Janio Bi-Weekly News Round-up | Mid-August 2019

Benedict Leong

Janio Bi-Weekly News Round-up | Mid-August 2019

A curation of the latest news in eCommerce, logistics, and tech in Southeast Asia and beyond.

Janio's Bi-weekly News Roundup

The middle August brings with it fresh updates on Brexit and the US-China Trade War, with some optimistic news on Tokopedia’s recent Ramadan sales figures in Indonesia.

Brexit: Recent Updates

The UK is looking to ramp up trade with the US. There are now British ministers in the US to ‘fast-track post-Brexit trade deal1. The ministers are aiming to get formal talks moving quickly between the two nations which have more than USD 1 trillion invested in each other’s economies.

The direction that the UK’s Brexit is headed to still has a lot of bumps. ING says Brexit is heading towards delay, with 40% chance of a UK election2. An economist at ING, one of Europe’s largest banks, believed that an election was likely, as it could be difficult to convince voters to back up a no-deal Brexit. If there a no-deal Brexit takes place, there would be no formal transition arrangements to ensure a smooth exit from the EU. On the other hand, this runs counter to a poll by Daily Telegraph which mentioned that 54% of those surveyed supported a Brexit by any means3.

Either way, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson mentioned that preparing for no-deal Brexit is a ‘top priority4.’ This includes helping the public prepare for the possibility, ensuring IT systems and ready and helping businesses with a helpline.

However, there are those who are still highly opposed to a no-deal Brexit and are concerned the UK PM could suspend parliament during the Brexit deadline to force through a no-deal Brexit. A Scottish Judge has fast-tracked a legal challenge5 backed by 75 MPs to try and stop this potential suspension of parliament before then.

More on this as the story develops.

Tokopedia Sees a Successful Ramadan

For more positive news, Tokopedia scored a record USD 1.3 billion during its Ramadan sales6. Holding its sale in May, the total transaction value it earned from this year’s Ramadan sale was higher than the combined sales from the first six years, showing that Indonesia still has plenty of eCommerce growth potential.

The Indonesian internet economy hit USD 27 billion last year and is expected to grow to USD 100 billion by 2024, according to Google and Temasek’s 2018 study7.

The US-China Trade War Continues to Play Out

Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry cites worsening trade tensions between US and China as one of the a factors impacting Singapore’s economy8, while Adidas also mentions it’s concerned with the currency war9 and more potential tariffs from the USA on Chinese footwear.

Recently, China’s currency, the yuan (RMB) slipped below the 7-per dollar level which prompted fresh action from the USA. The USA labeled China a currency manipulator and threatened more tariffs coming in September. One of China’s responses to this was to suspend purchases of US agricultural products10, while an official from China’s central bank says the yuan is at the right level and disorderly capital outflows are unlikely11.

All of this news might be hard to keep up with, but here’s a compilation of all the trade war moves from Bloomberg.12

That’s all for this news round-up! In the meantime, to stay updated with the latest news and our articles, consider signing up for Janio’s regular newsletter.

 

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References

  1. Channel News Asia: Fast-track post Brexit trade deal
  2. Reuters: ING says Brexit heading towards delay, with 40% chance of an UK election
  3. Reuters: More Britons support ‘Brexit by any means’ than oppose it, poll shows
  4. BBC News: UK Politics 
  5. The Guardian: Brexit: judge fast-tracks challenge to stop Johnson forcing no deal
  6. Channel News Asia: SoftBank-backed Tokopedia scores record US$1.3 billion Ramadan sale
  7. e-Conomy 2018 Southeast Asia
  8. The Edge: Singapore slashes GDP, trade forecasts as economy stalls
  9. Digital Commerce 360: Ecommerce sales increase for Adidas
  10. South China Morning Post: China suspends purchases of US farm products in retaliation for ‘serious violation’ of trade deal between Xi Jinping and Donald Trump
  11. Reuters: Yuan at right level, disorderly capital flows unlikely – China central bank official
  12. Bloomberg: It Was the Week Trade Wars Went From Uncomfortable to Scary
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