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Citigroup to exit China securities JV; Australia proposes superannuation reforms

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Citigroup to exit China securities JV; Australia proposes superannuation reforms

GREATER CHINA

* Citigroup Inc. will sell its shares in Chinese joint venture Citi Orient Securities to partner Orient Securities Co. Ltd., subject to regulatory approvals, Reuters reported, citing a company filing. The move would allow the bank to set up its own brokerage in China, a source told Reuters.

* China Lending Corp. said it received a notification of noncompliance with listing rules from Nasdaq for failing to hold its annual shareholder meeting 12 months after the end of fiscal 2017. The company has until Feb. 19 to submit a plan to regain compliance with Nasdaq.

* Taiwan's Financial Supervisory Commission expects to meet its goal of having 52% of total buyer transactions cashless given the rising popularity of credit cards and similar modes of payment, the Taipei Times reported. Cashless transactions jumped to 37.73% in September 2018 from 26% in 2015.

JAPAN AND KOREA

* Nomura Holdings Inc. plans to transition into a merit-based payment system at unit Nomura Securities Co. Ltd. as companies seek to attract more workers in a highly competitive market, Bloomberg News reported. The plan, set to take effect in April 2020, is a move away from Japan's traditional wage system based on seniority.

* MUFG Bank Ltd. will issue about ¥4 billion to finance a project in Malaysia which complies with the country's Islamic finance rules, The Nikkei reported. The bank is the first Japanese bank to issue such a loan in Malaysia.

* Japan-based Rakuten Inc. said subsidiaries Rakuten Bank Ltd. and Rakuten Card Co. Ltd. will form a joint venture with Taiwan's Waterland Financial Holding Co. Ltd., with plans to enter the local banking industry in the future, The Nikkei reported. The new company's total capital will be ¥36 billion, 50% of which will be funded by Rakuten Bank, 49% by Waterland Financial and 1% by Rakuten Card.

* South Korea's KB Kookmin Bank reached an agreement with its labor union to raise wages by 250% following a general strike on Jan. 8, The Chosun Ilbo reported. The union accepted the proposal but hinted on possible strikes in the future as some issues have yet to be resolved.

* South Korea's Financial Services Commission said the cabinet passed a new bill that would allow nonfinancial businesses with more than 10 trillion won in capital to establish wholly owned online-only banks, starting Jan. 17, The Chosun Ilbo reported citing the regulator's announcement.

ASEAN

* Thanachart Bank PCL's board of directors will discuss raising the interest rate for fixed deposits by 25 basis points at their meeting next week, Post Today reported, citing CFO and Executive Vice President Anuwat Luengtaweekul. The lender, however, has no plan to raise the rates for loans and savings deposits, Anuwat said.

* Thailand's Bank for Agriculture & Agricultural Co-operatives plans to extend additional loans totaling 95 billion baht and to keep its nonperforming loans ratio below 4% as part of its business plan for fiscal year 2019, Post Today reported.

* Moody's said Malaysia's GDP is expected to slow to 4.7% in 2019 and 4.5% in 2020 due to external pressures on trade and a slowdown in public spending, The Sun reported. The country's GDP averaged at around 5% between 2015 and 2018. The ratings agency also said pervasive corruption will remain a challenge for the government, undermining policy effectiveness.

SOUTH ASIA

* The Reserve Bank of India appointed Infosys Ltd. co-founder Nandan Nilekani as chairman of a five-member panel that will work to improve India's digital payments structure, The Hindu Business Line reported.

* Yes Bank Ltd. Executive Director Rajat Monga is said to be the frontrunner for the CEO post at the bank, The Hindu Business Line reported. The bank's board will meet to decide the next CEO, with current CEO Rana Kapoor's term to end on Jan. 31.

* The Reserve Bank of India unveiled rules on a process that would allow authorized card payment networks to apply so-called tokens on credit cards to hide their actual details when used in transactions. The move aims to enhance the safety and security of payment systems in the country.

* Macquarie Infrastructure & Real Assets Inc. is one of the potential buyers for some of debt-laden Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services Ltd.'s renewable energy assets, Bloomberg News reported, citing people familiar with the matter. IL&FS expects to raise up to 80 billion rupees from the sale.

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

* The Australian Securities and Investments Commission plans to simplify how fees and costs information is presented to superannuation customers as part of efforts to protect consumers and improve the processes in the industry. The commission is seeking feedback on its proposal until April 2.

* The Australian Banking Association wants the government to bring short-term loan providers and buy now, pay later schemes under the regulator's broader financial services sector oversight following an increase in their popularity, The Sydney Morning Herald reported. The association represents big banks Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank Ltd., Westpac Banking Corp. and Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd., which have been tightening their loan books following government inquiries and scrutiny into their operations.

IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD

Middle East & Africa: UAE banks face pressure to merge; Israel holds rate; Angola to stress test banks

Europe: Italy passes decree to help bolster Carige; investors sue Nordbank for €1.4B

Latin America: Prisma to go public; Brazil economy seen to grow 2.53% in 2019

North America: Trump's pick withdraws from Fed board nomination; First Financial to buy HopFed

Global Insurance: Everest Re CEO retiring; 2018 nat cat losses $160B; Aussie hail to dent ILS

Janna Estares, Sally Wang, Sarun Saelee, Cathy Hwang, Emi White and Aditya Suharmoko contributed to this report.

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