The Asia Eight

Daily must-reads from the world’s most dynamic region

March 16, 2021

1 TOP STORY: 'Dirty dozen' tech firms face antitrust fines

2 ATF TV: China bond defaults and their credit-market impact

3 ASIA MARKETS: Economic optimism drives bourses higher

4 NEWS: New Indian e-commerce policy could imperil giants

5 NEWS: Flood, drought fear prompts Yangtze sand mining ban

6 NEWS: Media holdings are new pressure focus on Jack Ma

7 NEWS: Fed will be watching US retail sales data today

8 NEWS: Little evidence China is meeting climate pledges

01 Top Story China fines 12 firms for antitrust breaches

Market Supervision officials have issued complaints against ‘dirty dozen' internet companies, such as Tencent and Baidu, over breaches of the anti-monopoly law and fined each 500,000 yuan

02 ATF TV Defaults impact

Eugenie Shen, managing director at ASIFMA in Hong Kong, considers the impact of widespread defaults among Chinese bond issuers on the nation’s credit markets

03 Asia Markets

Upgrades to US, China economic growth forecasts on stimulus, vaccines; Fed guidance on growth, inflation and bond purchases awaited; safe havens steady as risk rally resumes

04 India e-commerce woes

A draft digital retail policy, which demands that all sellers be treated equally and blocks the use of algorithms for any seller, could spell new trouble for Amazon and Flipkart

05 Yangtze sand mining ban

Beijing orders local authorities to draw up plans to regulate industry more effectively and to ban or restrict operations in sensitive regions for fear it will impact flooding and drought

06 Media pressure for Ma

Alibaba is reportedly facing pressure from the Chinese government to reduce its holdings of media assets such as the South China Morning Post and Weibo, in another potential source of conflict for its founder Jack Ma

07 Comment

"One particular economic number that traders will pay attention to today is the US Retail Sales. The forecast is for -0.5%, while the previous reading was at 5.3%. A strong reading will confirm that Americans are feeling confident about their spending. This will be another signal that the Fed may not want to ignore."

Naeem Aslam, Chief Market Analyst at AvaTrade

08 Climate pledge concern

Critics say China is taking 'baby steps' towards its pledge to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060; But others say the country is likely to over-achieve its targets, and indicators on energy in the new 5-Year Plan will still restrict coal consumption; more detail is expected