Tuesday, August 4, 2020
 
Columnist
Martin Hennecke

Gold eases as fears over US dollar grow
 
30/07/2020
 
Baidu plans to spin off its personal cloud service product, Baidu Netdisk, to list on Shanghai's sci-tech innovation board, mainland media reported. A source said Baidu planned to spin off multiple businesses to list separately, including Baidu Netdisk. If Baidu Netdisk lists on the Star Market, the valuation will reach 30 billion yuan (HK$33.2 billion) to 40 billion yuan, based on a price-to-sales ratio of 30 times. Baidu has separated the operation of Baidu Netdisk and Baidu Cloud. Positive cash flow was recorded by Baidu Netdisk, whose major market is in China. Data from Questmobile showed the market share of Baidu Netdisk was more than 85 percent in November last year, much higher than Tencent WeiYun, which ranked second with an 8 percent market share. Registered users of Baidu Netdisk reached nearly 700 million. The number of monthly active users was more than 100 million. Paid users were more than 10 million. Meanwhile, online medical start-up WeDoctor, backed by Tencent (0700), will postpone its initial public offering to early next year. The firm was originally expected to list in the second half of this year. In other news, Hangzhou Tigermed Consulting's retail tranche was 108.1 times oversubscribed on the second day of margin financing, with HK$64.2 billion netted, while Leader Education's share offering took in HK$520 million of margin financing on the third day and was oversubscribed 11 times. Gold prices eased yesterday after hitting new highs on a weak US dollar and central banks increasing gold reserves. The United States "isn't anywhere close to losing its reserve currency status, given the depth of capital markets and overwhelming volume of US dollar-denominated global transactions," said Michael Krupkin, head of G-10 FX spot trading for the Americas at Barclays. Spot gold was down by 0.1 percent at US$1,956.39 (HK$15,259.84) per ounce by 7.53 last night. Prices hit a record US$1,980.57 on Tuesday. US gold futures rose 0.4 percent to US$1,953.20 per ounce. But Goldman Sachs put a spotlight on the growing concern over inflation in the US by issuing a bold warning on Tuesday that the dollar is in danger of losing its status as the world's reserve currency. With Congress closing in on another round of financial stimulus to shore up the pandemic-ravaged economy, and the Federal Reserve having already swelled its balance sheet by about US$2.8 trillion this year, Goldman strategists cautioned that US policy is triggering currency "debasement fears" that could end the dollar's reign as the dominant force in global foreign-exchange markets. "Gold is the currency of last resort, particularly in an environment like the current one where governments are debasing their fiat currencies and pushing real interest rates to all-time lows," wrote Goldman strategists, including Jeffrey Currie. They said there are now "real concerns around the longevity of the US dollar as a reserve currency."
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