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SINGAPORE: In a 12 months dominated by surprising world wide functions and roiling uncertainty, the actions in the gold value have defied expectations.
Subsequent the US Federal Reserve’s conclusion to elevate curiosity fees past December for the 1st time in nearly a decade, gold watchers had been anticipating a lacklustre 2016, with some forecasting the cherished metallic to tumble to multi-12 months lows down below the US$one,000 mark.
But inside of a 7 days into the new 12 months, gold price ranges attained much more than three for each cent to breach the US$one,a hundred mark as a brutal market-off engulfed world wide inventory marketplaces. The surge into risk-free-haven belongings was also fuelled by crude oil price ranges sliding down below US$30 a barrel to twelve-12 months lows, mounting anxieties about a softening Chinese overall economy and the Financial institution of Japan’s (BOJ) unprecedented transfer to adopt a negative curiosity rate plan.
Even prime forecasters of the yellow metallic had been caught off guard by the functions in January, which propelled gold price ranges to a sturdy start in 2016.
“The sturdy moves in the 1st month stunned all people who was anticipating a negative 12 months. To be sincere, I was one of them,” ABN Amro’s commodity strategist Georgette Boele advised Channel NewsAsia. Rated by Bloomberg as the most precise forecaster for gold, the Amsterdam-centered analyst had at first predicted an conclude-2016 target of US$900 amid the likelihood of further more rate hikes in the US, which would bolster the greenback.
A firmer US dollar tends to place stress on gold price ranges, which is priced in the US currency and gets much more high priced to buyers located outside the house the US. In addition, with gold getting viewed as an substitute investment to the dollar, it is commonly shunned when the greenback strengthens in benefit.
But as anxieties about the world wide overall economy pulled down expectations for better US curiosity fees and deflated the US dollar rally, gold price ranges continued to soar and at some point breached the US$one,300 amount on Jun 24 as political uncertainty stemming from Brexit took a toll on previously-fragile business and consumer confidence.
By Jul 8, the value of gold was at a much more than two-12 months substantial of US$one,366, up nearly 30 for each cent 12 months to day.
“The dollar was beneath stress with US rate hikes having priced out, and with uncertainties like Brexit establishing, all people which include me, turned very bullish. With the anxieties surrounding the US elections, it seemed like a scenario that would be very good for gold price ranges but the opposite took place,” Ms Boele mentioned.
Subsequent Donald Trump’s election victory on Nov nine, gold price ranges sank into a downward spiral on expectations that the President-elect’s marketing campaign for fiscal stimulus proposals would bolster financial advancement and inflation. As a consequence, the US fairness marketplaces U-turned right after first losses, yields on US Treasuries spiked and the US dollar strengthened, sending buyers scurrying to readjust their positions into risky belongings.
Mr Jonathan Chan, investment analyst at Phillip Futures in Singapore, mentioned the gold price’s reversal arrived as a shock.
“I was anticipating gold price ranges to maintain around US$one,300 right after Donald Trump gained since I believed the political unrest in the US would add to the threat-off sentiment,” the analyst mentioned. “But as you can see from the current value motion, the sector had absent fully towards that watch.”
On Friday (Dec 30), place gold was past viewed investing at $one,a hundred and sixty.forty two an ounce, down around nine for each cent considering the fact that Trump’s victory in the elections and as the US central lender indicated a more rapidly tempo of rate hikes in 2017 right after soaring curiosity fees earlier this month.
“It has been a 12 months of two halves,” mentioned Ms Boele. “We began the 12 months getting negative in advance of starting to be very bullish due to all the uncertainty pushing back expectations for a Fed rate hike. But now we are back to the exact themes we observed past 12 months – a more powerful US dollar and much more rate hikes – and the sentiment is yet again on the negative aspect.”
(Details from Bloomberg)
Marketed ON GOLD
Whilst the roller-coaster experience in gold price ranges seemed tricky to tummy, it has been a boon for cherished metallic dealers and jewellery vendors who advised Channel NewsAsia that desire for actual physical gold commonly rises amid value volatility.
