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UOB shares rally sharply despite missing profit estimates

Singapore’s third largest money lender United Overseas Bank (UOB) (SGX: U11) saw its share price rise 1.55% on Thursday 06 August 2020, despite posting lower profits for the second quarter of fiscal 2020.

UOB share price: What’s the latest?

Singapore’s third largest money lender United Overseas Bank (UOB) (SGX: U11) saw its share price rise 1.55% on Thursday 06 August 2020, despite posting lower profits for the second quarter of fiscal 2020.

As at 15:30 SGT on Thursday, UOB shares are trading at S$19.78 each on the IG platform – an intraday high. Share price remains lifted as of press time.

IG’s market analysis shows that ‘buys’ form 67% of all trades on the UOB counter in the last one hour, while ‘sells’ made up 57% of all trades across the day.

Additionally, 83% of client accounts also currently hold ‘buy’ (long) positions on the stock, indicating an expectation for UOB’s share price to rise in the immediate term.

As of 30 July 2020, the stock has a 12-month consensus share price target of S$20.66 per share from six analysts, alongside an average rating of ‘hold’ – based on a Refinitiv poll of 18 brokers.

UOB’s net profit falls 40% in Q2 of 2020

The bank announced its earnings for the three months ended 30 June 2020 before the market opened on Thursday.

It reported a net profit of S$703 million for Q2 2020, 40% lower than that of Q2 2019. It attributed this decline to lower margins and higher credits costs.

This figure also missed Refinitiv survey estimates of S$781 million for the quarter.

Breaking down by income segment, net interest income decreased 12% year-on-year to S$1.46 billion in Q2, as margin compression offset the loan growth of 3%.

Net fee and commission income was 15% lower than Q2 2019 at S$445 million, as movement restrictions across the region weighed on customer activities. Trading and investment income declined to S$294 million from S$311 million a year ago, largely due to lower net trading income.

Meanwhile, total operating expenses decreased 8% to S$1.04 billion in line with lower income, resulting in a cost-to-income ratio of 46% for the quarter.

Finally, asset quality marked by non-performing loan (NPL) ratio stood at 1.6% for 2Q20, unchanged from last quarter as NPL formation was low this quarter.

Are you looking to buy long or short sell UOB shares without trading the underlying asset? Start today by opening a live or demo IG account.

UOB lowers Q2 dividends by 30% to S$0.39 per share

Consequently, the group proposed an interim one-time tax-exempt dividend of S$0.39 per share, down 29% from the amount of S$0.55 paid a year prior. A scrip dividend payment option will be provided this year.

The lower dividend sum is in line with the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s call last week for banks to cap the total dividends per share (DPS) at 60% of the prior year’s DPS, as well as to make available the option to receive dividends in scrip.

UOB foresees upside to net interest margin in upcoming quarters

Looking ahead, the group says its it will continue its approach of ‘balancing growth with stability’, so as to ‘drive shareholder value and dividends in a sustainable manner’.

In terms of specific outlook areas, UOB says it will focus on the long-term growth potential of the Group Wholesale Banking and Group Retail segments.

It also foresees that there will be some upside to net interest margin in the second half of 2020, with moderate rebound in fees also expected in the next two quarters as economies gradually reopen.

In terms of credit outlook, the group says credit costs are likely to remain around Q2 2020 levels, ‘with more preemptive allowances to cushion anticipated asset quality weaknesses’.

Wee Ee Cheong, UOB’s Deputy Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, said: ‘Over the last few months, the Covid-19 pandemic has upended the way we live and work, with businesses and individuals having to deal with unprecedented challenges. With the global economy moving into the deepest recession in recent history, our financial performance for the first half of the year has not been immune to the impact.

‘However, UOB entered this crisis from a position of strength, having built our resilience through weathering past storms, be they economic, man-made or natural disasters. We maintain prudence and discipline in our risk management and will continue to strengthen our provision coverage.’

How to trade UOB with IG

Are you feeling bullish or bearish on UOB shares? Either way you can buy (long) or sell (short) the asset using derivatives like CFDs offered on IG’s industry-leading trading platform in a few easy steps:

  1. Create a live or demo IG Trading Account, or log in to your existing account
  2. Enter <United Overseas Bank Ltd> in the search bar and select the instrument
  3. Choose your position size
  4. Click on ‘buy’ or ‘sell’ in the deal ticket
  5. Confirm the trade
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Daily Financial News

Don’t Count On JPY Correction; Staying Long GBP/JPY

The path of the potential pace of the JPY decline may still be underestimated by markets, which continue trading the JPY long.

While the 10% USDJPY advance from September lows looks impressive from a momentum point of view, it may no thave been driven by Japan’s institutional investors reducing their hedging ratios or Japan’s household sector reestablishing carry trades.

Instead, investors seemed to have been caught on the wrong foot, concerned about a sudden decline of risk appetite or the incoming US administration being focused on trade issues and not on spending. Spending requires funding and indeed the President-elect Trump’s team appears to be focused on funding. Here are a few examples: Reducing corporate taxation may pave the way for US corporates repatriating some of their USD2.6trn accumulated foreign profits. Cutting bank regulation could increase the risk-absorbing capacity within bank balance sheets. Hence, funding conditions – including for the sovereign – might generally ease. De-regulating the oil sector would help the trade balance, slowing the anticipated increase in the US current account deficit. The US current account deficit presently runs at 2.6% of GDP, which is below worrisome levels. Should the incoming government push for early trade restrictions, reaction (including Asian sovereigns reducing their holdings) could increase US funding costs, which runs against the interest of the Trump team.

