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US urges World Bank to inspect China lending; 3 Iranian banks eye India branches


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US urges World Bank to inspect China lending; 3 Iranian banks eye India branches


* The U.S. government is holding out on a capital increase for the World Bank until the lender examines its own balance sheet and its lending to China, which is currently its biggest borrower, the Financial Times reported. World Bank President Jim Yong Kim defended the bank's lending to China, saying its engagement in the country is "very helpful to [their] work in other developing countries."

* Moody's said global private debt issuance in the third quarter was down 7% year over year as issuers in advanced and emerging economies, including that of China, reduced new bond supply. Higher yields in China, the largest emerging markets primary market, continue to limit placements by nonfinancial corporations in developing countries, which were down 18% year over year.

* Chinese tech giant Tencent Holdings Ltd. will sell insurance products on its messaging apps WeChat and QQ as the country's insurance regulator granted an operating license to Weimin Insurance Agency Co. Ltd., a new insurance company in which Tencent owns a 57.8% stake, Caixin reported.

* Taiwan's Financial Supervisory Commission imposed a NT$1.8 million penalty on Taichung Commercial Bank Co. Ltd. for asking its employees to bear losses when the funds the lender sold to its clients generated losses between June 2016 and January, the China Times reported.


* The Tokyo metropolitan government will launch a public-private foundation with ¥10 billion in assets under management to support startups in the asset management sector, Tokyo's The Nikkei reported.

* Kim Yong-beom, vice chairman of South Korea's Financial Services Commission, said the country is looking to tighten rules on corporate accounting standards, including increasing fines against companies with accounting irregularities, Yonhap News Agency reported. Kim noted that an independent audit into family-run business conglomerates is difficult due to an opaque governance system.

* Data from the Bank of Korea showed that the country's lenders are likely to maintain stringent rules on extending loans to households in the fourth quarter, Yonhap News Agency reported. The central bank added that the demand for new mortgages may decline in the same period due to a slowdown in home transactions.

* Korea Asset Management Corp. will put 18 former Citibank Korea Inc. branches up for public auction, the Maeil Business Newspaper reported. The properties are worth a total of 22.90 billion won.


* Thailand's Bangkok Bank PCL entered into a 15-year bancassurance agreement with Hong Kong-based AIA Group Ltd. Under the agreement, the bank will distribute AIA Thailand's protection and long-term savings products to its customers on an exclusive basis.

* Thailand-based Bank for Agriculture & Agricultural Co-operatives will seek board approval in November for 5 billion baht in additional funding to resolve its customers' informal debt problems, Manager Daily reported. About 4.65 billion baht has been granted so far to the bank's clients with informal debt problems nationwide.

* PT Bank Negara Indonesia (Persero) Tbk's net income for the nine months ended Sept. 30 rose 31.6% to 10.16 trillion rupiah from 7.72 trillion rupiah for the prior-year period. The bank has also set aside 300 billion rupiah to acquire an asset management company as a subsidiary, Bisnis Indonesia reported.

* Chinese fintech company Pintech has unveiled a venture in Singapore called Pivot, which will offer automated investment advisory tools and services in Southeast Asia, the South China Morning Post reported, citing co-founder and CEO Victor Lye. Sponsors of the new venture include Asian life insurer FWD Group.


* Three Iranian banks — Bank Pasargad Plc, Saman Bank (PJSC) and Parsian Bank — plan to set up branches in India, with Bank Pasargad's request being in the final stage of approval, Iran's Financial Tribune reported, citing Saurabh Kumar, the Indian ambassador to Iran. Meanwhile, India's UCO Bank is interested in establishing a presence in Iran "in the foreseeable future," Kumar said.

* U.S.-based Ebix Inc. closed the acquisition of the money transfer service business of India's YouFirst Money Express Pvt. Ltd. and the acquisition of the money transfer service scheme assets of India's Wall Street Finance Ltd., as well as its subsidiary Goldman Securities Ltd. Ebix plans to consolidate all these acquisitions into its financial exchange operations.

* India's Supreme Court declined to pass any interim order allowing banks to sell shares of Fortis Healthcare Holding Pvt. Ltd. pledged by Malvinder Singh and Shivinder Singh, Mint reported. The brothers have pledged shares worth about 15.83 billion rupees with YES BANK Ltd., 3.9 billion rupees with Axis Bank Ltd., 4.13 billion rupees with ECL Finance Ltd. and 550 million rupees with RBL Bank Ltd.

* Sri Lankan authorities retrieved more than US$1.3 million stolen from Taiwan-based Far Eastern International Bank Ltd. following the arrest of two men in connection with a hacking incident at the bank, Agence France-Presse reported, citing an unnamed Sri Lankan official. Hackers had tried to transfer nearly US$60 million from customers' accounts to destinations, including Sri Lanka, Cambodia and the U.S.


* A class action suit against Westpac Banking Corp., lodged by Shine Lawyers, alleged that the bank abused its position of power and breached its fiduciary duties by using its in-house financial planners to sell its customers overpriced life insurance products, which are identical to cheaper policies sold to the public through independent financial advisers, The Australian reported.

* Australian Foundation Investment Co., the largest listed investment firm in Australia, is confident that Commonwealth Bank of Australia will recover from the money laundering allegations under the supervision of Chairman Catherine Livingstone, The Australian Financial Review reported, citing AFIC Managing Director Ross Barker. AFIC is the eighth largest shareholder on CBA's register with 7.9 million shares, representing 0.45% of the register.

* Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. CEO Shayne Elliott has not ruled out a move to pass the costs of the mooted Western Australian and proposed South Australian bank taxes to its customers, ABC News reported. The lender also confirmed it will not follow Westpac and CBA in rolling out a lower-rate credit card.

* The establishment of a new government in New Zealand after an inconclusive election in September may result in changes for the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, the pioneer of an inflation-targeting regime adopted across the world, Reuters reported. Arthur Grimes, the central bank's chief economist in the early 1990s and board chair between 2003 and 2013, said any change without thorough consideration and analysis would be "extraordinary."


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R Sio, Sally Wang, Jonathan Cheah, Jaekwon Lim and Santibhap Ussavasodhi contributed to this report.

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