the waters. >> of great india. companies are given a ratings list as modi says it will be the best place to do business. it is time to talk. the korean leader calls for a summit with the north, saying its nuclear program would not be a precondition to look at the cost of potential unification. and, appetite for change in sri lanka. the new president thomas is open government and may name his cabinet today. all that and more in this monday edition of "asia edge." >> i'm john dawson. the markets today up. fairly mixed, but more or less the reason hong kong is rising is hutchison whampoa and cheung kong holdings are both seeing significant gains. about 18% each. li ka-shing driving the two. the rest are seeing declines. resource stocks, australia, down
, china falling for the same reason. japan is closed today for coming-of-age day in japan. markets closed, reopening tomorrow. quickly, look at the key markets, the story there on this li ka-shing story. cheung kong is up by 40.5% right now. was up by 80% -- 14.5%, was up 18%. those two are flying high on that story. more details later on in the show. >> more details also on what is going on in china with our interview with the chairman of ubs. we were talking about europe at the end of the last -- just before the last break. let's pick up on that. you were talking about the asset
purchase program. one of the consequences of it would be a cheaper euro. how much do you think that will help? >> it has already helped. you can see that the mere discussion around having such a program has already helped the euro come down from a $1.40 to a 1.18. we are likely seeing further depreciation of the euro, around 1.10 is my guess. that has helped the european economy. it helps all the european economies. any time germany is among the company -- among the countries that profits most. this helps europe as a whole to rebound. >> what it does also highlight is the difficulties europe has had in the last few years trying to get out of this quagmire that it finds itself in. that is also through the prism
of this bifurcated interest rate environment with the u.s. and the u.k. going in one direction and the europeans and japanese going in the opposite. >> that would assume -- and i think every time we talked about in the past, we have been wrong -- it would assume there is a long-term sustainable recovery of the u.s. and the u.k. from the rest of the world economy. you can see that europe will continue to have low interest rates, expand the balance sheet, the same in japan. here in china, there is discussion of monetary easing. there is a likely development of interest rate reductions here. it is merely a differential that is there at the moment. i don't think the fed can continue on the announcements priced in past. there will be repercussions in the global economy and the coming down of oil prices giving the fed option allergy to implement monetary policy tightening in a different way
than is currently priced into the market. at current trends, i don't really see that the fed will start a fast or strong rate hike sequence. they will lift interest rate in the summer. i think that's a given. they will then become very data-dependent and take into account the action that is there on the rest of the economy. the fragile five, the emerging markets, will feel some volatility from that. >> you've got the greater china conference going on, you are a regular visitor to this part of the world. how are you looking at the chinese economy right now? how the you compare it to the previous time you were there? >> every time i'm here, china is a larger part of the world economy, contributing to global growth. china is now in normal growth rates. our projection is 6.8% this year maybe 6.5% next year.
the property market will continue to absorb the capacity overhang. there is a likely 10% continued decline in housing starts. there is a circulation in china of assets from the real estate market into the equity markets. we will probably see continued bull markets in the equity markets largely on the large caps. the mid caps are more in a bear market. i see china in a very strong position. the current weakening is cyclical. it will accelerate some of the growth enhancing reforms. by and large, china is in a very good position. we might see the rmb slightly depreciate. the government is very aware that they need to control the situation and be very alert to the financial markets and the property correction that is on the way. >> when you talk about the financial markets, a stunning rally we've had on the shanghai composite. do you think investors have become too bullish right now?
