* sees 20% net profit coming from its Asia-Pacific business in 2018,the South China Morning Post reported,citing Chen Aiping, chairman of the company. The company will on areas including Southeast Asia,South Asia and the Middle East, where parent Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd. already operatesbranches, the chairman added.
* Taiwan'sCTBC Bank Co. Ltd. willhandle trade finance and wealth management for Thailand's LH Financial Group PCL, The Nation reported.The Taiwanese bank will send a management team to oversee the trade finance andwealth management arms of its new partner.
* TheVietnamese central bank allowed JointStock Commercial Bank for Investment & Development of Vietnam, orBIDV, to open a branch in Yangon, Myanmar, VietNam News reported.The branch will have a charter capital of US$85 million.
* A surveyconducted by the People's Bank of China showed that the favorite investment modesof most urban residents are fund and wealth management products, bonds and realindustry investment, the Securities Dailyreported.
* China'sfinancial regulators will introduce a debt-to-equity swap program with the firstbatch expected to "resolve" 1 trillion yuan of potential bad debt in threeyears or less, Caixin reported, citingmultiple unnamed sources. The program is expected to cut commercial banks' nonperformingloans, which surged to 1.27 trillion yuan at the end of 2015, with exposed nonperformingassets and potential nonperforming assets combined at about 4 trillion yuan.
* Caixin also reported that , , ,China Merchants Bank Co. Ltd.and some other banks were selected for trials of the debt-to-equity program's firstround of swaps, Caixin reported.
* Thecombined net profit of major Chinese banks AgriculturalBank of China Ltd., Bank of China, Industrial & Commercial Bankof China, China Construction BankCorp. and Bank of CommunicationsCo. Ltd. stood at 923.23 billion yuan in 2015, the National Business Daily recorded. Bank ofCommunications had the biggest profit growth rate of 1.03%, while the five banks'combined nonperforming loan balance stood at 745.41 billion yuan, with AgriculturalBank of China having the highest nonperforming loan ratio at 2.39%.
* TheChinese banking sector's nonperforming loan balance came in at more than 2 trillionyuan at the end of February, 150 billion yuan more than the amount recorded at thebeginning of 2016, Caixin reported. The nonperformingloan ratio stood at 2.08%.
* China'sNational Bureau of Statistics said the country's official manufacturing PurchasingManagers' Index came in at 50.2 for March, returning to growth for the first timesince July 2015, Shanghai Securities Newsreported.
* TheAsian Development Bank forecast that Taiwan's economy would grow 1.6% in 2016 and1.8% in 2017, thanks to increased government expenditure and robust private consumption,the China Post reported.The ADB added that Taiwan's government spending is expected to account for 2.1%of the island's GDP in 2016.
JAPAN AND KOREA
* Japan'smonetary base increased 27% year over year to a record ¥375.70 trillion as of theend of March, Tokyo's The Nikkei reported.As the Bank of Japan continued to boost liquidity to bolster inflation, monetarysupply has broken records for four consecutive months.
* Accordingto a survey by the Bank of Japan, local companies expect the consumer price indexto increase 0.8% one year from now, down from 1.0% previously expected in December2015, as the price of crude oil continues to decline, The Nikkei reported.
* issued four-year U.S. dollar-denominated typhoon catastrophe bonds for US$220 million,The Nikkei reported.
* President Takashi Oyamada said in an interview with The Nikkei that the Bank of Japan's negative interest rate policy willnot directly or significantly affect credit demand, The Nikkei reported.Oyamada said the company will discover potential credit needs associated with anaging population and is open to working with small and medium-sized companies withnegative earnings.
* SouthKorea's Financial Supervisory Service published a publicly accessible guide bookleton the "ideal practices" of sales for domestic brokerage firms, the Korea Economic Daily reported.
* KoreaHousing Finance Corp. will run a self-service "retirement financing academy"to help Seoul residents nearing retirement age, the Chosun Ilbo reported.
* ASEANfinance officials agreed to recognize two qualified ASEAN banks in the next threeyears, The Nikkei reported.The time frame also calls for its 10 member countries to share bond market disclosuresand a framework for retail investors to buy government bonds by 2025.
* has reserved 45billion baht of cash for its branches and ATMs in Thailand to support withdrawalsduring the country's Songkran festival in the week of April 11, Manager Daily reported.KASIKORNBANK PCL and have separatelyreserved 36 billion baht, while Bankof Ayudhya PCL and CIMBThai Bank PCL each reserved 8.82 billion baht and 1.7 billion baht,respectively.
* KASIKORNResearch said factors that should be monitored for stock movement during the weekof April 4 include a statement about a planned interest hike by the Federal Reserveand key economic figures of the U.S., KrungthepTurakij reported.
* RanggaCipta, an economist at Samuel Sekuritas, forecast Bank Indonesia to cut the benchmarkrate further by 25 basis points in April, BisnisIndonesia reported.
* TheIndonesian government plans to issue a policy package in the following weeks tosimplify the setup of micro, small and medium-sized businesses, Kompas reported,citing Coordinating Economics Minister Darmin Nasution.
* Indonesia'sFinancial Services Authority, or OJK, will require domestic systemically importantbanks to have additional capital by 1% to 2.5%, Infobank reported,citing Boedi Armanto, the OJK's deputy commissioner for banking supervision. Theregulator is still drafting the banks deemed systemically important.
* Assetsunder management in India's life insurance sector stood at 24.250 trillion rupees,Business Standard reported,citing Life Insurance Council General Secretary V. Manickam. The executive saidthe industry might reach 25 trillion rupees in fiscal 2015-2016.
* India'sICICI Bank Ltd. will tightenits corporate lending growth in a bid to restrict nonperforming loans, Business Standard reported,citing a recent presentation. The bank will apply a selective approach to incrementalbusiness in its corporate book, the report added.
AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND
* TheAustralian government will announce measures to encourage financial technology developmentin its budget for May, The Australianreported,citing Assistant Minister for Innovation Wyatt Roy. The incentives include the introductionof a regulatory sandbox to allow testing of new fintech products, as well as helpingfirms raise capital.
* AnAustralian Senate committee questioned Australia& New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. Deputy CEO Graham Hodges over thebank's role in a financial scandalinvolving Malaysian sovereign wealth fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd., The Australian reported.The executive admitted that ANZ has governance questions in connection with thescandal.
IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD
* Panama-basedlaw firm Mossack Fonseca allegedly helped wealthy and powerful figures from aroundthe world hide their financial assets through offshore tax regimes, laundered moneyand evaded sanctions, The (U.K.) Guardian and other news outlets April 3, citing millionsof leaked documents. The documents show links to 72 current or former governmentheads, including Icelandic Prime Minister Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson, former EgyptianPresident Hosni Mubarak and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
* ThePennsylvania Insurance Department approved AetnaInc.'s pending acquisitionof Humana Medical Plan of PennsylvaniaInc. The deal is part of Aetna's bid to acquire Humana Inc.
* 'sboard urged stockholdersto vote against a shareholder proposal regarding proxy access. The proponents ofthe proposal, who own more than $2,000 and less than 5% of the company's commonstock, said proxy access is a "fundamental shareholder right that will makedirectors more accountable and contribute to increased shareholder value."
* France'sAutorité des Marchés Financiers proposed to allow securitization and private equityfunds as well as specialized professional funds to lend directly to nonfinancialfirms, the Financial Times . The move is aimed at helpingsmall and medium-sized firms get access to financing.
Sally Wang, Sarun Saelee, CathyHwang, Emi White and Aditya Suharmoko contributed to this report.
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