* said its cooperation with Spanish authorities on an investigation related to allegedmoney laundering in Madrid will continue after two of the lender's employees wereconditionally released, Xinhua News Agency reported.
* Japan'sSecurities and Exchange Surveillance Commission is expected to take administrativeaction against Credit Suisse GroupAG unit Credit Suisse Securities (Japan) Ltd. for allegedly leakingthe earnings forecast of a listed company, TheNikkei reported.The incident took place in September.
* ThePeople's Bank of Chinasaid foreign central banks investing in China's interbank bond market and foreignexchange market will be able to remit funds without regulatory approval, Reutersreported.There is no quota limit for such investments.
* Accordingto estimates from a report by the International Monetary Fund on global financialstability, bank loans that are potentially at risk in China amount to almost US$1.3trillion, Tencent Finance reported. The IMFnoted that debt at risk increased to 14% of listed Chinese companies' debt. Thereport also warned that the loans at risk might translate into potential bank lossesof about 7% of the country's GDP.
* ZhouXiaochuan, governor of the People's Bank of China, said the debt-for-equity swapprogram exists to cut Chinese enterprises' high leverage ratios, Phoenix Financereported. Headded that the country's small and medium-sized enterprises do not have a problemof being too indebted as they still have difficulty accessing bank loans.
* For11 Chinese banks that have published their annual reports for 2015, the balanceof nonperforming loans surged 48.72% year over year to 938.82 billion yuan at theend of the year, the Securities Timesreported. Meanwhile,the China Banking Regulatory Commission noted that commercial banks' nonperformingloan ratio rose for 16 consecutive quarters to 1.67% at the end of 2015.
* China'sMinistry of Commerce said the country's nonfinancial outbound direct investmentjumped 55.4% year over year to 261.74 billion yuan in the first quarter, XinhuaNews Agency reported.Hong Kong attracted the most investment from China, accounting for 51.6% of thetotal, and outbound direct investment to countries in the "One Belt, One Road"initiative surged 40.2% year over year to US$3.59 billion.
* TheChina Insurance Regulatory Commission has encouraged insurance firms to list inthe country's National Equities Exchange and Quotations system, and encouraged thelisted insurers to have their shares transferred through the system, Caixin reported. Individualsare qualified to become investors of these listed insurance firms.
JAPAN AND KOREA
* A surveyconducted by Japan's Financial Services Agency showed that regional banks focusedon business banking are boosting profits through business loans for their smalland medium-sized business customers, The SankeiShimbun reported.In a separate report,the publication said regional banks in Japan are overcoming declining profit bycollaborating with major securities companies and trust banks, as well as joiningoverseas syndicate loans by larger companies.
* President Nobuyuki Hirano expressed concerns on the negative interest rate policyimplemented by the Bank of Japan, saying that a short-term adverse effect on bankingindustry is evident as profit margin shrinks, The Sankei Shimbun reported.
* Bankof Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said the central bank will not hesitate to takemore easing measures in terms of quantity, quality and the interest rate as deemednecessary, The Wall Street Journal reported.
* Moody'srevised its ratings outlookon five South Korean banks to negative from stable amid the challenging operatingenvironment in the country in 2016 and possibly beyond.
* saidit has sold the company's iconic Samsung Taepyungro building in Seoul, the Chosun Ilbo reported.
* SouthKorea's Financial Supervisory Service said it will offer an updated road map forgauging an insurer's solvency through risk-based capital regulation, The Financial News reported.
* looks to tapthe multibillion-dollar infrastructure market in Southeast Asia, The Edge Markets reported,citing Feisal Zahir, group head of global banking at the lender. The Asian DevelopmentBank estimates that the region spends US$110 billion in infrastructure expendituresannually.
* Thailand'sPost Today reported that has set aside2.6 billion baht to launch an early retirement incentive program for employees aged50 years and older. Some 600 employees are expected to take part in the program.
