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ANZ's H1 profit down; bad debts jump at state-owned South Korean banks

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ANZ's H1 profit down; bad debts jump at state-owned South Korean banks

* 'sstatutory profit decreased22% year over year to A$2.7 billion for the six months ended March 31, while cashprofit stood at A$2.8 billion, down 24% from the prior-year period. The bank declareda dividend of 80 Australian cents per share.

* TheAsian Development Bank'sdonor countries have agreed to replenish the Asian Development Fund for the 11thtime with US$3.8 billion, The Philippine Starreported.

* Australianentrepreneur Craig Wright said he invented controversial digital currency bitcoinand gave technical proof, Reuters reported.The claim has been met with some skepticism.

* named Amol Gupte itsnew country officer for Singapore and head of ASEAN, FinanceAsia reported.Gupte will replace Michael Zink, who retired after 28 years with the bank.

GREATER CHINA

* Sixteenlisted banks in China saw combined net profit of 1.27 trillion yuan in 2015, ofwhich five state-owned banks achieved three-fourths of the total profit, the Economic Herald reported. The nonperformingloan ratios of all the banks, except Bankof Nanjing Co. Ltd., rose in 2015. Agricultural Bank of China Ltd. had the highest NPL ratioat 2.39%.

* Chinawill continue to adopt easing measures to boost the slowing economy until the economicgrowth momentum rebounds, Xinhua News Agency reported. However,the report said China would no longer promote economic growth through large-scalemeasures.

* TheBoston Consulting Group said China's domestic personal loan balance may double to55 trillion yuan by 2020, and the large-scale loan market may promote rapid developmentof the personal credit investigation industry in the country, Beijing Business Today reported. Eightprivate institutions applied for individual credit investigation licenses in 2015.

* China'sNational Bureau of Statistics said the country's manufacturing purchasing managersindex stood at 50.1 in April, compared with 50.2 in March, Caixin reported.

* Taiwan'scentral bank said the island did not carry out one-sided currency intervention asclaimed by the U.S., the Taipei Timesreported.The central bank said the U.S. reported that Taiwan had spent 2.4% of its GDP onnet foreign exchange purchases, which was an estimate of the U.S. Treasury.

* TaiwanesePremier-Designate Lin Chuan said Taiwan is unlikely to achieve 1% GDP growth for2016 as economic contraction continues, and even risks recording negative growth,the China Post reported.Lin added that the local economy is struggling largely due to slow exports and investment.

JAPAN AND KOREA

* isshowing stronger interest in domestic equities than its domestic counterparts, withtotal investment in domestic equities held at ¥1.25 trillion as of the end of December2015, up ¥1 trillion in the past two years, TheNikkei reported.The company plans to increase purchases in fiscal 2016, and has introduced a medium-termbusiness plan to lift the proportion of risky assets, including domestic stocks,overseas stocks and foreign bonds, to 10% of its total portfolio by the end of March2017.

* TheBank of Japan will be releasing a new monthly consumerspending index starting May 13, The Nikkeireported.Consumer spending accounts for about 60% of the country's GDP and the index is saidto reflect actual consumer spending activities more accurately than the householdexpenditure survey conducted by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications.

* Accordingto South Korea's Financial Supervisory Service, state-owned banks' nonperformingloans increased by 5.7 trillion won in 2015 year on year, as the total NPL balancetotaled 29.9 trillion won as of December 31, 2015, the Hankyoreh reported.

* SouthKorea's government-run small-loan financing institution, which is set to launchin September, has modified its strategy to expand to a wider group of investors,including financial associations, holding groups and nonprofit corporate entitiesin finance sectors, from an initial plan of accepting investments solely from state-ownedinstitutions and Korea Asset Management Corp. the Korea Economic Daily reported.

* JongKyoo Yoon, chairman and CEO of KBFinancial Group Inc., said the company has decided to merge its threewealth management platforms into a single unit to establish an integrated systemof asset and wealth management for the group, The Financial News reported.