are we do for a correction? >> there is probably not going to be the same dynamic going forward, but by and large, i think the two trends driving that continue to be intact. there will be continuous inflow of money and funds from overseas. there will be a continued circulation from assets bonds and real estate products into equities. that diversification of domestic investors will continue to be a supporting factor. in my view, there is no reason to believe this current dynamic will be not intact this year. maybe there will be an upswing. >> what do you think is the biggest threat to growth? >> as i already said, the correction in the housing market , the general global economy of course the u.s. dollar will
impact on emerging markets. it will impact on these markets going forward. we haven't yet seen the full effect of the decline in oil prices. by and large, the mixed set of results will impact the economy. the one thing that is sure is that the global market economy will be more volatile this year. there is a high degree of uncertainty. it will depend on how authorities will deal with these repercussions. in china, focusing on the correction in financial markets and deepening capital markets deepening bond markets in the area will be a key driver going forward. that will, in my view, occur in an orderly fashion. >> talk about the banking industry as a whole. you've got so many years experience. what do you make of u.s. and european authorities in their crackdown and fines on the
industry and the different banks within it, and also attempted curbs on banker pay. do you think they have gone too far? >> no, i think what we've had is, after the largest financial crisis in postwar history there needed to be some correction in the market. the whole capital raising, better liquidity planning, that has all been dealt with by the banks. now, it is about aligning pay structures with long-term interests of investors and shareholders. there has been some industry problems in conduct in some of these markets. that is being corrected. we've been very proactive to deal with that internally. we've been very proactive in working with the authorities to deal with that. i think this year will be the one where the industry's get on top of these issues. it has to change in a big way conduct in these trading environments. we are seeing that happening and
i think it is for the better. >> thank you very much indeed for joining us. the greater china taking place in shanghai. >> now to a story that is moving markets in hong kong. billionaire li ka-shing's shakeup of his empire. zeb eckert joins us with the details. cheung kong holdings surging to levels not seen in years. >> the stock is moving in response to this decision by the company to split it up. the corporate empire that has made him a billionaire, the richest man in hong kong, now undergoing changes. this restructuring effectively splits the businesses apart and puts the property business in one separate entity and allows cheung kong to go out and invest in new businesses. that is what we've seen in recent months. they have expanded into the aviation leasing business. they bought 45 planes from general election.
__from general electric. they are also keeping the li family actively engaged as shareholders, allowing them to go out and seek these deals. let's listen in. >> if you have two separate companies side-by-side, both controlled by li family, and any shareholder owning shares in each of the companies will be investing directly together with the chairman, so the interests are aligned. to use some of the words they say, there's no more concubines. >> so, the company evolving. li ka-shing very closely watched by investors. >> i guess the question would be why did they feel there was a need to go through this whole rebound in the first place? >> you don't want to keep the business the same for all its years. we've heard in recent years, this increasing push by the
company to diversify. they've spun off some assets. they sold some of their retail business, the $6 billion deal in march. that was a minority stake in a.s. watson. then it spun off and had an ipo of hong kong electric, the main electric provider in hong kong islands. all of this impacts how investors perceive the company and the shares rallied. >> a big impact on how rich li is now. >> back at the top of the list. >> thank you very much. >> let's look at some of the stories this morning. indonesia's wreck yo -- rescue agency says that the flight recorder has been located and will be brought to the surface. they are looking for the voice recorder that should reveal what was happening in the cockpit at the time of the crash. a large piece of wreckage has been spotted. it is thought to be the large part of the fuselage.
more than one million ordinary people and dozens of world leaders marched through paris to remember the victims of the "charlie hebdo" attack. president hollande said paris is at the center of the world at the moment. similar rallies were held elsewhere in france and across europe. the suspected gunmen gave interviews to belgian television before the attacks saying they were acting on behalf of al qaeda in yemen. the suspects in the paris supermarket siege said he was inspired by al qaeda's it arrival, the islamic state. these images just coming through from the northwestern province in pakistan, where that military school which was attacked by the taliban is set to reopen today. these live images -- let me just remind you, more than 140 children and teachers were massacred on the 16th of december. the violence was condemned
around the world and prompted the government to reintroduce the death sentence for such attacks. many of the students had parents in the army. these are images just coming through from peshawar. that school now heavily guarded. the korean president has held her annual new year press conference. president park geun-hye was addressing a domestic audience. she said her government would focus on the economy. she also spoke about north korea, saying that pyongyang should resume plans for family reunion. she said that soeoul is open to a summit with pyongyang, saying the nuclear program would not be a precondition. >> lots more to come here on "asia edge" including, made in china, sold in the states. volvo's radical new production
>> let's check back in on the markets. investment strategist at private capital limited joins us now. tell us, you are telling us that market volatility is rising due to a currency mismatch. what does that mean? >> it means the third world, the emerging markets, have gone longer dollar debt, but they are short of their own currencies. they have to repay more and more of their own currencies just to repay the debt. they need more and more russian rubles. >> you are thinking a third world debt crisis. >> a very severe one.
