* The People's Bank of China will increase its re-lending quota by 50 billion yuan to 369.50 billion yuan for small and midsize banks to boost credit for small, micro and private enterprises. The upsized quota will be granted to city commercial banks, rural commercial lenders, village banks, rural cooperative lenders and private banks.
* The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of the Communist Party of China said Hu Huaibang, former chairman of the China Development Bank, is being investigated for suspected serious violations of discipline.
* Bank of Hangzhou Co. Ltd. said it plans to raise up to 7.2 billion yuan through a private placement of A-shares to boost its core Tier 1 capital. Two listed companies as well as Hongshi Holding Group Co. Ltd. and the Hangzhou Municipal Finance Bureau will take part in the private placement.
* Wellington Koo, chairman of Taiwan's Financial Supervisory Commission, said the island would soon approve three financial technology sandbox experiments involving insurance sales, blockchain technology and fund management, the Taipei Times reported. The commission will allow ezTravel Co. to sell travel insurance policies by Cathay Life Insurance Co. Ltd.; Taipei Fubon Commercial Bank Co. Ltd. and Taishin International Bank Co. Ltd. to use blockchain technology in their domestic fund transfer and payment services; and How-Investech Inc. to partner with Far Eastern International Bank Ltd. to provide new fund management services.
JAPAN AND KOREA
* The Burmese government allowed six local insurance firms to establish joint ventures with overseas insurers, including Tokio Marine Holdings Inc. and Nippon Life Insurance Co., The Nikkei reported. Among the local companies, Kanbawza Group unit IKBZ Insurance Co. is expected to collaborate with Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Co. Ltd.
* South Korea's BNK Financial Group Inc. has issued 100 billion won worth of unsecured contingent convertible bonds, Yonhap News Agency reported, citing the group.
* KB Financial Group Inc. is collaborating with U.S.-based investor PLUG and PLAY to facilitate the entry of local fintech startups in the global market, The Korea Times reported. The partnership will grant KB Financial investor access to the firm's list of global startups.
* Thailand's Securities and Exchange Commission is looking to deploy artificial intelligence in 2019 to detect unusual trading activity, as the regulator boosts efforts to tackle stock price manipulation, Post Today reported, citing Sakkarin Ruamrangsri, the commission's assistant secretary-general.
* Export-Import Bank of Thailand posted a net profit of 523 million baht in the first half, Manager Daily reported. The lender said it missed its earnings projections due to a decline in country's exports as a result of the trade war between the U.S. and China. The bank's nonperforming loan ratio stood at 4.26% as of June 30.
* RHB Bank Bhd. said it received approval from Bank Negara Malaysia to commence discussions with Tokio Marine Asia Pte. Ltd. with regard to a potential sale of its 94.7% stake in RHB Insurance Bhd.
* Singapore Exchange Ltd. reported a net profit of S$391.1 million for the full year ended June 30, up from S$363.2 million in the prior-year period, and its highest in 11 years.
* Banks in India are looking to implement uniform policies when granting loans to the gems and jewelry sector, the Press Trust of India reported. P N Prasad, deputy managing director of State Bank of India, is leading a committee tasked with coming up with an industrywide standard in terms of collateral, margins, ratings and business experience, among others, of a jewelry company seeking a loan.
* United Bank of India has reported fraud against VISA Power Ltd for allegedly misappropriating bank funds, The Economic Times reported. The bank said its total exposure to the debt-laden company is 900 million rupees.
* India's Housing Development Finance Corp. Ltd. has reduced its retail prime lending rate on housing loans by 10 basis points, effective Aug. 1.
AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND
* Commonwealth Bank of Australia has launched upgrades to its banking app to offer "individually-tailored services and alerts" to its customers, as it sees an upward trend in the use of digital banking among consumers. The bank cited a report from KPMG that predicts banks would use data to build a "360-degree view of customers" by 2030 with the use of artificial intelligence and robotic automation.
* The Reserve Bank of Australia could hold off on another rate cut when it meets Aug. 6 after inflation for the second quarter inched closer to the central bank's target band of 2% to 3%, The Australian reported. Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed that the consumer price index climbed 1.6% year over year in the second quarter, following a 1.3% annual increase in the first three months of the year.
* A former banker won a case against Australia's Macquarie Group Ltd. after a U.S. court found that the financial company wrongly withheld the ex-employee's bonus shares, The Australian Financial Review reported. The court ruled that Macquarie pay US$6.5 million to Jorge Mora, who was a senior investment banker at the bank, as opposed to the US$20 million payout that Mora filed in the three-year case.
IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD
Middle East & Africa: Abraaj fined $315M; Al Rajhi profit up; Old Mutual to reinstate ex-CEO
Europe: Credit Suisse, BNP Paribas Q2 profits up; Lloyds hit with higher PPI charge
Latin America: Itaú CorpBanca's Q2 profit down 7%; Trump wants US-Brazil free trade deal
North America: Simmons First National buying Landrum; Carlyle Q2 profit grows; Capital One sued
Global Insurance: Arch confirms Barbican deal; FedNat meeting sought; Guy Carpenter headwinds
R Sio, Sally Wang, Sarun Saelee, Cathy Hwang, Emi White and Aditya Suharmoko contributed to this report.
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