* Laborunions of employees at Korea Deposit Insurance Corp. and Korea Investment Corp. have agreed to new policies for aperformance-based rewards system following a lengthy negotiating process, The Financial News reported.

ASEAN

* TheBank of Thailand dismissedmedia reports that local commercial banks will suspend ATM services to update theirsystems to accept microchip-embedded cards, KrungthepTurakij reported. The central bank saidmany ATMs in the country have been updated, and the rest will not be put out ofservice simultaneously.

* Thailand'scentral bank estimated that Thai GDP growth for the first quarter would be closeto the Fiscal Policy Office's forecast of 3%, slowing from the final quarter of2015, Manager Daily reported.Growth is expected to improve in the second half because of government investmentin several projects, economic stimulus measures and expanding tourism.

* Thailand'sPost Today reported that is set to launch its electronic payment system July 26. The bank will then openregistration for low-income earners and will allow money transfers under a governmentwelfare program in October.

* KASIKORNSecurities said factors that should be monitored for stock market movement duringthe week of May 3 include business results of Thai-listed companies, the U.S. FederalReserve's statement and key economic figures in the U.S., Germany, the eurozoneand Japan, Krungthep Turakij reported.

* IndonesianFinance Minister Bambang Brodjonegoro forecast the country's economy to expand 5.5%to 5.9% in 2017, with an inflation rate between 3% and 5%, Bisnis Indonesia reported.

* Indonesia'sFinancial Services Authority, or OJK, expects there will be no more banks in Indonesiawith capital under 1 trillion rupiah in the next three years, Infobank reported,citing Nelson Tampubolon, the OJK's executive head of banking supervision.

* Separately,Infobank also reportedthat the OJK plans to wrap up rules on financial technology firms by mid-2016 toregulate finance startups as the online-based financial industry grows rapidly.

* TheBangko Sentral ng Pilipinassaid nonperforming loans as a percentage of Philippine thrift banks' total loanportfolio have edged up to 4.53% in 2015 from 4.40% in 2014, The Philippine Star reported.

SOUTH ASIA

* TheReserve Bank of India has directed commercial banks to refrain from approving long-termloans taken as working capital loans by stressed companies, Mint reported,citing two bankers familiar in the matter.

* reduced its marginalcost of funds-based lending rate by 5 basis points across all maturities, a movethat will lower the cost of borrowing, BusinessStandard reported.

* Paytmentered into a yearlong deal with information technology firm Wipro to handle paymentsfor its core banking system, Finextrareported.The central bank gave the nod to Paytm in 2015 to set up its payments bank.

* Keepingmatters in line with international trends, the Reserve Bank of India has suggested the introduction of marginrequirements on all non-centrally cleared derivatives where at least one party isa central bank-regulated entity, Mintreported.

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

* Australiantechnology firm Kisimul said Rural Bank, a subsidiary of Bendigo & Adelaide Bank Ltd., used customer datastolen from its database to find farmers in South Australia's Mount Gambier regionthat could be potential customers,The Australian reported.

* is aimingto increase its share in the country's rural market despite the stressed natureof the bank's agribusiness portfolio, the NewZealand Herald reported,citing a statement by the bank's CEO.

IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD

* inkeda deal to turn over control of its Convex Asia strategy to London-based ,Bloomberg News reportedApril 28, citing a Fortress Investment Group letter to investors.

* PuertoRico Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla said the commonwealth will default on a US$422million debt payment due May 2 by its Government Development Bank, Bloomberg Newsreported May 1.

* FormerHSBC Bank Argentina SAPresident Gabriel Martino, who was forced to step down in September 2015, is backat the helm of the organization and has been elected chairman of the board, thebank said in a securitiesfiling April 29.

* that it has added investors,board members and advisers since it launched in October 2015.

SallyWang, Sarun Saelee, Cathy Hwang, Emi White and Aditya Suharmoko contributed to thisreport.

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