* Taiwan's Financial Supervisory Commission said the central bank has pledged to double the amount of money for supporting small and midsize enterprises to deal with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic when necessary, the Taipei Times reported. The central bank has made NT$200 billion of financing in the form of preferential loans available for banks to help SMEs hit by the outbreak.
* Bank of Jinzhou Co. Ltd. will sell some of its assets at a discounted rate to state-controlled Chengfang Huida Enterprise Management Co. Ltd. for 45 billion yuan and restore its capital by selling new shares, The Wall Street Journal reported. The lender will also receive 5 billion yuan of annual income from a long-dated debt instrument issued by government-backed firms.
* Hong Kong-based Freeman FinTech Corp. Ltd. said the city-state's High Court extended the power of provisional liquidators allowing them to commence talks on restructuring the firm's business and operations or its debts, or on selling its assets, subject to the court's approval. It added that the trading in its shares on the stock exchange remains suspended since Feb. 28.
* Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said a monthlong state of emergency declaration could come as soon as April 7 and announced a record economic stimulus package as the country braces for a surge in new coronavirus infections, Bloomberg News reported. Seven prefectures will be subject to a state of emergency, including Tokyo and Osaka.
* Mizuho Financial Group Inc.'s investors, Norway's Kommunal Landspensjonskasse gjensidig forsikringsselskap and Storebrand ASA and Denmark's MP Pension Re K/S, said they would support Kiko Network's shareholder resolution calling on the lender to reduce its funding for coal and other fossil fuels, Reuters reported.
* Moody's said the buffers of Japanese regional banks' losses have weakened due to their risk-weighted assets growing faster than retained earnings because of weak profitability and the shift to riskier lending. Further, tough competition is driving down loan yields despite banks taking more risks, leaving them vulnerable to a rise in credit costs. If the coronavirus pandemic negatively affects the Japanese economy, it could lead to a significant decline in the lenders' asset quality, the rating agency noted.
* South Korea's Shinhan Bank Co. Ltd., KEB Hana Bank and Daegu Bank Ltd. have asked the Financial Supervisory Service for an extension of the deadline it has imposed on the lenders to decide whether to face penalties over losses from knock-in/knock-out currency option contracts, the Chosun Ilbo reported, citing industry sources.
* The Bank of Korea has launched a pilot program for digital currency issued by the regulator, in order to review the necessary technology and legal requirements for such a move, Yonhap News Agency reported.
* Export-Import Bank of Thailand is offering a six-month moratorium on loans to customers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The lender is also extending long-term loans with an annual interest rate of 2% for the first two years to fund their export businesses. Individuals can borrow up to 20 million baht from the bank.
* Suthiphon Thaveechaiyagarn, secretary-general of Thailand's Office of Insurance Commission, said more than 7.1 million COVID-19 insurance policies were sold in two months, Krungthep Turakij reported.
* Bank Indonesia Governor Perry Warjiyo told the parliament's financial commission there is room for further rate cuts to help mitigate the impact of the pandemic on the economy, Bisnis Indonesia reported. Bank Indonesia has cut its policy rate twice in 2020 to 4.5%.
* Singapore-based DBS Group Holdings Ltd. will temporarily close 29 branches in the city-state between April 7 and April 14, and through May 4, in order to fight the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak, The Business Times reported.
* Around 20 Vietnamese banks said they will cut interest rates by 2 to 4.5 percentage points for enterprises affected by the coronavirus pandemic, Viet Nam News reported. The publication added that the country's central bank and other authorities have come up with a draft resolution for a 16.2-trillion-dong interest-free loan package to help such firms pay employees.
* The Indonesian banking sector's loan growth slid to 5.93% in February from 6.1% in January, the slowest pace of growth since November 2009, The Jakarta Post reported, citing data from the Financial Services Authority. Meanwhile, nonperforming loans rose to about 2.8%.
* India's Delhi High Court said Yes Bank Ltd. couldn't declare a firm's account as nonperforming if it failed to make a payment because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Press Trust of India reported.
* Bajaj Finance Ltd. said it is considering one-time accelerated provisioning for COVID-19 to improve its provisioning standards. It is assessing the adequacy of provisioning for identified large accounts and will consider enhancing provisions for these accounts. It added that its assets under management as of March 31 were 1.476 trillion rupees.
* Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd. said its total customer deposits jumped 19.6% year over year to 2.585 trillion rupees as of March 31, while its net advances grew to 2.195 trillion rupees, an increase of 6.7% from the previous year.
* Bangladesh's Dhaka Stock Exchange and the Chittagong Stock Exchange will stay closed until April 14 as the country extended its closure of offices in a bid to fight the pandemic, The Financial Express reported.
AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND
* The Australian Securities and Investments Commission is taking legal action against Online Investments Pty. Ltd., trading as Mayfair 101, and Mayfair Wealth Partners Pty. Ltd., trading as Mayfair Platinum, before the Federal Court of Australia for running allegedly misleading advertisements. The regulator is also seeking an injunction to stop the firm from promoting Mayfair debenture products.
* HUB24 Ltd. said in a market update that its fiscal year 2020 earnings would be impacted due to a decline in funds under administration stemming from market volatility caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Australian central bank's decision to cut its official cash rate would also impact revenue.
* Financial technology firm Recreo Financial has selected Mayfair Advisory to manage the exit of industry superannuation fund Mine Super's investment in the firm, The Australian Financial Review's Street Talk blog reported.
* AMP Ltd. said it would stop paying commissions May 15 to financial advisers for recommending AMP products in the past, The Australian Financial Review reported, citing a letter by Lara Bourguignon, managing director of superannuation and platforms.
IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD
Middle East & Africa: South Africa's rating woes deepen; UAE ups measures to support bank lending
Europe: HSBC could face legal action; BayernLB profit falls; Allianz to pay dividend
Latin America: Moody's downgrades Argentina; Fitch cuts Guatemala; Brazil's emergency budget
North America: Women-owned Houston de novo; Fed unlikely to ask big US banks to cut dividends
Global Insurance: Forced payout warning; Travelers advancing commissions; no Chubb layoffs
R Sio, Gaurav Raghuvanshi, Eden Estopace, Emily Lai, Jonathan Cheah, James Lim and Santibhap Ussavasodhi contributed to this report.
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