The most read financial stories in S&P Global Market Intelligence's Asia-Pacific coverage include possible global risks from China's lending slowdown, while editors' picks feature the high demand for insurance licenses in China despite regulatory caution.
1. Data Dispatch: China lending slowdown leaves world vulnerable to credit crunch, asset bubbles
An immediate crash is unlikely in China as regulators slowly curtail the expansion of leverage in the financial sector, but there are significant risks to the wider global economy should the bubble burst rather than deflate.
2. No exit for Bank of Japan as inflation target turns Catch 22
The Bank of Japan has extended its inflation target even as concerns grow that the longer it tries and fails to reach it, the more painful the market adjustment will be if it is eventually forced to give up. The central bank said it will give itself until March 2020 to boost inflation to a sustainable 2%.
3. Data Dispatch Asia-Pacific: Top 50 Asia-Pacific insurers by gross written premiums
China's three biggest insurers - China Life Insurance (Group) Co., Ping An Insurance (Group) Co. of China Ltd. and People's Insurance Co. (Group) of China Ltd. - claimed the top spots in S&P Global Market Intelligence's ranking of the top 50 Asia-Pacific insurers by gross written premiums. China Life Insurance remained No. 1, retaining its ranking from the previous year.
4. Australian banks use M&A to revamp wealth management strategies
Some of Australia's biggest banks are retooling their wealth management strategies in response to a shifting regulatory climate, striking M&A deals that could have a big impact on how wealth products are sold and administered across the country.
5. Prudential Financial unit acquires 49% of Indonesian life insurer
U.S.-based Prudential Financial Inc. unit Pruco Life Insurance Co. acquired a 49% stake in Indonesia-based CT Corp.'s life insurance subsidiary, PT Asuransi Jiwa Mega Indonesia, under a joint venture agreement.
1. Demand for insurance licenses in China still high despite regulatory caution
China's insurance regulator is taking a cautious approach to insurance sector growth, slowing the issuance of new licenses and raising the barriers to entry via new rules. But that does not seem to have dampened enthusiasm among companies hoping to get a toehold in the market, with 196 entities still looking to become insurers.
2. Suncorp bid rejection disappoints TOWER shareholders, observers say
TOWER Ltd. may undertake a fresh round of capital raising following the New Zealand Commerce Commission's rejection of Suncorp Group Ltd.'s proposed takeover of the general insurer on competition concerns, which observers said would be disappointing for shareholders.
3. Japan's financial companies lean on AI technology to meet small biz loan demand
Japanese financial companies are teaming up with technology companies to gain access to artificial intelligence-driven data in order to boost lending to small enterprises, a market segment that is costly to serve with traditional loan processes.
4. South Korea's Shinhan restructures to grow market share, global business
Shinhan Financial Group Co. Ltd. announced a restructuring of its organization aimed at regaining domestic market share and expanding into foreign markets. The new corporate structure, which does not affect the company's retail banking business or overall headcount, brings together its capital markets, foreign expansion and digital innovation groups, beginning July 1.
5. Data Dispatch Asia-Pacific: Singapore's banks face asset quality headwinds in regional expansion
Geographic diversification has not helped Singapore's banks escape the burden of deteriorating asset quality across Southeast Asia, but it has proven an effective way of minimizing the pain of their exposure to the troubled oil and gas-related sectors, analysts told S&P Global Market Intelligence.