://www.eastasiaforum.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/RTX3DWSQ-500×333.jpg 500w” sizes=”(max-width: 400px) 100vw, 400px”>In June 2017, the MoPS proposed a draft cybersecurity law that requires all foreign online service providers (including Facebook, Google and Twitter) to store their Vietnamese users’ data exclusively in Vietnamese data centres — a practice known as ‘data localisation‘. Foreign tech firms would likely have Vietnamese partners run their local data centres, manage domestic service sales and handle government requests for user data. The proposal has sparked a heated debate between those who believe in its benefits and those who warn against its serious threats to economic development.

For proponents of the law, data localisation is a no-brainer. The opening of local data centres would improve access to online services for local users and would generate a booming demand for high-skilled IT professionals. With 64 million social media users and one of the fastest-growing e-commerce markets worldwide, Vietnam would be an irresistible destination for foreign …continue reading

    

Share house investors find themselves entangled in alleged mortgage fraud

The Asahi Shimbun newspaper has reported on potential mortgage fraud occurring with companies that tout share houses to real estate investors.

When buying an investment property from one of these companies, buyers typically entrust the entire loan application process to one of the many real estate agencies connected to the seller. The seller’s side will take copies of the buyer’s bank book showing their savings. At some point, and by whom remains unclear, the documents submitted to the bank are forged in order to improve the chance of obtaining finance or obtaining a loan much larger than would normally be approved. There are apparently cases where a buyer’s savings have been falsely inflated by as much as 10 times the true amount, along with false records showing a large deposit made to the seller.

This problem came to light recently when a share house developer and operator abruptly informed their 800 investors that they were suffering from financial problems and could no longer pay landlords their guaranteed rents. Many of the investors had borrowed upwards of 100 million Yen to purchase share houses at seminars offered by the developer, with deals sweetened by promises of guaranteed rent and high returns to cover their high borrowing costs. Investors had borrowed from Suruga Bank with interest rates of between 3.5 ~ 4.5% and were highly over-leveraged, some to the point where they were facing almost instant default on their loans. Some had borrowed amounts over 15 times their annual income, resulting in mortgage repayments as high as their gross income.

Investors, now unable to cover their mortgage payments, have started contacting the bank to ask for delayed or restructured repayments. The investors were unaware that their loan application documents were falsified. After inquiring with the bank, one investor was presented with a copy of their …continue reading

    

New apartment prices in Greater Tokyo drop 20% in January

According to the Real Estate Economic Institute, 1,934 brand new apartments were released for sale across greater Tokyo in January, down 70.2% from the previous month but up 39.7% from January 2017.

The average sale price was 52,930,000 Yen, down 23.4% from last year. The average price per square meter was 787,000 Yen, down 19.3% from last year. In January 2017, new apartment prices saw a steep jump from the year before, with prices rising by 24.1%. If several high-end projects are released onto the market it can pull up average prices for the month.

The contract ratio was 65.2%, up 3.6 points from last year. Remaining inventory was down 3.2% from the end of December.

TOKYO METROPOLITAN AREA

954 new apartments were offered in the Tokyo metropolitan area, down 53.1% from the previous month but up 38.7% from last year. The average sale price was 61,960,000 Yen, down 32.3% from last year. The average price per square meter was 982,000 Yen, down 25.6% from last year.

The contract ratio was 73.4%, above the 70% line said to indicate healthy market conditions. In Western Tokyo it was 50.4%, and 57.5% in Kanagawa Prefecture.

A total of 2,500 apartments are expected to be released for sale in February.

OSAKA REGION

In the Kinki region, the average price of a new apartment was 680,000 Yen/sqm, up 12.6% and the highest level recorded since 1991. The contract ratio was 78.1%, up 3.0 points from last year.

Source: The Real Estate Economic Institute, February 14, 2018.

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Is Southeast Asia really in an arms race?

Author: Felix Heiduk, German Institute for International and Security Affairs

While countries in many parts of the world are reducing their military spending, Southeast Asian countries are bucking the trend. Total defence spending of ASEAN states doubled over the last 15 years in absolute terms, with countries like Indonesia and Thailand witnessing military expenditure growth rates of 10 per cent on a year-by-year basis.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo walks on the deck of the Indonesian Navy ship KRI Imam Bonjol with some members of his cabinet in the waters of Natuna Islands, Riau Islands province, Indonesia, 23 June 2016 (Photo: Reuters/Antara Foto/Setpres-Krishadiyanto).

” data-medium-file=”http://www.eastasiaforum.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/RTX2IN26-400×266.jpg” data-large-file=”http://www.eastasiaforum.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/RTX2IN26-600×399.jpg” title=”Indonesian President Joko Widodo walks on the deck of the Indonesian Navy ship KRI Imam Bonjol with some members of his cabinet in the waters of Natuna Islands, Riau Islands province, Indonesia, 23 June 2016 (Photo: Reuters/Antara Foto/Setpres-Krishadiyanto).” src=”http://www.eastasiaforum.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/RTX2IN26-400×266.jpg” alt=”Indonesian President Joko Widodo walks on the deck of the Indonesian Navy ship KRI Imam Bonjol with some members of his cabinet in the waters of Natuna Islands, Riau Islands province, Indonesia, 23 June 2016 (Photo: Reuters/Antara Foto/Setpres-Krishadiyanto).” width=”400″ height=”266″ srcset=”http://www.eastasiaforum.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/RTX2IN26-400×266.jpg 400w, http://www.eastasiaforum.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/RTX2IN26-150×100.jpg 150w, http://www.eastasiaforum.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/RTX2IN26-768×511.jpg 768w, http://www.eastasiaforum.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/RTX2IN26-600×399.jpg 600w, http://www.eastasiaforum.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/RTX2IN26-300×200.jpg 300w, http://www.eastasiaforum.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/RTX2IN26-100×67.jpg 100w, http://www.eastasiaforum.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/RTX2IN26-500×333.jpg 500w” sizes=”(max-width: 400px) 100vw, 400px”>

Tightly interlinked with this rise in defence spending is an increase in arms procurements. Several Southeast Asian countries are going on arms spending sprees and buying new frigates, tanks, helicopters, fighter jets and submarines. Vietnam’s arms imports increased by almost 700 per cent over the last decade, shifting Hanoi from the world’s 43rd largest arms buyer to the top ten.

Numerous media outlets and observers have interpreted these changes in the region’s arms dynamics as indicators of an arms race in Southeast Asia. The prospect of an arms race is interlinked with the broader context in which these changes are …continue reading