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StanChart, UBS face suit in Hong Kong; Top Thai banks post results

S&P Global Market Intelligence offers our top picks of banking news stories and more published throughout the week. Please note that some entries may have links to third-party sources that may require a subscription.

StanChart, UBS face lawsuit, other legal/regulatory developments

* Hong Kong's Securities and Futures Commission filed a lawsuit against Standard Chartered Plc, UBS Group AG and auditor KPMG LLP over alleged "market misconduct" in China Forestry Holdings Co.'s US$216 million IPO in 2009.

* The South Korean government is considering categorizing three state-owned banks, Korea Development Bank, Industrial Bank of Korea and Export-Import Bank of Korea, as "public enterprises" in a bid to increase supervision of the companies.

* The Chinese central bank instructed banks to stop processing cross-border yuan payments until they show that the amount of outgoing yuan matches the sum of inflows.

* China halted leveraged trading at three leading bitcoin exchanges, BTCC, OKCoin and Huobi, after the central bank launched spot checks on the platforms for possible violations.

* Vietnam plans to raise the foreign ownership cap in banks as early as this year and expand foreign investors' access to its securities market as part of its plan to step up the overhaul of its banking system.

* The central bank of Vietnam has directed banks to maintain a capital adequacy ratio of at least 8% from Jan. 1, 2020, in preparation for the implementation of Basel II standards.

* Bank Negara Malaysia kept the overnight policy rate at 3% amid stable core inflation and steady economic growth.

* Bank Indonesia kept its benchmark interest rate unchanged at 4.75% amid efforts to maintain macroeconomic and financial system stability.

Top Thai banks post earnings results

* Bangkok Bank PCL reported a 7.6% year-over-year increase in net profit for the 2016 fourth quarter, helped by a rise in net interest income and noninterest income.

* KASIKORNBANK PCL posted an 87% year-over-year increase in net profit for the 2016 fourth quarter partly due to gains on trading and foreign exchange transactions.

* Siam Commercial Bank PCL reported a net profit of 47.61 billion Thai baht for fiscal 2016, an increase of 0.9% year over year from 47.18 billion baht.

* Meanwhile, India-based Axis Bank Ltd.'s net profit for the fiscal third quarter ended Dec. 31, 2016, dropped to 5.80 billion rupees from 21.75 billion rupees in the prior-year period.

M&A updates

* Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC Private Ltd.'s planned investment in Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam has reportedly been delayed as local authorities withheld approval for the deal.

* Hong Kong's Far East Horizon Ltd. agreed to sell underlying assets of two subsidiaries to Minsheng Life Insurance Co. Ltd. unit Minsheng Tonghui Asset Management Co. Ltd. for 1.95 billion Chinese yuan.

* Fukuoka Financial Group Inc. and Eighteenth Bank Ltd. will delay their proposed merger by six months to October, from the original April target, as Japan's Fair Trade Commission has raised competition concerns over the deal.

* Yuanta Financial Holdings Co. Ltd. obtained approval from Taiwan's Financial Supervisory Commission to merge its units Yuanta Commercial Bank Co. Ltd. and Ta Chong Bank Ltd.

* Indonesia-based Mayapada Group founder Tahir is looking to buy Standard Chartered's stake in PT Bank Permata Tbk as part of a plan to eventually acquire 100% of the bank.

In other news

* JPMorgan Chase & Co. raised its investment recommendation on Indonesian stocks to "neutral" from "underweight" following a row over the U.S.-based investment bank's downgrade of the country's stocks in November 2016.

* China's central bank injected 410 billion yuan into the country's banking system to ensure adequate liquidity ahead of the Lunar New Year holidays.

* Fitch Ratings lowered the outlook on Australia's banking sector in 2017 to negative from stable due to a rise in macroeconomic risks and pressure on profit growth.

* Bank of Communications Co. Ltd. received approval from the Hong Kong stock exchange to spin off and list wholly owned unit BOCOM International Holdings Co. Ltd.

* Industrial Bank of Korea's new CEO Kim Do-jin plans to restructure the bank's workforce to diversify revenue and maximize noninterest profit.

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