the people that own these dollar bonds are the fund managers and they are going to have huge redemptions facing them. that is going to have all sorts of ricochet efax in the banking system. >> the emerging markets currencies are tanking recently. that has helped a lot of them reduce their trade deficits. how does that work out? >> i've never been a buyer of debt. i dispel this myth that a weak currency helps exports. if they did, how come the european exports aren't picking up? how come the russian exports aren't picking up? the ruble is now halved. what we found in our research was that if anything, it is the strong currency that helps exports. the unit labor costs are much lower in strong currency countries. they have to be much more on the ball until they produce ever better goods.
hate to say it, like the germans, like the japanese countries like the swiss. they are relatively price insensitive. >> what would be the correct frame when it comes to emerging markets? the correct trade. >> i would be short of e.m. asia, except for china and india. i think those are two very good markets to be in. the economic slump is taking very nicely. i think the other economies in asia will be hit by this rather nasty -- we saw the foretaste of this with the russians coming in. now we see that one chinese property developer is having problems to repay his dollar related debt. >> where are these funds in china given everything that is going on in the property sector? analysts saying it is still undervalued, not as crowded as
other emerging markets. >> i've been quite positive on china for many months. i felt the economic tide had to change. they have to go from excess demand of money to excess supply of money. that has been feeding the asset markets. the other point that has to be made is that many people whine about the low growth rate of 6% -- china's economy now is 100 times the size that it was back in the 1970's. it is three times the size it was in the 1990's. if you want stronger growth 6% now is equivalent to about 18% in 1990. >> are we expecting a currency war in 2015? the ecb -- there is a lot of debate on whether or not to do quantitative easing. one of their options now would be devaluing their currency. >> that is what they've been doing along with everybody else. again, i'm not a buyer of this
myth that it is going to help exports. what they are trying to do is fan domestic inflation. it doesn't really work that way. if people say that deflation is bad for growth because people wait until the price falls more, how come they have been buying more and more computers and high-tech goods? >> you will get more on that in our group discussion later. stick around. enzio of private capital limited. in a moment, an upgrade in india. companies enjoy ratings hikes as modi says it will be the place to do business. we have reaction live from mumbai when "asia edge" returns. ♪
>> something of an image makeover in the last year with companies upgraded. prime minister narendra modi promising to make the economy the place to do business. what has he been saying now? >> even as the prime minister -- [indiscernible] he has promised to speed up the ease of doing business in the country. bloomberg reporting that
countries in india have been upgraded at the fastest pace in five years. this as modi's efforts to revive the economy bear fruit. moody's investors raised the credit score of 870 local borrowers last year and cut the ratings of 539, the best upgrade to downgrade ratio since 2009. s&p has upgraded 741 companies and downgraded 451. the ratio, really bullish for the first time in months. several reform measures undertaken by the government. the government issuing an executive order, making it easier for companies to buy land . several projects -- [indiscernible] the coal sector has been at the forefront of a privatization struggle. mr. modi expediting.
in fact, let's hear prime minister modi on the ease of doing business. >> [inaudible] let us join hands. let us work together for progress. >> even so, there is a big backlog of plans waiting approval, $200 billion of projects. mr. modi has seen his policy proposals stalling in the upper house. >> thank you very much indeed for that. just about 20 minutes to go before things get started. let's take a look at what the
prospects of the trading day are at the moment. futures currently indicating that we have a slack session actually. nifty futures down by about 0.25%. we are also checking in with tokyo. normally, you would be looking forward to a reopening. there is a holiday there. this is a move down for the australian market. weakness in seoul is apparent. 0.2% down. here in hong kong, hutchison whampoa and cheung kong holdings leading a charge on the hang seng. ♪
>> a major development in the air asia search. the flight data recorder is brought to the surface. the hang seng is the leading gains in the region led by hutchison and cheung kong. nukes are no precondition as south korea calls for talks with the north. let's get the latest from the markets with john dawson. >> very much a down day for the markets. japan is closed for coming-of-age day. a slight gain in hong kong.