Instead of counting on risk aversion to stop the JPY depreciation, we expect nominal yield differentials and the Fed moderately hiking rates to unleash capital outflows from Japan.The yield differential argumenthas become more compelling with the BoJ turning into yield curve managers. Via this policy move, rising inflation rates push JPY real rates and yields lower, which will weaken the JPY. Exhibit 12 shows how much Japan’s labor market conditions have tightened. A minor surge in corporate profitability may now be sufficient, pushing Japan wages up and implicity real yields lower.

JPY dynamics are diametrical to last year . Last year, the JGB’s “exhausted”yield curve left the BoJ without a tool to push real yields low enough to adequately address the weakened nominal GDP outlook. JPY remained artificially high at a time when the US opted for sharply lower real yields. USDJPY had to decline, triggering JPY bullish secondround effects via JPY-based financial institutions increasing their FX hedge ratios and Japan’s retail sector cutting its carry trade exposures. Now the opposite seems to be happening. The managed JGB curve suggests rising inflation expectations are driving Japan’s real yield lower. The Fed reluctantly hiking rates may keep risk appetite supported but increase USD hedging costs.Financial institutions reducinghedge ratios and Japan’s household sector piling back into the carry trade could provide secondround JPY weakening effects

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Daily Financial News

Mexico raises interest rates, cites Trump as risk

The head of Mexico’s central bank says U.S. Republican candidate Donald Trump represents a “hurricane” sized threat to Mexico.

Banco de Mexico Gov. Agustin Carstens told the Radio Formula network Friday that a Trump presidency “would be a hurricane and a particularly intense one if he fulfills what he has been saying in his campaign.”

Trump has proposed building a wall along the border and re-negotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Mexico’s central bank raised its prime lending rate by half a percent to 4.75 percent Thursday, citing “nervousness surrounding the possible consequences of the U.S. elections, whose implications for Mexico could be particularly significant.”

Mexico’s peso had lost about 6 percent in value against the dollar since mid-August. It recovered slightly after the rate hike

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Financial News

Africa’s first Fairtrade certified gold co-operative offers hope to gold miners living in poverty

Syanyonja Artisan Miners’ Alliance (SAMA) has become the first artisanal small scale mining co-operative in Africa to become Fairtrade certified, bringing much needed hope to impoverished communities who risk their lives to mine the rich gold seam that runs around Lake Victoria.

SAMA is one of nine previously informal groups from Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania which has benefitted from a pilot project launched by Fairtrade in 2013. This innovative program aims to extend the benefits of Fairtrade gold to artisanal miners across East Africa.

In that short time, SAMA has undergone training in business and entrepreneurship, as well as safe use of mercury, internal control systems, labour rights and better working conditions, health and safety and more. Previously, daily contact with toxic chemicals used to process gold meant members risked disease, premature births and even death.  Fairtrade gold was first launched in 2011, and SAMA now joins Fairtrade certified gold mines MACDESA, AURELSA and SOTRAMI in Peru.

The co-operative produces just 5 kg gold per year, but nevertheless has the potential to significantly benefit many people in the local community through better conditions through certification. It is expected that Fairtrade and organizations like Cred Jewellery will support the miners, ensuring their gold can be refined and made available to jewellers in the UK and other markets.

Gonzaga Mungai, Gold Manager at Fairtrade Africa said: “This is a truly momentous and historical achievement and the realisation of a dream that is many years in the making. Gold production is an important source of income for people in rural economies. Congratulations to SAMA, it sets a precedent which shows that if groups like this can achieve certification, then it can work for others right across the African continent.”

The Fairtrade Gold Standard encourages better practice and changes to come in line with international regulation around the production and trade of so-called ‘conflict minerals’. Under the Standard, miners are required to:

  • Uphold a human rights policy preventing war crimes, bribery, money laundering and child labour
  • Clearly represent where the minerals were mined
  • Minimise the risks of conflict minerals through robust risk assessments and collaboration across supply chains
  • Report to buyers and trading partners regarding the risks of conflict minerals

Now in its second phase, the programme will focus on supporting other mining groups in the region to access affordable loans and explore a phased approach to accessing the Fairtrade market, allowing more mining co-operatives across Africa to participate in the programme.

Gonzaga added: “Sourcing African metals from smallscale miners in the Great Lakes Region is the responsible thing to do. For a long time companies have avoided buying gold from this region, with devastating consequences for impoverished communities who were already struggling. It has driven trade deeper underground, as unscrupulous buyers pay lower prices and launder illegal gold into legitimate supply chains. That’s why we have chosen to work with these groups to help them earn more from their gold within a robust compliance system that offers social, environmental, and economic protections.”

The Fairtrade gold programme offers a small but scalable solution to sustainable sourcing of gold from the region in line with Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Act in the US, OECD Due Diligence Guidance and recent EU Supply-Chain Due Diligence proposals which could come into effect in 2016. This means that up to 880,000 EU firms that use tin, tungsten, tantalum and gold in manufacturing consumer products could be obliged to provide information on steps they have taken to identify and address risks in their supply chains for so-called ‘conflict minerals’.

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