Biweekly News Collection No.10

No.10 (June 19, 2019)

Market Industry Trends

China set to help Kingdom’s bike industry pedal forward. A brand new factory is emerging on a 20ha plot in Phnom Penh as part of a plan to shift production of millions of bicycles from China to Cambodia. How fast it is completed, however, will depend on the meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump at the Group of 20 (G20) summit in Japan later this month, if it ever happens. (Phnom Penh Post).

China mulls importing Kingdom’s agro-products. China is considering importing more Cambodian agricultural products following recent agreements to import mangoes and bananas, said Li Jianwei, the director-general of the Animal and Plant division of China’s General Administration. This week, China signed an agreement with the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries to import Cambodian mangoes. (Phnom Penh Post).

NBC selects three banks for pilot Cambodia-Thailand QR code Payment system. The implementation could begin late this year. The three banks are Acleda Bank, Foreign Trade Bank (FTB) and Cambodian Commercial Bank Ltd. NBC and its Thai counterpart signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) previously. The system would boost the use of the local currency and hedge foreign-exchange risks. Cambodians travelling to Thailand and Thais travelling to Cambodia can be able to make payments without having to use cash. (Phnom Penh Post).

Facebook takes on the world of cryptocurrency with ‘Libra.’ Facebook is leaping into the world of cryptocurrency with its own digital money, designed to let people save, send or spend money as easily as firing off text messages. “Libra” – described as “a new global currency” – was unveiled on Tuesday in a new initiative in payments for the world’s biggest social network with the potential to bring crypto-money out of the shadows and into the mainstream. An eponymous non-profit association based in Geneva will oversee the block chain-based Libra, maintaining a real-world asset reserve to keep its value stable. The initiative has the potential to allow more than a billion “unbanked” people around the world access to online commerce and financial services. (Phnom Penh Post).

Vietnam’s first homegrown car set to be delivered its first cars on 17 June 2019. VinFast said it will supply a domestic market that is rapidly expanding thanks to a mushrooming middle class with a growing appetite for cars – though it will face stiff competition from well-established players like Toyota and Ford. The carmaker is a subsidiary of Vietnam’s largest private conglomerate, Vingroup, which is owned by the country’s richest man, a press-shy billionaire who started his career selling dried noodles in Ukraine. (Phnom Penh Post).

China’s Huawei Technologies Co has applied to trademark the “Hongmeng” operating system (OS) in a number of countries including Cambodia in a bid to launch its homegrown operating system as a replacement for the Android OS. (Reuters).  

Richest Thais on track to sit on $401B, says report. Thailand’s richest people are set to get even richer, with projections that their combined wealth will top $400 billion next years, making up 71 per cent of the country’s nominal GDP. A report forecast that the country’s high-net-worth individuals (HNWI) – those with assets exceeding $1 million – are expected to make more offshore investments, focusing on equities and mutual funds in the next five years. The SCB Julius Baer Wealth Report Thailand 2019 said the combined worth of the top tier in the economy was $341 billion last year and would see a healthy gain to $401 billion next year. SCB Julius Baer aims to capture 10 per cent of the Thai HNWIs in the next five years with what it calls its holistic wealth management service. (Phnom Penh Post).

VN to be among the most dynamic market by 2030. With an emerging market economy and continued strong growth, Vietnam is set to become one of the most dynamic markets in the world by 2030, according to Euro monitor International, a global market research company. (Phnom Penh Post).

ABA reports $71.8 net profit. ABA Bank, a member of the National Bank of Canada group, recorded a net profit of $71.8 million in 2018, up 55 per cent from $46.2 million in 2017, its annual report released on Monday stated. (Phnom Penh Post).

Market Deals

Tanncam buys 65% Vibe stake. Tanncam Investment Co Ltd, an Uzbek-owned investment group registered in Cambodia with holdings in the healthcare, e-commerce, consulting, and food and beverage sectors, has acquired a 65 per cent stake in Vibe Cafe Hospitality. The company has not disclosed the value of the share in the deal which was closed on June 9. Vibe Cafe Hospitality is Cambodia’s leading vegan and health food restaurant group with two outlets in Phnom Penh and one in Siem Reap. In addition to vegan and health food restaurants, the group is a wholesale distributor of its proprietary products, a leading provider of rejuvenating cleansers and lunchboxes, and an innovator in unique health food and vegan recipes. The group recently entered into the franchising and restaurant consulting business. (Phnom Penh Post).

China Eastern set for debut in Asia’s budget air travel scene. AIRASIA Bhd and other regional budget airlines will face a new powerful competitor when China Eastern Airlines Company Ltd, one of the world’s Top 10 airline groups, expands its budget air travel to the Asian region outside China. (Phnom Penh Post).

Macro-economy

Construction stays strong. Cambodia’s construction sector remained strong during the first four months of this year following a nearly 20 per cent drop last year, according to the responsible Ministry’s figures. In the first four months of this year the construction investment capital amounted to $2.742 billion, an increase of 67.37% over the same period in 2018, thanked to the stable macro-economy, growth, and investor confidence. Most of the construction projects are office buildings and shared accommodation buildings. (Phnom Penh Post).

ASF could bankrupt VN Livestock sector. African swine fever has not only caused Vietnam’s livestock farming households to fall into debt, but has also made it difficult for animal feed dealers to collect their payments. If the epidemic continues, the domino effect could bankrupt the country’s livestock industry. A number of shops selling animal feed have been put in a bind because they have to sell animal feed to farmers on credit, while paying the manufacturers on receipt of the grains. (Phnom Penh Post).

Asian markets rise with eyes on Fed policy meeting. ASIAN markets mostly rose on Tuesday but gains were limited, with investors treading uneasily as they await the conclusion of a crucial US Federal Reserve (Fed) meeting this week. While geopolitical tensions and the Sino-US trade war continue to make waves, the key focus for now is what the US central bank plans to do with monetary policy as the tariff stand-off shows signs of impacting the world’s top economy. The latest weak data saw manufacturing activity in New York state plunge into contraction this month and hit its lowest level since late 2016, reflecting steep drop-offs in new orders, backlogs and employment. (Phnom Penh Post).

Regulations

Draft oil bill unanimously approved. At the government’s request, the National Assembly has unanimously decided to retain the full original content of a draft bill on the management and production of oil, as the development of the Kingdom’s coastal and marine oil and gas. (Phnom Penh Post).

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