* AmornthepJawala, senior director for research at CIMBThai Bank PCL, said the Thai economy could grow less than 2% in 2016if exports decline by more than 4%, Thailand's Manager Daily reported.The research center forecasts GDP growth between 2.7% and 2.8% in the second quarter,helped by government investment.
* forecasts that lendinggrowth would start picking up in the second quarter, Infobank reported.The central bank said lending was slow in the first quarter due to low demand fromcorporations, and banks were being selective in lending to push down bad loans.
* has its assets and liabilities tosubsidiary RHB Bank Bhd.,effectively making the lender the new group holding company, The Sun reported, citing RHB Banking GroupManaging Director Khairussaleh Ramli.
* ThePhilippines saw net inflow of US$482.4 million in foreign portfolio investmentsin March, compared with US$21.58 million net outflow in the prior-year period, The Philippine Star reported,citing the central bank. The March foreign investment net inflow was also more than8x the US$57.74 million net inflow recorded in February.
* Vietnam'sheadline inflation rate rose by 1.69% in the first quarter, Viet Nam News reported,citing a report by a group of researchers from the Vietnam Institute for Economicand Policy Research. The report attributed the rise in inflation to increased feesfor medical services and education, and the recovery of commodity and service pricesin the world.
* plans to raise its chartered capital to 5.64 trillion dongin 2016, the Vietnam Investment Reviewreported,citing the bank's shareholders' meeting material.
* TheReserve Bank of Indiadropped a plan to implement stricter control over loans by foreign lenders, The Nikkei reported.The regulator was planning to expand its oversight to loans with terms of less than20 years, from those with terms of less than 10 years.
* saidit proposed to issue850 million rupees of redeemable nonconvertible debentures through private placement.The secured debentures carry a face value of 1 million rupees each.
* ChairmanUday Kotak said there is a need to stop the growth of bad loans, the Press Trustof India reported.He added that an overemphasis on collateral, rather than revenue generation prospectsof financed projects, has become a major issue.
* Bangladesh-basedSoutheast Bank Ltd. saidthe board approved theissuance of nonconvertible subordinated bonds to raise Tier 2 capital. The seven-yearbonds have an issue price of 5 billion taka.
AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND
* analyst Jonathan Mottexpects Australian banks to report an increase in provisioning for bad debts toA$1.2 billion in the week of May 2, The AustralianFinancial Review reported.The analyst points to high profile corporate collapses behind the potential increasein provisioning charge.
* TheAustralian Securities and Investments Commission is boosting efforts to improvecorporate culture with a national project to help whistleblowers in reporting illegalor unethical behavior, The Australian FinancialReview reported.ASIC will invite 30,000 companies to take part in the initiative.
* Chairman Rick Holliday-Smithintends to poach local candidates to replace Elmer Funke Kupper, The Australian Financial Review reported.The prospective candidate should understand the nuances and relationships with regulatorsas well as how the Australian market works.
* Australia-basedpeer-to-peer lender SocietyOne raised A$25 million with support from its leadingshareholders, The Australian reported.The firm's loan book crossed the A$100 million mark in the week of April 4.
IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD
* U.S.-basedBlackRock Inc. net income of US$657 millionfor the first quarter, down from US$822 million in the prior-year quarter. Totalrevenue dropped to US$2.62 billion in the first quarter from US$2.72 billion inthe prior-year period.
* wants to cutabout 600 retail bank jobs and close 32 branches in the U.K. The move will reportedlyaffect about 200 jobs in London and the southeast of England, as well as 400 positionsin the Midlands and the east and north of England.
* Frenchlender BNP Paribas SA,too, aims to cut 675 jobsat its corporate and institutional bank in France. The bank had about 6,000 corporateand investment bank staff in the country.
* Argentineinsurers have threatenedlegal action over a new Banco Centralde la República Argentina norm that allows banks to sidestep insurersand offer certain insurance products directly to clients. Insurers have reportedlyquestioned the norm's legal basis, arguing that the central bank does not have thepower to define insurance norms, and have threatened to go to court.
Sally Wang, Sarun Saelee, CathyHwang, Emi White and Aditya Suharmoko contributed to this report.
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