Silver Bullion mentioned product sales of its gold solutions jumped 41 for each cent this 12 months, with the most important boost in desire coming on the back of the EU referendum. According to the company’s founder and CEO Gregor Gregersen, product sales spiked 600 for each cent around the a few times pursuing Britain’s vote to depart the European Union.
The risk-free-haven desire also lifted product sales of actual physical silver up by forty eight for each cent at the Singapore-centered bullion vendor and storage company.
“Our buyers are motivated by the drive to safeguard them selves. There are previously concerns about underlying structural difficulties in the West, this kind of as the amount of personal debt that exists in the process. When surprising functions like Brexit transpire, they produce uncertainty and increase to the fret, producing much more people to get curiosity in getting actual physical gold and silver as a form of insurance,” mentioned Mr Gregersen.
Above at Ho Bee Goldsmith & Jewelry, desire from community retail buyers has been constant through the 12 months, mentioned business manager Jessica Chia.
“People are even now getting. They have viewed the uptrend and are inclined to spend particularly with the price ranges coming down,” mentioned Ms Chia, adding that seasonal getting in advance of Chinese New 12 months may possibly have also contributed to the sustained curiosity.
Apart from actual physical gold bars and cash, there are other methods to spend in the yellow metallic this kind of as getting gold futures or solutions, stocks of gold miners, gold exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and opening gold accounts with banking companies.
In Singapore, United Overseas Financial institution (UOB) mentioned it has viewed a 30 for each cent boost in the variety of new openings this 12 months for its gold-linked lender account, which does not have Items and Solutions Tax (GST) and allows for transactions on-line.
“More than 80 for each cent of our Gold Conserving Account turnover volume was transacted on-line, more and more by more youthful buyers who favor the convenience of on-line banking and are displaying better curiosity in gold-connected solutions,” mentioned Ms Beh Hsia Wa, director of UOB’s Group Bullion Brokerage and Clearing.
“Given the backdrop of reduced-to-negative curiosity fees in many made economies and world wide macroeconomic uncertainty in the past 12 months, we have viewed much more buyers turning to gold to diversify their investments and to minimize their pitfalls,” she additional.
OUTLOOK FOR 2017
Going in advance, analysts that Channel NewsAsia spoke to are break up on wherever gold price ranges are headed.
Ms Boele from ABN Amro mentioned she has turned negative on the cherished metallic, with a target of US$one,a hundred for 2017, citing the threat of a rejuvenated US dollar.
Phillip Futures’ Mr Chan, having said that, believes that the rally may possibly occur back to lifestyle future 12 months and forecasts that the value of gold will head back up to US$one,300.
“Most people would search at the US rate hike in terms of how it strengthens the US dollar but there are other factors to take into consideration and the most significant one to watch is whether or not Trump can have out what he promised, how much inflation that will produce and how the Fed reacts to all that,” he advised Channel NewsAsia.
There are expectations that a more powerful US overall economy will quicken inflation, which tends to stoke getting curiosity amid buyers as they imagine the metallic will maintain its benefit much better than other belongings in moments of soaring consumer price ranges, Mr Chan described.
Funds Economics’ commodities analyst Simona Gambarini is forecasting gold price ranges to attain US$one,450 by conclude-2017, noting that financial marketplaces have “jumped the gun” in believing that the President-elect will be ready to provide swiftly on his assure to ramp up infrastructure paying.
“The euphoria about infrastructure paying could soon be replaced by concerns about a trade war and geopolitical pitfalls, restoring the risk-free-haven bid for gold. What’s much more, the prospect of a significant deficit-funded fiscal stimulus is most likely to thrust inflation effectively previously mentioned the Fed’s 2 for each cent target, indicating that even if the Fed raises fees much more aggressively, actual curiosity fees should continue being reduced.”
To be sure, analysts mentioned they are not composing off prospective surprises that could derail gold price ranges from expectations, yet yet again.
