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Pakistan keeps policy rate; Nomura to cut jobs in Americas, Europe

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Pakistan keeps policy rate; Nomura to cut jobs in Americas, Europe

*Canada's Sun Life FinancialInc. said it increased its ownership in India-based jointventure Birla Sun Life InsuranceCo. Ltd. to 49% from 26%.

*The State Bank ofPakistan said it decided to keep the policy rate unchanged at 6%as inflation in the country climbs. The central bank said theinflation trend was anticipated, adding that it still expects inflation to bebenign for the rest of 2016.

*Nomura Holdings Inc.plans to cut jobs in the Americasand Europe under an extensive plan to reduce costs, The Wall Street Journal reported,citing "people familiar with the matter."

*Standard CharteredPlc plans to sell around US$4.4 billion of assets in Asia,including US$1.4 billion of stressed loans in India, Bloomberg News , citing "peoplewith knowledge of the matter." The US$3 billion assets in Asia consist ofloans, proprietary bonds and equity investments in China, Indonesia andMalaysia.

*Mehmet Ali Akben, head of Turkey's Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency,said Bank of ChinaLtd. completed submitting its application for a Turkish bankinglicense, Hürriyet Daily Newsreported. The Chineselender began considering launching Turkish operations in 2015, the news outletnoted.

*Julius Bär Gruppe AGunit Bank Julius Baer & Co.Ltd. saidit named Eleanor Yuen head of wealth and tax planning advisory Asia, effectiveimmediately.

GREATER CHINA

*China's National Bureau of Statistics said the country's consumer prices grew2.3% in March year over year and that CPI growth remained unchanged fromFebruary, Caijing reported. TheNBS attributed the CPI growth to vegetable and pork price hikes.

*China is likely to reform the country's financial supervisory system and createa financial managing bureau under the People's Bank of China, China Business News reported.Analysts said the plan will be made public at a state-sponsored conference thatmay convene in 2016. The managing bureau will coordinate the work of the ChinaSecurities Regulatory Committee, the China Banking Regulatory Commission, theChina Insurance Regulatory Commission and the State Administration of ForeignExchange.

*Bank of Tianjin Co.Ltd. said it had reported to police a 786 million yuan "riskincident" related to its bill financing business at the lender's Shanghaioperations, the Securities Times reported.

*The World Bank warned that China's economic slowdown will drag down growth indeveloping East Asia and the Pacific from 2016 to 2018 at the earliest, AgenceFrance-Presse reported.The World Bank said China is gradually shifting to slower, more sustainablegrowth and expects the country's economy to grow at 6.7% for 2016, and 6.5% for2017 and 2018, down from 6.9% in 2015.

*Taiwan's Finance Ministry said exports in March contracted 11.4% year overyear, marking 14 consecutive months of negative growth on the island, theCentral News Agency reported.

*Slowing earnings by insurers continued to drag on Taiwan's top financialcompanies, but earnings by banks have remained resilient in the first quarter,the Taipei Times reported.Christie Chien, a Daiwa Capital Markets analyst, said that while insurers mayrealize higher capital gains as global financial markets stabilize, it shouldnot be seen as a fundamental improvement.

JAPAN AND KOREA

*Bank of Japan data showed that the country's household inflation expectations fellto the lowest level since March 2013, Tokyo's The Nikkei reported.According to the central bank's survey, only 75.7% of respondents expected thatthe figure will be higher in 2017.

*According to a report by the International Monetary Fund, Japan's negativeinterest rate policy will stimulate domestic demand and stabilize consumerprices, The Yomiuri Shimbun reported.However, it cautioned that prolonged negative interest rates or furtherlowering the interest rate might bring side effects to financial institutionsand depositors.

*The cybercrime unit of the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency is inspecting morethan 6,800 records of private financial data that were leaked by a HongKong-based criminal organization, Yonhap News Agency reported.

 * South Korea's hasofficially changed its company name to Mirae Asset Daewoo following the by in theweek of April 4, the Segye Ilbo reported.

*Samsung Card and StandardChartered Bank Korea Ltd. are introducing a joint credit cardproduct called SC First Bank Samsung Card, following a business agreementsigned in February, the Seoul Economic Dailyreported.