led by cheung kong holdings and hutchison whampoa. li ka-shing with a $24 billion stock integration. that is the reason why it is up. cheung kong holdings, up 18% earlier, up 14.5%. hutchison whampoa rise about 12.5%. without those two stocks, you would see declines. china is down 2%. significant declines. tomorrow is the trade data on china exports. the concern again, after three sessions of declines, is it going to be an omen for the traders? exports have not been good as forecast. taiwan, malaysia, seeing slight
declines. you can see from this story right here, the hang seng composite, a few seeing gains. that is because of hutchison whampoa and cheung kong holdings. we will show you, in real estate -- [indiscernible] up by 3%, countering the declines of financials. because of the heavy weight of cheung kong holdings you can see, we are seeing big gains. cheung kong holdings up 14.5%. that is driving up the sector of financials. finally, the australian market resources are a theme across asia today. also selling off significantly. oil and gas off about 2%.
resources off 1.5%. mining and industrial metals mining stocks 1.5% down. there they are. the same theme in china. resource stocks are driving at lower. >> some positive noise is coming out of the korean peninsula. president park geun-hye saying that seuooul is open to a summit with pyongyang. nuclear ambitions would not be a stopping block. de-nuclearization was a precondition to talks taking place. zeb has been looking at this and listening to the annual news conference. >> her new year's news conference. this is quite interesting. there are no preconditions according to the president for a summit with north korea. if this happens, it would be the
first summit since 2007. we have seen a warming of relations to some extent between the north and south. just last month, we had three top security officials close to kim jong-un traveling to the south to meet with president park's security advisers. >> some positive noise coming out of the north too. >> indeed. they have made some rumblings or indications to washington that they would be able to back out some of their nuclear tests if the united states does not engage in military exercises with the south. washington has said that is something they cannot agree to. >> stick around. we have explored the cost of possible reunification. >> the two koreas have technically been at war since 1953. let's imagine they put their issues aside and pursued unification.
how much would it cost to put them back together? let's look at the most recent comparable transaction, east and west germany. the bill for rebuilding the country cost the west about $2 trillion. when the wall fell 25 years ago the west german economy was about 10 times the size of the east. that is where the problem lies. the lack of reliable information. we just don't know a whole lot about the north. pyongyang hasn't released official gdp data since 1965. the best estimate perhaps is from the south korean central bank which puts its northern neighbor's economy at about $30 billion, making the south about 50 times larger. how much would it cost? just to show you how much in the dark everybody is, estimates range from $50 billion to more than $3 trillion. the financial services commission put out an estimate of $500 billion to be spent over
20 years. even its chief admits he is embarrassed at how unreliable their calculations are. while he can barely make a rough estimate at the moment, we do know it won't be cheap and it won't be simple. south korea's 50 million people enjoy one of the world's highest living standards. many of the north's 24 million suffer from malnutrition and an all-powerful oppressive state. despite the uncertainties and instabilities of the future, the two countries are hugely complementary. south korea's president described it as an economic bonanza. imagine what you would get if you could combine the capital and technological skills of the south and the labor and natural resources of the north. on paper, it is a great idea. then again, until we have more light from the north star, all this is at best simply a guesstimate. >> ok, the cost is vast.
park geun-hye was not restricting her comments to what is happening with the north. what else does she have to say? she talked about the economy. >> reunification is unlikely to happen in the near future. more near-term concerns are that the economic generating ability of south korea, to keep its economy moving forward. it is asia's third-largest economy. in her address, president park made a point to say reforms need to be taken within the government, within the structural side of the economy. policy framework will focus on the public sector labor, finance, industry, and education. she said there need to the new drivers of growth. we are seeing the won move today. >> thank you very much indeed zeb eckert.