For one, elections due in France and Germany will continue being substantial up on markets’ watch record right after Italian Key Minister Matteo Renzi missing a referendum earlier this month and as Britain navigates its exit from the EU.
The direction of insurance policies in the world’s most significant overall economy beneath Donald Trump will also be keenly eyed, mentioned Mr Chan.
“Surprises could transpire: For instance, the scale of Trump’s expansionary insurance policies getting smaller than expected or he goes back on his marketing campaign on trade protectionism. These would pressure me to revise my forecast. Even the Fed would have to change its rate hike cycle,” he described. “It’s a domino outcome.”
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SINGAPORE: For the countrywide men’s floorball workforce, 2016 ended in a whimper right after they finished last at the globe championships they experienced labored so difficult to attain.
The 2015 SEA Games champions have experienced a roller-coaster yr, with previous president Sani Mohamed Salim remaining investigated for the alleged misappropriation of money in May. Amid their money struggles, the workforce scored a coup, securing training venues at Victoria University and Bukit Merah Secondary University for absolutely free, and managed to increase ample money to pay back for their excursion to the Globe Floorball Championships in Latvia – the highlight of their 2016 sporting calendar.
But they in the end finished 16th out of 16 teams in the week-extensive level of competition, which started on Dec 3 in Latvian money Riga, notching only 1 acquire out of 5 games.
A SLEW OF DEFEATS
In the group phase, a narrow 2-one opening reduction from Canada was adopted by a heavy 8-2 defeat from much-enhanced regional rivals Thailand, which Singapore experienced beaten 9- in 2015.
The last group match from the United States saw Singapore triumph 9-five, but the dead rubber match however intended that the Singaporeans finished last in Team D. Luck was not on Staff Singapore’s aspect in the placement matches, as defeats to Poland and Australia intended that they finished last.
In spite of possessing misplaced four of their 5 games, captain Glendon Phua insisted the workforce gave their opponents a hard combat: “I feel we all did properly even while the effects confirmed that we did not acquire most of the matches.”
Captain Glendon Phua (#twenty) in motion at the globe championships. (Photograph: Singapore Floorball Affiliation)
Recounting his knowledge in earlier countrywide squads, Phua thinks the current batch have actually enhanced their enjoy: “I was part of the workforce in 2010, back when even the European teams had been not as powerful. If our current workforce experienced performed from the sides from six years ago, we would have beaten some of our European opponents.
“But as you can see, other countries are also doing work difficult in training, and they are also enhancing,” he conceded
“At the close of the day, the methods that the coach gave us had been dependent on a lot of investigation, responses from players and learning the opponents. We can hypothesise all we want about what could have been finished much better, but from the ground, I truly feel that the coach designed the appropriate calls and the players tried their ideal even while we did not get the consequence that we desired.”
Forwards Enrico Marican (#30) and Md Syazni (#25) celebrating a purpose. (Photograph: Singapore Floorball Affiliation)
Echoing his captain’s views, workforce-mate Tan Yiru claimed: “I truly feel that the workforce is heading down the appropriate path, but perhaps we absence the publicity to execute what we are supposed to do.”
“THE THAIS Appeared HUNGRIER”
The surprise bundle of the tournament was Thailand, who finished above Singapore in 14th area. For Staff Singapore coach Sonia Chia, the reversal of fortunes for the 2015 SEA Games silver medallists boiled down to their overseas-dependent players, as properly as their training.
Stated Chia: “If you examine Thailand’s SEA Games squad with the workforce that performed from us in the qualifiers, as properly as the workforce that performed in the Globe Championships, you can expect to see that all 3 had been various teams altogether.
“They changed their total squad. About thirteen of them are overseas-dependent. They coach in the European countries, which is in which the roots of the sport are.”
Singapore Floorball Affiliation (SFA)’s interim normal supervisor Todd Vladich thinks the new naturalised players in Thailand’s ranks gave them an additional benefit. “The Thais recruited twin-passport citizens into their countrywide workforce, a range of them possessing Swedish and Finnish roots.
