Top News this Week (31 Dec)


Rounding up top investing articles from around the web, including articles shared on Twitter.

North Korea’s Kim orders military to accelerate war preparations: State media (Straits Times)

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has ordered its military, the munitions industry and the nuclear weapons sector to accelerate war preparations to counter what he called unprecedented confrontational moves by the US, state media said on Dec 28.

Speaking on the policy directions for the new year at a key meeting of the country’s ruling party on Dec 27, Mr Kim also said Pyongyang would expand strategic cooperation with “anti-imperialist independent” countries, news agency KCNA reported.

S’pore’s start-ups a top draw in region in challenging year; investors eye AI, green tech in 2024 (Straits Times)

The Republic was the largest venture capital market in South-east Asia in the first nine months of 2023, with local venture-backed firms accounting for 64 per cent of the region’s total deal volume, up from 56 per cent in the same period in 2022, according to data from Enterprise Singapore (EnterpriseSG) and DealStreetAsia. 

Tampines Mall evacuated after fire in fourth-floor store (Straits Times)

Shoppers were asked to evacuate Tampines Mall at around 9.30pm on Dec 27, following a fire in one of its stores on the fourth floor.

DAP, Umno clash over issues tied to Malay fears of weaker power (Straits Times)

A proposal for Malaysia to hold local council elections in large cities has been turned into a racial issue, stoking fears that the larger representation of minorities in these areas could weaken the majority Malays’ political power.

But the real issue, say analysts, is governance, and whether the multicultural parties in the current unity government can administer local councils together.

People here have not held back on buying insurance despite higher living costs and an uncertain job market over the past year.

The take-up for new policies remained robust in the third quarter, with annual premium policies rising 9.8 per cent from the second quarter to $886.9 million, according to Life Insurance Association of Singapore data.

Singaporean family desperate after egg scam wipes out S$150,000 in life savings (CNA)

Presents are the last thing on their minds, after the family of five tried to buy eggs online but fell victim to an e-commerce scam that wiped out more than S$150,000 (US$113,310) in life savings, spread across four bank accounts and a credit card. 

That was the money that would have paid for the teenage children’s university fees; their 81-year-old grandmother’s medical expenses; their housing loan; and eventual retirement for Mr and Mrs Singh. 

The family declined to be named in full, citing the need to protect themselves from further scams. 

Their case is not unique. Malware scams, which involve victims downloading apps that infect their phones with malware, are on the rise in Singapore.

In the first half of 2023, there were more than 750 incidents of Android device users falling prey to such scams, amounting to at least S$10 million lost. 

Ether rallies 6% in catch-up trade as investors position for January (CNBC)

“We believe it’s attributed to … a rotation back into the Ethereum ecosystem from other [Layer] 1s, which so far have outperformed ETH,” Needham analyst John Todaro told CNBC. “Solana and Avax among others have outperformed ETH, and now ETH is playing catch up on the rotation.”

Ether has trailed SOL throughout 2023. This month, it’s up about 15% compared to the SOL token’s 82% gain. On the year, ether has advanced 95%, while SOL has soared more than 980%.

Ether’s rise on Wednesday “signals that the market is finally rotating into an ETH-centric trade, though it probably will not fully manifest until after the U.S. spot Bitcoin ETF receives appropriate regulatory approvals,” said Matt Maximo, a senior research analyst at Grayscale Investments. “Ethereum’s on-chain activity remains extremely strong, so I believe it is less of ‘if’ rather than ‘when’ ETH will catch up.”

Investors are watching two key events in January. The first is Ethereum’s big “Dencun” upgrade, expected around Jan. 17. It’s meant to reduce the costs associated with Ethereum’s Layer 2 solutions, Maximo told CNBC.

Tencent, NetEase shares rebound after China regulator’s assurance on new online gaming rules (CNBC)

  • China’s top gaming regulator said it will “carefully study” the concerns of all stakeholders on draft rules aimed at curbing excessive online gaming and spending.
  • Tencent, NetEase, Bilibili shares rebounded, though gains on Wednesday helped retrace only a fraction of steep losses recorded last Friday.
  • Hong Kong markets were closed Monday and Tuesday for the Christmas holiday

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