>> search and rescue teams have found the black box flight recorder from the crashed air asia plane and brought it to the surface. now, the hunt is on for the voice recorder which should reveal what was happening in the cockpit as the plane went down. live now to jakarta. we have been looking for answers for weeks now. we are finally a step closer. >> yes, we are. search and rescue agency has confirmed to have found the black box. it was around five kilometers from where they found the tale of the plane. the search is now focusing on operations to locate the cockpit voice recorder. the black box is located on the crashed part of the aircraft debris. it may take up to three to four months to download and analyze the data. we would then find out what caused the plane to crash.
the national weather bureau has said seasonal storms were likely to be the factor. 48 bodies from the total 162 people traveling have been found in the java sea. >> indonesia's aviation industry has been criticized for being chaotic. what does this incident tell us? >> this incident has clearly highlighted enormous pressure for joko widodo to bring transparency and efficiency to the air sector. flight qz8501 took off without permission to fly that day. they have removed officials involved in indonesia and state airport companies. the transport ministry also found other airlines in breach. 61 flight routes from indonesian
airlines have permit issues. the government has also suspended the license -- [indiscernible] corruption investigation is now investigating the possible corruption in the air asia permit breach. back to you. >> let's now take a look at some other stories making headlines. >> celebrating a milestone thanks to the chinese market. strong demand for 10 million vehicles. that is four years earlier than expected. the liveries to china and hong kong rose more than 12%. the chief executive said vw is making progress in improving
profitability and customer satisfaction. more questions about a chinese developer that began the year with default. kasisa holdings had more money due last week on death. and, li ka-shing's companies are rallying in hong kong after a major revamp announcement. hutchison whampoa and cheung kong soared the most and that will push li up to the top of asia's rich list. those were the top corporate headlines this hour. i am haslinda amin. >> cheung kong could see billions more added to the net worth of li ka-shing. where is he now in the bloomberg billionaire index? >> this is the global stat. this is not exactly updated yet. still, you can see, jack ma
ahead of li ka-shing. >> and that. >> it has been the and neck for a long time -- neck and neck for a long time. li ka-shing poised to become the number one in asia again. 19th right now globally. that's why they call him superman. that is his nickname. >> how hard is this race now between these two? >> it is pretty tight. we were asking our reporters. right now, li is beating jack ma by $3 billion. >> which would take him up to 16th place, wouldn't it? >> possibly. in the past year, we have seen li ka-shing make quite a bit of acquisitions. from australian guest rooster beaters to airplanes -- australian gas distributors to airplanes. he actually gained the most last
year added $25.1 billion 56% surge since his company became public in september. we are talking about number three in asia wang ljianlin, he actually is number three, pretty close as well, real estate company just listed in hong kong. not far away from the top two in asia right now. >> thank you very much indeed, yvonne man with the latest on li ka-shing getting even richer. >> up next, we will discuss the similarities between oil and tax cuts. ♪
let's start with the measure that you use, economic time. how much has the economic time improved since this plunge in oil prices? >> it has been true for the u.s. we see that in the strong retail sales that have come through. we see the retail sales somewhat improving consumer confidence. the lower price forecasts are helping because it is a tax cut. it has put money in the pocket of joe normal, the consumer. not for hong kong. there is no decline in petrol prices. the economic jump in the states would be more excess demand for growth, not inflationary. the stronger growth does not lead to stronger inflation. it is simply a myth to leave that. >> my friend was so upset. oil stocks. he had just purchased some and
then they plunged. is that nothing he should keep? you are saying we should buy cheaper commodities. >> i think so. this is not the end of the world. you are going to find something from the supply side angle, which cannot be underestimated which is that the supply of commodities is going to be cutback drastically. we see this already. the number of oil rigs at its lowest for the past 10 years or so. we have seen in the gold-mining sector that the gold production is going to be cutback. it is going to be a supply-side argument. cutting back supply. >> you can't really guarantee that, given that it is more of a geopolitical issue as well. >> on a geopolitical -- >> there is a conspiracy. surrounding it as well. >> you could say that maybe the price of oil has fallen because the americans won the russians on their knees. >> as a conspiracy theorist, you
