Market Talk – Monday, Feb. 8

ASIA:

China’s capital city, Beijing, will hand out about $1.5 million in a limited trial of the central bank’s digital currency, the municipal government announced over the weekend. That marks the third major test of the digital currency under development by the People’s Bank of China. The cities of Shenzhen and Suzhou held similar experiments in the last few months. In this trial, Beijing said it will select 50,000 from a pool of applicants to receive 200 yuan, or about $30 each, in the digital currency. Recipients can spend the money at designated offline locations or on parts of the e-commerce site JD.com during the upcoming Lunar New Year holiday.

Shares of Chinese short video app company Kuaishou started trading on Friday in Hong Kong, marking the start of its life as a publicly listed company. The company priced its shares at 115 Hong Kong dollars, which was at the top of its range. The initial public offering (IPO) raised 41.28 billion Hong Kong dollars ($5.32 billion), CNBC reported.

India’s central bank kept rates steady at record low levels as expected in its monetary policy committee meeting held on Friday and said it would maintain support for the economy’s recovery from the pandemic by ensuring ample liquidity for markets to absorb a massive government borrowing program. The repo rate or RBI’s key lending rate was held at 4%, while the reverse repo rate or its borrowing rate was left unchanged at 3.35%. The repo rate has been cut by a total of 115 basis points since March 2020 to cushion the shock from the COVID-19 pandemic.

PayPal Holdings Inc will wind down its domestic payments business in India from April 1, the company said in a statement on Friday. PayPal was a payments options on many Indian online apps such as travel and ticketing service MakeMy Trip, online film booking app BookMyShow and food delivery app Swiggy.

Hyundai Motor Group said on Monday it is not now in talks with Apple on autonomous electric cars, just a month after it confirmed early-stage talks with the tech giant, sending the automaker’s shares falling. The announcement ends weeks of internal divisions at Hyundai Motor, parent to both automakers, about the potential tie-up, with some executives raising concerns about becoming a contract manufacturer for the US tech giant in a partnership reminiscent of electronics firm Foxconn’s role in making device for Apple such as the iPhone.

The major Asian stock markets had a mixed day today:

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