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China suspends banks for illegal FX deals; Hannover Re to set up Indian branch


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China suspends banks for illegal FX deals; Hannover Re to set up Indian branch

* China's State Administration of Foreign Exchange suspended three banks for conducting illegal foreign exchange transactions amounting to US$2.7 billion in Shanghai in 2016, South China Morning Post reported, citing the regulator. The move was made after the lenders were discovered to be involved in illegal cross-border transfers via counterfeit trades.

* The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India granted global reinsurer Hannover Re a certificate of registration to set up a branch in the country, Press Trust of India reported, citing a company statement. U.S.-based Reinsurance Group of America Inc., Germany's Munich Re, Switzerland's Swiss Re Ltd. and France's SCOR SE were also granted final approval by the regulator.

* Shinhan Card Co. Ltd.'s Indonesian unit PT Shinhan Indo Finance obtained approval from Bank Indonesia to operate a credit card business in the country, effective February 2017, the Maeil Business Newspaper reported.

* India's ICICI Bank Ltd. is collaborating with social networking service Twitter Inc. to roll out customer care support features for the bank, Indo-Asian News Service reported. ICICI Bank is the first lender in the country to implement new customer service features to its Twitter account.


* Yu Xuejun, a senior official with the China Banking Regulatory Commission, said China's reserve requirement ratio of 17.5% was too high and the country has ample room for reserve requirement ratio cuts that should be done at an appropriate time, reported. Yu said monetary tools such as the medium-term lending facility are best used after a reserve requirement cut.

* The Shanghai office of the China Banking Regulatory Commission urged banks in the country to refrain from raising the threshold for refinancing small and micro-sized enterprises, Reuters reported. The regulator also asked lenders to ease their tolerance on small and micro-sized enterprises' nonperforming loans.

* The Yuanta-Polaris Research Institute said Taiwan's economy might continue at a slow pace of expansion in 2017 with its GDP growth set to 1.8%, as structural constraints limit growth, the Taipei Times reported. The think tank raised its growth forecast for 2016 to 1.37% from a previous projection of 1.1% on the back of improving external demand.

* A Xiaomi Inc.-backed online bank is expected to kick off operations soon, after recently being rebranded with a new English name, Reuters reported, citing one of the bank's shareholders.


* Mizuho Financial Group Inc. CEO Yasuhiro Sato told The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun that the company will push for a fundamental cost reform drive in 2017.

* Daiwa Securities Group Inc. CEO Takashi Hibino said the company plans to implement a fifth consecutive yearly groupwide pay hike in 2017, Tokyo's The Nikkei reported.

* KB Insurance Co. Ltd. will raise 170.6 billion won from a rights issue to KB Financial Group Inc., The Chosun Ilbo reported. A total of 6.5 million new shares will be issued to improve the company's risk-based capital ratio by about 10%.

* Industrial Bank of Korea CEO Kim Do-jin said the bank aims to increase the proportion of its profits derived from overseas by more than 20%, The Chosun Ilbo reported. Kim took the helm of the bank Dec. 28.


* Thailand's Fiscal Policy Office said the Thai economy recovered well in November, citing an improving export sector and public investment, the country's Post Today reported. The office expects the Thai economy to expand by 3.3% in 2016.

* Thanachart Bank PCL expects its credit growth in 2016 to shrink by 2%, Post Today reported. The bank earlier projected its credit growth would shrink by 5%. The bank's nonperforming loans stood at 1.86% for the first nine months of 2016 and the bank is trying to keep the number below 2%.

* PT Asuransi Sinar Mas has reached 94% of its premium target of 5 trillion Indonesian rupiah for 2016 as of October, Bisnis Indonesia reported.

* A consortium led by businessman Erick Thohir will invest 2 trillion Indonesian rupiah in an affiliate of insurance firm AJB Bumiputera 1912, Reuters reported, citing Didi Achdijat, the insurer's statutory manager.


* The National Stock Exchange of India said an independent agency found potential cases where some brokers were given unfair entry to its servers, following the bourse's IPO application, Reuters reported.

* The Reserve Bank of India extended the loan repayment window to 90 days from 60 days, Business Standard reported. This dispensation applies to dues payable between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31.

* The Indian government appointed Viral Acharya, an economics professor at New York University, as one of the RBI's four deputy governors with a term of three years, Reuters reported, citing a statement.

* State Bank of India denied a media report that 13 billion rupees were deposited in its branches in the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh following the demonetization of old high-value notes in November, Press Trust of India reported, citing Sakya Sinha Bairagi, the bank's regional manager.


* Asset management firm Hunter Hall Global Value Ltd. requested a trading halt in its securities on the Australian Stock Exchange following the abrupt resignation of Peter Hall as CIO of Hunter Hall International Ltd.

* Law firm Slater & Gordon was said to have been forced to sign a new deal on its loans with a syndicate of lenders led by National Australia Bank Ltd. and Westpac Banking Corp., The Australian reported. NAB and Westpac hold the lion's share of the debts. The Sydney Morning Herald also reported.


Middle East & Africa: The attraction of Africa; M&A activity in the Middle East

Europe: Monte dei Paschi needs more; BankNordik expects less; Deutsche Bank CET1 is set

Latin America: Peru to cut reserve requirements; Cuba's GDP shrinks 0.9%

North America: NYSE Arca's ETF listings shrink as funds switch to rivals

North America Insurance: Flood insurance needs rise; American United wins annuity contract

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

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