would agree with that one. [laughter] >> certainly, geopolitical risks will definitely help gold. gold, in our view, is an insurance policy. it is not an investment. you don't go swapping your insurance policies, at least i hope not yet. >> it is an inflation hedge. >> going forward, yes. >> we've been talking about india all morning as well. are we going to see with the equities going how they have been, gdp growth are we going to see maybe the first half of this decade, superseding china? what do you think? >> [inaudible] >> having said that, i am pro-india and pro-china. whether it gets a little bit
bigger than china or a little bit smaller than china, on the face of it, america is smaller than the chinese economy. which economy is more powerful? clearly, the u.s. but i do believe the economic time is going to remain very good. i think that modi is making good on his promises. he is beginning to pull that model into the overall indian economy. or so it would seem. it is more of a tortoise than a ahhare. >> you have to convince foreign businesses they can invest in the country. >> which is a soft work problem. >> talking of software problems, structural reform. we've got japan and europe. a lot of talk, but -- >> there are museums in europe
and barricaded museums in japan. they are not allowing imports in the sense that the tax rates are so unbelievably high. why would you want to do business in europe? >> why lack of a recognition of doing something about it? you can't think them all with the same brush, can you? >> you can't necessarily. one of the downsides of democracy is that you make promises. you know that you are going to be in office for the next few years, and you get yourself a nice juicy position after that. you say to the government -- [indiscernible] that's wonderful, says the european. then the welfare state goes up the taxes go up. the finances go south. >> we take it for granted that quantitative easing coming from the ecb next thursday -- but
over the weekend, we have these comments saying, maybe not. >> why would it work anyway? >> it is what we call the liquidity trap. in 1980's economics which dates may. you keep on pumping more and more money. the central banks have been the dustmen of the politicians. they are seeking to scrape away all this rubbish. i don't see any really meaty reforms coming through in certain parts of europe. that is going to keep the pace going backwards. >> not in japan either. >> not in japan, because there, the debt is so domestic that they can afford to not do anything. i'm very concerned for them. >> i think the idea is, we would get the euro to fall back further, making germany in
particular more competitive abroad. it is a fallacy to this argument. you can't keep on devaluing your way to success. a short-term solution perhaps. >> we found out that whenever you have a weak currency, you have huge trade deficits, not trade surplus. that is because, when you devalue the currency, the import costs rise. those import costs have to be put into the export goods. it has to import more steel from abroad. so the import costs rise. >> thank you very much indeed. still to come, the shanghai auto show may be a little bit less alluring this year. >> morals take precedent over models. >> "asia edge" is back in a couple minutes. ♪
>> volkswagen becomes the first major carmaker when it comes to america's appetite for made in china. >> more on what some might say is a radical plan. >> not really radical. this is an inevitability. made in china, the cars it is a huge market already. >> everything else is made in china anyway. >> there's been quality issues, perception issues. there's a lot of regulatory issues for cars that have to be imported into the united states. a lot of scrutiny. there's some trade wars as well. obama a couple years ago slapped those tiger duties from china. china retaliated with bigger cars from the united states into china. there's a lot of issues here. there have been other carmakers.
geely tried to do it, the parent of volvo. >> but it didn't work out. >> if anybody's going to do it it is going to be volvo. it is not a pure chinese player. >> the ceo said that they are going to begin baby steps exporting the china made volvo sedan. they might do some others later but they are going to try that out. volvo has a reputation already in america. up until last year, the united states was volvo's biggest market. now china is. for the last decade, growth has been declining. >> full disclosure, you have a volvo. >> that is not why i'm doing this story. >> very quickly, the shanghai car show.
>> what is happening there has happened in the past. the government thinks it is getting a bit racy with the auto models coming out in their skimpy outfits. they've come out with a statement. let me read from it. we want to ensure that the show returns to its original spirit showcasing automobiles, not flesh. they say they are not ruling out banning these models. >> no models at all or no models with skimpy outfits? >> maybe they will be wearing trousers and codes. maybe a hijab. steve, thank you very much indeed. steve engle having a look at volvo and beyond. perhaps we may not be getting any scantily clad models. bloomberg.com should be your news source each day, every day, 24/7.