“It was not the identical SEA Games squad that competed in Singapore. Only about 5 of their players competed in the SEA Games last yr.”
Chia also pointed to the Thais’ 5-week training stint in Sweden, which authorized them to acclimatise much better. ”They prepared quite properly, as they began their scheduling as shortly as the 2015 SEA Games ended.”
Singapore captain Phua claimed the overseas training stint designed a globe of change to the Thais. “As you can see in Joseph Education, training overseas presents athletes a specific edge as they enjoy much much better. Not to say that neighborhood training is terrible in any given nation, but (heading) overseas presents you a various knowledge which you just can’t afford in your have nation.
“With that in intellect, we knew that our Thai opponents had been quite hungry to conquer us for revenge from the 2015 SEA Games. They had been quite properly prepared for the Globe Championships and come match day, we gave it our ideal but the Thais seemed hungrier.”
Plans FOR 2017
With the quick progress of regional rivals, the SFA is wanting into approaches to increase the current set-up. “For future yr, we’ll attempt to create on what has gone appropriate for Singapore floorball in the previous six months,“ claimed Vladich.
Singapore’s Akmal Shaharudin (#2) seems to be to regain possession of the ball at the Globe Championships. (Photograph: Singapore Floorball Affiliation)
Vladich cited the ActiveSG Nationwide Floorball League as 1 of the regions the affiliation programs to carry on doing work on. “We want to carry on its advancement so that it can be the pathway for players of the countrywide workforce, as properly as for leisure (players). We’d like to create on that so that it can be satisfying for all participants to carry on to enjoy floorball.”
“We’re also wanting at how we can increase the abilities of the officers as properly as the coaching structure in Singapore. I feel with that it’ll be helpful to building the coaching of the countrywide workforce as properly as the league.”
Interim SFA president Kenneth Ho claims the affiliation is wanting to tap into international expertise. “We are wanting to perhaps deliver in international coaches to conduct courses, as properly as to acquire a syllabus for our neighborhood coaches. We want to introduce this to the youth teams, so that they can come to be much better and type the future era of the countrywide workforce.”
MANILA: The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has been urged to relook its Charter and redefine its consensus-setting up system. Professionals have also lifted the want for the regional bloc to be adaptive and adequately adaptable to accomplish unity, in the confront of shifting alliances among the its 10 member states.
This yr, ASEAN solidarity was set to the examination by concerns bordering the South China Sea that dominated the region’s geo-political landscape.
In July, The Hague international tribunal dominated that there was no basis for China’s claim about large parts of the South China Sea and that it experienced violated the Philippines’ exclusive sovereign rights in the sea.
It was a victory for former President Benigno Aquino and his battle with Beijing about the issue. But the new administration in Manila has taken a distinct strategy.
The sea dispute was set on the backburner as President Rodrigo Duterte normalised relations with Beijing, the strategic realignment culminating in a state take a look at to China and financial commitment claims value about US$20 billion.
In distinction, the Philippines’ relations with its previous ally, the United States, attained a new reduced in 2016.
President Duterte, reacting to the Obama administration’s criticism of his war on medication, declared Manila would lessen its economic and navy reliance on Washington. But the tone has considering the fact that softened.
Duterte, who has explained he and US President-elect Donald Trump have the exact same temperament, hopes to have a better partnership with the incoming administration.
“Donald Trump has produced it clear that his curiosity is in economic relations and the other factors like political and navy protection … would move from how economic relations are in fact seen,” explained Professor Hermann Kraft, University of the Philippines.
US-Philippine ties in the new yr could well hinge on irrespective of whether Trump implements the trade and immigration insurance policies he promised all through his campaign. They could not only set the Philippine economic climate underneath pressure, but also sprint any hope of a reset to the partnership.
VIETNAM’S BALANCING ACT
In excess of in Vietnam, it was a historic yr for ties with the United States – former enemies whose reconciliation arrived comprehensive circle with President Barack Obama’s take a look at in May, when he declared that the US fully elevate the a long time-previous arms embargo on the country.
