* 's principalstrategic investments group said it is bullish on Indian financial technology startupsand is looking to invest up to US$10 million in the country's fintech companies,the Press Trust of India reported,citing Alokik Advani, group head for Goldman Sachs Principal Strategic Investments.
* TaiwaneseFinance Minister Chang Sheng-ford said Taiwan will no longer apply for membershipin the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank under preconditions of dignityand equality, the island's Central News Agency reported.
* and Central Bank of Nigeriainked an agreement on facilitating yuan transactions, Reuters reported,citing Lin Songtian, director general of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs'African affairs department.
* China'sNational Development and Reform Commission granted approval to foreign banks basedin the country to raise a combined US$20 billion in foreign medium- and long-termdebt in 2016, Shanghai Securities Newsreported.The quotas are in effect until March 31, 2017.
* TheShenzhen Internet Finance Association has ordered Internet financial enterprisesin the city to refrain from engaging in real estate crowdfunding activities, china.com.cnreported.
* China'sFinance Ministry will issue about 15 billion yuan of national debt in Hong Kongat a nominal interest rate of 3% in May at the earliest, the China Securities Journal reported.It has been a long-term arrangement for the Chinese government to issue yuan-denominatednational debt in Hong Kong twice a year since 2011.
* Atleast 18 enterprises canceled their issuance of enterprise bonds worth 17.8 billionyuan in April due to market volatility, WindInformation reported.Sixty-two enterprises canceled a total of 44.8 billion yuan of bond issuance plansin China in March, about 3x the amount in the prior-year period.
* TheInternational Monetary Fund forecast that Taiwan's economy will grow 1.5% for 2016,while the growth rate will hit 2.2% for 2017, the Central News Agency reported.
JAPAN AND KOREA
* Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has proposed a plan to increaseinvestments threefold into universities as well as research and development institutionsin the next 10 years, Reuters reported.
* The International Monetary Fund is projecting Japan's economicgrowth in 2017 to be at negative 0.1%, due to downward pressure by a scheduled increasein the country's consumption tax in April 2017, The Mainichi Shimbun reported.
* Mirae Asset SecuritiesCo. Ltd. plans to invest 400 billion won in its acquisition of globalinvestment firm AON BGN's Vietnamese Landmark 72 Tower building, Yonhap News Agencyreported.
* KB FinancialGroup Inc. said its board approveda proposal to purchase 22.56% of shares in HyundaiSecurities Co. Ltd. for 1.250 trillion won. KB Financial said the dealis expected to be complete by May 31 and the final price for the stake could bechanged.
* South Korea's financial market will be closed April 13 in observanceof a legislative election in the country, the Segye Ilbo reported.
* Thailand's Post Todayreported that AllianzAyudhya Assurance PCL posted year-over-year premium growth of 7% to 29 billion bahtin 2015. The company's first-year premiums amounted to 5.5 billion baht, up 5% froma year earlier.
* Bank Indonesia plans to change its monetary policy tool byadopting a seven-day reverse repurchase rate as the new benchmark, Bloomberg Newsreported,citing "people familiar with the matter." Panji Irawan, a director atPT Bank Negara Indonesia (Persero)Tbk, confirmed the details and said it will help lower bank lendingrates.
* PT Bank Negara Indonesia is focusing on its branch in Myanmarto increase overseas business, Bisnis Indonesiareported,citing CEO Ahmad Baiquni. He said BNI wants to upgrade its representative officein Myanmar to a full branch.
* PT Bank TabunganNegara (Persero) Tbk appointed Imam Sugema as commissioner, replacingFajar Harry Sampurno, while Handayani and Catur Budi Harto were appointed as directors,replacing Irman Alvian Zahiruddin and Sis Apik Wijayanto, Infobank reported.
* PT Bank MegaTbk CEO Kostaman Thayib said the lender plans to cut lending rates by200 basis points in 2016 following a decrease in the cost of funds, Infobank reported.
* PT Bank IndexSelindo said SBI-FMO Emerging Asia Financial Sector Pte. Ltd. has becomea shareholder with 6.07% of shares in the bank, Infobank said,citing Index Selindo CEO Charlie Paulus.
* Fitch Ratings said Philippine banks stand well-regulated withtargeted and timely measures against any financial shocks, despite some slips interms of corporate governance, BusinessWorldreported.
* The Reserve Bank of India said foreign direct investment inthe country increased 27.45% to US$42 billion for the 11 months ended February,up from US$32.96 billion in the prior-year period, the Press Trust of India reported.
* Axis Bank Ltd.said it cut its marginal cost lending rate by 15 basis points to 8.95%, effectiveApril 18, the Press Trust of India reported,citing the Indian lender. Vijaya Bankalso reduced its term deposit interest rates by 25 basis points, effective April12, the news agency reportedseparately.
* South IndianBank Ltd. aims to double its balance sheet size to 2 trillion rupeesby 2020 and its net profit to 10 billion rupees in fiscal 2015-2016, The Economic Times reported.
* Citibank NA'sPakistan unit and National Bank ofPakistan entered into a tax payment facilitation agreement, The News International reported,citing a statement.
AUSTRALIA AND NEWZEALAND
* ASX Ltd.has delayed the launch of trading in derivatives to any time between July and Novemberfrom May, The Australian Financial Review'sStreet Talk blog reported,citing an update sent to stockbrokers. The securities exchange also delayed thelaunch of a new platform for trading in equities, and said it will reveal the newschedule April 20.
* Australia-based bitcoin exchange Igot, which owes thousandsof dollars to Australian customers, is on the verge of insolvency, The Sydney Morning Herald reported,citing an ABC News program. The incident has renewed calls for regulating the sector,as the Australian Securities and Investments Commission said it was unable to actin the absence of regulations governing the industry.
IN OTHER PARTS OFTHE WORLD
* The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority said it banned former Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc trader Paul White from engagingin any function related to regulated financial activity, while censoring him forhis misconduct over LIBOR.
* The Central Bankof the Russian Federation saidit placed Commercial Bank BFG-Credit(LLC) under provisional administration for a period of six months, suspendingthe powers of the lender's management bodies.
* Barclays Plc'sItaly country chief, Alessandra Perrazzelli, said the U.K. bank has initiated thedisposal of about €13 billion of performing and nonperforming loans at its Italyunit as part of efforts to exit the Italian retail business, Bloomberg News .
* Moody's saidthe rising volume of restructured loans in Brazil could be "understating loandelinquencies" among the country's banks while "overstating reserve coverage."
Sally Wang, SarunSaelee, Cathy Hwang, Emi White, Aditya Suharmoko and Armughan Altaf Khawaja contributedto this report.
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