* TheMalaysian Ministry of Finance said it will disband the prime minister-led advisoryboard of 1Malaysia Development Bhd. and take over its assets, Reuters reported.The move comes in the wake of at least six international investigations for possiblemoney laundering.
* MalaysianTreasury Secretary-General Irwan Serigar Abdullah said a memorandum of understandingwill likely be signed between Malaysia Venture Capital Management Bhd. and the to establishthe world's first Islamic venture capital, the Malay Mail reported.
* Japaneseinsurance companies have continued to invest in U.S.-based companies as they struckdeals worth US$18.4 billion in 2015, Bloomberg News reported.More U.S. investments from Japanese insurers are expected to come.
* said it will roll outvoice recognition technology to its Asian retail customers to facilitate consumertransactions, Bloomberg News reported.The bank expects more than 1 million users to use the technology in the first 12months as it upgrades its internet and mobile banking services across the region.
* India'sUnion Cabinet has approved a memorandum of understanding signed earlier betweenthe Reserve Bank of India and the Bank of United Arab Emirates for cooperation oncurrency swap agreements, the Press Trust of India reported.
* Accordingto Yinhang.com, 1,147 wealth management products issued by 161 Chinese banks hadan average yield rate of 3.98% at the end of April, down from about 6% at the endof 2015, Qilu Evening News reported.Analysts said the volatile bond market is a major factor, aside from interest ratecuts and reserve requirement ratio cuts, for the yield rate decline.
* Thecombined net profit of China's four major listed insurers — China Life Insurance Co. Ltd., Ping An Insurance (Group) Co. of China Ltd., and New China Insurance Co. Ltd. — dropped 26.05% year over year to 30.14 billionyuan in the first quarter, the National BusinessDaily reported.The four insurers' investment returns dropped 31.31% during the period.
* Thebalance of insurance funds in Chinese insurance companies for the first quarterincreased 7.29% to 12 trillion yuan from the previous quarter, Caixin reported.
* Taiwan'sChung-Hua Institution for Economic Research said the island's official manufacturingpurchasing managers' index stood at 54.9 in April, above the threshold of 50, indicatingimprovement in the sector, the Taipei Timesreported.However, the institute said the positive result had more to do with a low base ofcomparison in February than signs of a recovery, as the reading after seasonal adjustmentscontinued to contract.
* JenniferWang, chairperson of Taiwan's Financial Supervisory Commission, said the regulatorwill finalize its policy allowing retail investors from China to buy stock-basedfunds in Taiwan, as well as its plan to approve transactions through Apple Pay,before May 20, The China Post reported.Wang said the FSC will first open stock-based mutual funds to female investors fromChina and that the proposal is up for final ratification by the Taiwanese Cabinet.
* said it is still seeking investment opportunities for its NT$159.8 billion cashposition, the Taipei Times reported.Lee Chang-ken, president of the company, said the firm will keep its long-term domesticinvestments, including equities, commercial real estate and other projects, andcontinue expanding in Asia, including the Philippines and Indonesia.
JAPAN AND KOREA
* JapaneseFinance Minister Taro Aso said Japan should increase the consumption tax to 10%as scheduled in April 2017 to maintain the country's social security program, The Asahi Shimbun reported.
* JapanesePrime Minister Shinzo Abe said the cost of operating business in Japan is neithersignificantly higher nor lower than other major urban areas in Asia, The Sankei Shimbun reported.Abe emphasized that the climate for investment in the country improved significantlywith record high corporate profits, generating more than 1 million jobs from thetime economic policies under his administration were implemented.
* Accordingto Brean Capital, a U.S. investor would have profited if they allocated their moneyinto Japanese government bonds at the end of 2015, as the climbing price on a 10-yearJapanese government bond, with fluctuations in exchange, would have returned 17.3%to the investor in 2016 through May 3, compared with 5% on a 10-year U.S. Treasury,The Wall Street Journal reported.
* YooIl-ho, South Korea's deputy prime minister, said additions to the national budgetwill be decided to increase the capital portion of the country's state banks, theKorea Economic Daily reported.
* SouthKorea's Financial Services Commission signed a memorandum of understanding for businesscooperation with the central bank of Iran, TheFinancial News reported.
* will issueCoCo bonds worth 500 billion won during May, which is expected to raise the bank'sBIS capital adequacy ratio by 0.21 percentage point to 14.3%, Money Today reported.
* TonguraiLimpiti, deputy governor of financial institutions stability at the , said all newly issuedATM cards and debit cards by local commercial banks in Thailand will have EMV chipsembedded in them, Krungthep Turakij reported.
* Post Today reported that Thailand'sbusiness sentiment index fell to 49.8 in April from 51.5 in March, according tothe Thai central bank. A reading below 50 indicates lack of confidence in currenteconomic conditions.
* TMBAnalytics said the TMB-SME Sentiment Index rose to 42.1 in the first quarter, from40.5 in the final quarter of 2015, thanks mainly to the government's economic stimulusmeasures, Manager Daily reported.The index for the next three months, however, stood at 54.7, down from 56.9, indicatingsmall and medium-sized enterprises' concerns over income in the second quarter.
* BankIndonesia forecast Indonesia's economic growth in the second quarter to improvefrom 4.92% booked in the first quarter, as household consumption improves, Bisnis Indonesia reported,citing BI representative Tirta Segara.
* BankIndonesia Governor Agus Martowardojo said ASEAN+3 agreed to strengthen the short-termliquidity facility as a safety net in the Chiang Mai multilateralization initiativeand develop a regional currency bond market in the Asian Bond Markets Initiative,Bisnis Indonesia reported.
* Vietnamesebanks have lowered their lending rates following an appeal from the State Bank ofVietnam and Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Vietnam Plus reported.
* TheReserve Bank of India said scheduled commercial banks saw 9.7% growth in lendingduring the fourth quarter of calendar 2015, the Press Trust of India reported.More than 80% of credit accounts were from the personal and agriculture loan segment.
* Lendingbanks are looking to revalue Kingfisher House, the headquarters of the now defunctKingfisher Airlines, for auction, in a bid to recover their loans, the Press Trustof India reported.The company owes lenders 90 billion rupees.
* intends to raise 20 billion rupees through a combination of commercial paper andretail bonds for business expansion, BusinessStandard reported.
AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND
* has saved A$80 million by cutting its mortgage rate by 19 basis points after theReserve Bank of Australia cut the cash rate by 25 basis points, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.
* StuartStoyan, CEO and founder of MoneyPlace, said recognition of the fintech ecosystemin the current Australian government's budget shows the growing significance ofthe sector in the country, The Australianreported.
IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD
* long-term leasingsubsidiary ALD Automotive completed the acquisitionof long-term vehicle leasing firm Parcours Group from Wendel SA.
* TheGovernment Development Bank for Puerto Rico has negotiated a framework of indicative terms for restructuringof its bonds with a group of bondholders holding approximately US$900 million ofoutstanding notes.
* completed on April29 its acquisition of RSA SegurosChile SA from U.K.-based RSAInsurance Group Plc after obtaininglocal regulatory approval earlier in the month, RSA Seguros said in a securitiesfiling.
* 'sboard raised the company'squarterly common dividend and expanded its share buyback program.
Sally Wang, Sarun Saelee, CathyHwang, Emi White and Aditya Suharmoko contributed to this report.
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