U.S. President Barack Obama shakes fingers with Vietnam’s President Tran Dai Quang after an arrival ceremony at the presidential palace in Hanoi, Vietnam, on May 23, 2016. (REUTERS/Carlos Barria)
Powering warming ties with the US, even so, Hanoi has the regular and pressing want to equilibrium relations with its major buying and selling companion China, and manage their contesting promises in the South China Sea.
“It’s not vital for strong statements toward China, but it is vital to have much more meetings and talks to interact and share Vietnam’s point of view. The best priority is to meet and communicate. If there is no assembly or communicate, the option then is to struggle. But war is not in anyone’s passions,” explained the Former Director of Vietnam’s National Border Committee Tran Cong Truc.
Vietnam has explained it does not rule out any peaceful and authorized indicates of settling its territorial disputes – which technically consists of taking its situation to court like the Philippines.
Professionals in the country explained arbitration is a seen as a final vacation resort for a federal government which has produced clear its priority is to manage the conflict with dialogue and negotiation, which indicates bilateral talks with all claimant states.
But for Vietnam, the South China Sea dispute is also a regional issue which will have to continue to be firmly on the ASEAN agenda, according to its officials.
Adaptability Desired TO Maintain ASEAN’S CENTRALITY: Professionals
ASEAN’s overarching curiosity in the South China Sea is to maintain peace and steadiness, but it is discovering it much more difficult to talk with a person voice when each member state has differing countrywide passions to secure.
However, senior diplomats from the region think ASEAN will have to be adaptable to maintain its centrality.
“I feel now is the time (exactly where) ASEAN can endorse an architecture for the region that has an adaptive potential (that is) adequately fluid, adequately adaptable to be in a position to accomplish unity,” explained Mr Marty Natalegawa, who was Indonesia’s International Minister underneath President Suslio Bambang Yudhoyono.
He included: “I feel ASEAN will have to be in a position to make sure that this is not an possibly-or proposition. Now it is achievable to have a united cohesive ASEAN speaking with a person voice and at the exact same time make it achievable for personal ASEAN member states to have these other near relations with powers outdoors ASEAN. As prolonged as individuals countries recognise that in the closing assessment, their curiosity of the region will have to be main in their problem.”
Mr Ong Keng Yong, ASEAN’s former Secretary-Common, explained it is time the regional bloc re-take into account its consensus-setting up strategy.
“Maybe we can say: Ok, now probably we need to search at our ASEAN constitution, considering the fact that that is our constitutional document, exactly where the norms and practices of ASEAN have been embodied,” explained Mr Ong who served from 2003-2007. “Let’s search at the ASEAN constitution and see: Can we do some innovative mechanisms to say – in some conditions it does not have to be 10 out of 10. 8 out of 10 is sufficient or nine out of 10 is sufficient.”
It has been eight a long time considering the fact that the ASEAN Charter arrived into pressure. For the duration of that time, there have been major developments in the region that have needed ASEAN’s ideal and well timed reaction.
There is a provision for the Charter to be reviewed each individual five a long time, and most likely the Philippines may well set the agenda on the desk when it gets ASEAN Chair in 2017.
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DHAKA: Some fifty,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled to Bangladesh from Myanmar, the foreign ministry in Dhaka explained on Thursday (Dec 29), looking for shelter from a bloody crackdown by the army.
Bangladesh has stepped up patrols to consider to stem the tide of refugees crossing the border considering that an eruption of unrest in Myanmar’s western point out of Rakhine in early Oct.
A factfile on Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslim minority. (AFP/Gal ROMA, Laurence CHU)
The foreign ministry summoned Myanmar’s ambassador to categorical “deep worry at the continued inflow” of tens of hundreds of associates of the stateless ethnic minority into its territory.
“(We) mentioned that close to fifty,000 Myanmar citizens took shelter into Bangladesh considering that 09 Oct 2016,” the ministry explained in a statement.
