• Bitcoin Breaks $10,000 barrier
  • North Korea says new ICBM puts U.S. mainland within range of nuclear weapon
  • Thai Central Bank Finalising Deal on QAB With Bank Negara
  • Black Friday crushes Singles’ Day Chatter in Southeast Asia
  • Visa and AKPK to Launch App for Retirement
  • More support for media freelancers in Singapore with launch of tripartite standard

Bitcoin Breaks $10,000 barrier

Bitcoin broke above the $10,000 mark for the first time today as the virtual currency continued a stratospheric rise that has seen it increase more than tenfold this year. The cryptocurrency surged to a high of $10,059 in early Asian hours, according to Bloomberg News, though the recent surge in the volatile unit has fuelled fears of a bubble. Traded on specialist platforms, with no legal exchange rate and no central bank backing it, Bitcoin is monitored and regulated by its community of users, and is used to buy everything from pizza to a pint in a London pub. (Japan Today)

In London, Bank of England Deputy Governor Jon Cunliffe said bitcoin is not at a size where it would pose a risk to the global economy. “I would just say investors kind of need to do their homework,” Cunliffe told BBC radio. He said he did not think British households as a whole were going on a “debt-fueled binge” but added that fast rates of consumer credit growth needed to be watched. (Reuters)

North Korea says new ICBM puts U.S. mainland within range of nuclear weapons

North Korea said it had successfully tested a powerful new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that put all of the U.S. mainland within range, declaring it had achieved its long-held goal of becoming a nuclear state. Wednesday’s missile test came a week after U.S. President Donald Trump put North Korea back on a US. list of countries it says support terrorism, allowing it to impose more sanctions. North Korea said the new powerful missile reached an altitude of around 4,475 km – more than 10 times the height of the international space station – and flew 950 km during its 53 minute flight. (Reuters)

Thai Central Bank Finalising Deal on QAB With Bank Negara

The Bank of Thailand (BoT) expects to finalise a deal with Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), on Qualified ASEAN Banking (QAB) criteria soon, paving the way for indigenous banks in one country to operate in the other and receive treatment as local banks.  According to BoT Governor, Veerathai Santiprabhob, it was in the process of negotiating with Indonesia’s Financial Services Authority and the Central Bank of Myanmar on the establishment of QAB. “We are negotiating with three central banks but the agreement with Malaysia should soon be finalised,” he was quoted as saying by the local media. BoT signed its first Heads of Agreement on a reciprocal bilateral arrangement regarding QAB with BNM last year, he added. The bilateral arrangement is part of an umbrella agreement called the ASEAN Banking Integration Framework, which provides greater access for indigenous ASEAN banks to other member countries’ banking sector as well as operational flexibility on a reciprocal basis. (Bernama)

Black Friday crushes Singles’ Day Chatter in Southeast Asia

While Singles’ Day hit a record US$25.3 billion dollars in sales, it was Black Friday and Cyber Monday that dominated social media chatter in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. Meltwater, a global media intelligence company, tracked online reactions in the lead-up to – and during – Singles’ Day, Black Friday and Cyber Monday and found that over eight in ten conversations (82.92%) online were focused on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. “The rise of Singles’ Day in recent years has been astronomical, breaking records every year and drawing interest from around the globe. While it’s clear that Chinese consumers are spending and talking about Singles’ Day, this massive spend and conversation in China seems to have translated poorly to other markets in Southeast Asia. Black Friday and Cyber Monday still prevail, highlighting the fact that these markets have yet to be fully penetrated by the Chinese phenomenon,” said Neil Brennan, Area Director, Meltwater Japan and South East Asia. Meltwater tracked online perceptions across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, blogs, forums, message boards and review sites from 28 October to 28 November 2017. Regionally, Indonesia led the way driving the highest volume of online chatter with 88.6% of conversations centered around Black Friday and Cyber Monday.  Out of the three markets monitored, Singapore generated the most social media buzz for Singles’ Day, accounting for 22.14% of the conversations, followed closely by Malaysia at 21.97%. (Media Release)

Visa and AKPK to Launch App for Retirement

Visa and Malaysia’s Credit Counselling and Debt Management Agency (AKPK) are launching a new mobile app Financial Insight, that will give Malaysians a glimpse of how they look when they retire and whether they are saving sufficiently for their retirement. The Financial Insight mobile app was created for Malaysians after a pre-assessment on financial literacy was conducted by Visa and AKPK on 1,000 Malaysians. The survey showed that more than 55 per cent of Malaysians do not agree that they would be financially ready by their retirement age. The Visa AKPK study also highlighted that one in five Malaysians save less than 10 per cent of their monthly salaries even though nine out of 10 Malaysians set aside monthly savings. Financial Insight will be available for Malaysians to download from the app stores for iOS and Android users in mid-December. (Media Release)

More support for media freelancers in Singapore with launch of tripartite standard

A tripartite standard which aims to encourage fair and progressive workplaces that better support media freelancers was officially launched today. Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information Chee Hong Tat said that from Apr 1, 2018, companies must adopt the standard in order to qualify for media grants from the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and funding for Public Service Broadcast content. National broadcaster Mediacorp will also adopt the standard and apply the same criteria in their commissioning process, he added. The standard sets out industry best practices in four key areas: Written contracts, timely payment, dispute resolution and insurance. IMDA said the aim is to encourage fair and progressive workplaces that better support media freelancers. “Based on MCI’s Study on Freelancers in the Infocomm Media and Design Sectors in 2015, freelancers augment the media industry workforce by 50 per cent.” IMDA said. (CNA)