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Fintech hold massive potential for Asian businesses

Not only does fintech hold massive potential for Asian businesses – those who do not get on board soon will be left behind, warns Lawrence Yeo.

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Fintech is a new financial industry that applies technology to improve financial activities, with key areas being the automation of insurance, trading and risk management.

Between 2005 and 2015, global investment in fintech increased by more than 2200%, from $930m to some $22bn.

Fintech’s potential remains big. From the demand side across much of south-east Asia, the unmet need for basic banking services is significant. KPMG reports that only 27% of the region’s 600 million inhabitants had a bank account in 2016.

From the supply side, a new wave of start-ups is increasingly ‘disaggregating’ global banks. Milken Institute’s Centre for Financial Markets reports that much of the venture capital in Asia has flowed into China, particularly among a handful of large tech companies. Yet other countries also are seeking to position themselves as fintech hubs.

The Straits Times reported that multimillion-dollar investments were reported in 2017 in Hong Kong (in digital wallet operator TNG FinTech Group), in India (in online lending platform Capital Float) and in South Korea’s second largest cryptocurrency exchange, Korbit.

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Banking

BOT relaxes rules to Curb Strong Baht

the Bank of Thailand (BOT) decided to relax regulations to facilitate capital outflows to help promote capital flow balance and lessen pressure on the baht.

Boris Sullivan

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The Thai baht has been under pressure due to imbalanced capital flows in the current environment of highly uncertain and volatile external conditions, the Ministry of Finance (MOF) and the Bank of Thailand (BOT) decided to relax regulations to facilitate capital outflows to help promote capital flow balance and lessen pressure on the baht.

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Banking

Bank of Thailand cuts rate by 0.25% to 1.25 per cent

The latest cut brings the Bot’s policy rate to an historical low, which the bank maintained from April 2009 to July 2010 during the subprime global financial crisis.

Bahar Karaman

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​On 6 November 2019, the MPC voted 5 to 2 to reduce the policy rate by 0.25 percentage point from 1.50 to 1.25 percent, effective immediately. Two members voted to maintain the policy rate at 1.50 percent.

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Banking

Thailand’s loss of trade privileges with US is credit negative

The development is credit negative because Thailand’s export-oriented economy is in a difficult external environment given that a broad-based export slowdown and strong Thai baht are weakening the competitiveness of goods exporters and the country’s tourism industry.

Bahar Karaman

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Thailand’s loss of trade privileges with US is credit negative amid challenging external environment, according to an article from Moody’s Credit Outlook, 4 November 2019 issue.

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