Rakhine borders Bangladesh and is home to the Rohingya – a Muslim minority group loathed by many of Myanmar’s Buddhist bulk.
Dhaka also demanded early repatriation of all Burmese citizens who have been living in the Muslim-bulk nation for decades, which includes some 300,000 Rohingya – most of them illegally.
A spokesman for the United Nations Substantial Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) instructed AFP that at the very least 43,000 Rohingya have taken shelter in Bangladesh considering that Oct.
The vast bulk of all those who arrived took refuge in makeshift settlements, formal refugee camps and villages in Bangladesh’s resort district of Cox’s Bazar.
A lot of of all those interviewed by AFP instructed horrific tales of gang-rape, torture and murder at the arms of Myanmar security forces.
Myanmar has denied allegations of abuse but has banned foreign journalists and unbiased investigators from accessing the place.
Bangladesh’s govt has been underneath tension to open up its border to the fleeing refugees, in a crisis which has been described as a marketing campaign of ethnic cleansing towards the Rohingya.
But it has strengthened its border posts and deployed coastguard ships to protect against contemporary arrivals.
In the past 3 months, its border guards have prevented hundreds of boats packed with hundreds of Rohingya girls and youngsters from entering the country.
ULAANBAATAR: 30-nine 12 months aged Otgonjargal left her hometown in western Zavkhan province about 15 many years ago to make a dwelling in the cash Ulaanbaatar.
She sells dresses and other components beside a road, but small business has by no means been as negative.
This 12 months, her small business has plunged 50 for every cent as the economic climate shrank.
Some of her customers are no for a longer time equipped to acquire items from her mainly because they have not received their wage.
Otgonjargal blames the politicians for her ordeals.
“Of training course I’m unhappy with the politicians mainly because the price of our currency has gotten lessen and lessen, and even though I’ve by no means labored alongside one another with the politicians, from the outside the house, it is simple to see that they are not accomplishing very well.”
She is not alone.
Quite a few Mongolians are pissed off by the government’s seeming incapacity to comprise the financial fallout.
1 reported: “Our authorities is not accomplishing very well adequate right now mainly because it is filled with corruption, which is why I’m unhappy with politicians.”
A further reported that politics is really a concern in Mongolia now. These kinds of grudges helped propel the opposition Mongolian People’s Party to a crushing victory at the polls.
Quite a few Mongolians are pissed off by their government’s seeming incapacity to make improvements to the economic climate. (Photo: Jeremy Koh)
Political watchers say the success of June’s parliamentary elections suggests popular annoyance with the economic climate.
The opposition Mongolian People’s Party won in a landslide. It took 65 of the parliament’s 76 seats, leaving the incumbent Democratic Party with only nine seats.
Opposition politician Ganbat Ganchil, the Chair of the United Patriots Party reported: “The purpose why we’re experiencing the financial downturn and why the unemployment and poverty rate is mounting is mainly because of corruption. Also, thanks to this corruption, we’re getting rid of a ton of traders from overseas.”
In accordance to a poll executed by the Sant Maral Basis, Mongolia’s major polling organisation, about just one-third of respondents reported they didn’t trust any of the political events to appropriately lead the region.
And seventy seven for every cent stated that none of the events accurately represented public viewpoint.
Mongolia received independence from the Soviet Union extra than two a long time ago, and even though the election outcome showed that democracy is at perform in Mongolia, observers say the technique is much from ideal.
Bolormaa Mashlai, Chairperson of the Females Leader Basis reported: “Democracy has labored out for 26 many years, but what we will need to do is to manage democracy, but what we did was to have far too much liberty, and persons are really unhappy by that mainly because they expected far too much from democracy, so we will need to perform on the persons.
We will need to make them extra capable, educate them and present them with extra information and facts.”
Sandwiched in between China and Russia, Mongolia is a youthful democracy trying to sail by way of an financial storm.
And the existing disaster will set to test not just the country’s financial toughness, but also that of its political technique.