*Korea DevelopmentBank said the state-run policy bank will cut the size of financingfor the country's shipbuilding businesses and increase funding for potentialhigh-growth sectors, including robotics and biotechnology, the Maeil Business Newspaper reported.

ASEAN

*The World Bank Group forecasts the Thai economy to grow 2.5% in 2016, citing avolatile global economy, Thailand's KrungthepTurakij reported.Meanwhile, the research unit of CIMB Thai Bank PCL expects Thailand's GDP to grow lessthan 3% for a fifth straight year because of persisting structural problems, Post Today reported.

*Somchai Sujjapongse, Thailand's permanent secretary for finance, dismissedmedia reports that the Ministry of Finance is planning to raise value-added taxin the country to 10% from 7%, ManagerDaily reported.He said this is not a suitable time to raise the tax, as the Thai economy hasnot recovered yet.

* Post Today reported thatgross insurance premiums in Thailand grew 4.86% year over year to 89.3 billionbaht at the end of February, according to the Thai Life Assurance Association.First-year premiums amounted to 18.7 billion baht, up 7.22% from a year earlier.

*PT Bank Pembangunan Daerah JawaTimur Tbk aims for loan growth of 14.98% in 2016, up from 8.46% in2015, Bisnis Indonesia reported,citing Corporate Secretary Ferdian Timur S. It expects total assets to increase6.65% in 2016.

*PT Bank DKI aims for600 billion Indonesian rupiah of profit in 2016, up from 231.8 billion rupiahbooked in 2015, Infobank reported,citing CEO Kresno Sediarsi. The lender said it will continue adding provisionsto cover against nonperforming loans, which has gone past 5%.

*Indonesian Finance Minister Bambang Brodjonegoro said the country will"formalize" cooperation with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service aspart of the Indonesian government's efforts to boost tax revenue, the Jakarta Globe reported.

*The World Bank Group cut its growth forecast for East Asia and Pacific to 6.3%in 2016, from an earlier forecast of 6.4%, BisnisIndonesia said.Malaysia's growth is expected at 4.4% in 2016, while Indonesia is seen toexpand 5.1% in 2016.

*The Malaysian ringgit is expected to stay stable against the U.S. dollar forthe next 12 months, according to a survey by Moody's, Utusan Malaysia reported.

*Alfonso Salcedo Jr., president and CEO of Security Bank Corp., said the Philippine bank is mullingover potential acquisitions in 2016, aiming to boost its expansion and retailbanking business growth plans, the Philippines' BusinessWorld reported.

SOUTH ASIA

*Raghuram Rajan, governor of the Reserve Bank of India, said the Indian centralbank holds around 8 trillion rupees worth of government bonds, the Press Trustof India reported.The country posted almost US$360 billion in foreign exchange reserves, Rajannoted.

*The Indian government is planning to create a committee to manage thenonperforming loan settlement plans of state-owned banks, The Economic Times reported.

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

*Michael Cameron, managing director and group CEO of , said theAustralian lender plans to "move completely away" from bank branchesand focus on one-stop shops for financial services, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.

*Moody's saidWestpac Banking Corp.will issue A$474 million of structured securities backed by auto loans andfinance lease, among other assets.

IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD

*German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble has urged the , the and the U.S.Federal Reserve to work together to exit ultra-low interest rate policies, The Wall Street Journal reported.

*GE Money Bank a.s.said it intends toapply for admission of all its ordinary shares to trading on the Prague StockExchange. Under the planned IPO, to be carried out in line with 's strategyto divest most of its financial units and focus on core activities, thelender's sole shareholder, GE Capital International Holdings Ltd., will offer amajority of its stake in the bank to institutional investors.

*New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced a US$5 billion settlement with overits sale of residential mortgage-backed securities backed by large numbers ofloans from originators whose mortgage loans contained material defects leadingup to the financial crisis.

*Effingham, Ill.-based MidlandStates Bancorp Inc. filed a registration statement for a proposed IPO of itscommon stock.

Sally Wang, Sarun Saelee,Cathy Hwang, Emi White and Aditya Suharmoko contributed to this report.

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