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IMF urges Singapore to adjust for deflation; Australian banks cut 2,500 jobs

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IMF urges Singapore to adjust for deflation; Australian banks cut 2,500 jobs

* TheInternational Monetary Fund said the MonetaryAuthority of Singapore should be prepared to make more adjustments incase deflation takes root, Bloomberg News reported.Singapore's central bank softened policy last month, announcing it will not seekcurrency appreciation.

* Indonesiahas mandated Mizuho Financial Group Inc., Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley SecuritiesCo. Ltd. and SMBC Nikko Securities Inc. as book runners for its samurai bond offering,which is expected to come with no guarantees from Japan Bank for International Cooperation,Reuters reported.

* is collaboratingwith India's YES BANK Ltd.to support Japanese small and medium-sized companies expanding into the local market,Tokyo's The Nikkei reported.In this arrangement, Resona Bank Ltd.,Saitama Resona Bank Ltd.and Kinki Osaka Bank Ltd.each signed an agreement.

GREATER CHINA

* China'sNational Bureau of Statistics said the country's consumer price index grew 2.3%year over year in April, flat from the previous two months, Reuters reported.Meanwhile, the producer price index fell 3.4% year over year, the smallest declinesince December 2014.

* Theaverage growth rate for revenues of the fund custodian business at 16 listed Chinesebanks surpassed 40%, higher than revenue growth for the banks' other businesses,the Securities Daily reported.

* ChinaInternational Capital Corp. Ltd. estimated that the qualified minimum quota forthe Shenzhen-Hong Kong stock connect program could be lowered to 100,000 yuan forChinese investors investing in the Hong Kong stock market, Caixin reported.

* China'sCommerce Ministry said the country's foreign direct investment rose 4.8% year overyear to 286.78 billion yuan for the four months ended April, Tencent Finance reported. FDI gained 6% yearover year in April to 62.57 billion yuan.

* boughtthe traditional life insurance portfolio of AllianzTaiwan Life Insurance Co. Ltd. for NT$1, the Liberty Times reported. Thedeal includes NT$26.5 billion worth of Allianz's traditional insurance policiesand NT$44.6 billion of the insurer's assets. Allianz's 80,000 policies and morethan 40,000 clients are included in the transaction.

JAPAN AND KOREA

* Vice PresidentKatsunori Sago said the company started investing in alternative investments inApril, including private equity, to diversify and enhance investment options, Reutersreported.

* Japan'sFinancial Services Agency will increase the level of oversight of the country'sthree megabanks by applying an enhanced stress test verification system to ensurethe companies' risk management capabilities, Bloomberg News reported.

* KoichiHamada, an economic adviser to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and a professorat Yale University, said Japan should maintain monetary easing policy unless thelabor market shows signs of decline, Reuters reported.Hamada also said it is too risky to implement the consumption tax increase scheduledfor April 2017 while the market remains volatile.

* Japan'sMinistry of Finance said the government bond subscription amount for private investorsreached ¥274.9 billion in April, exceeding ¥200 billion for three consecutive monthsamid a low interest rate environment, TheNikkei reported.

* SouthKorea's Savings Banks Federation said 48 savings banks in the country would introducemobile banking systems for their debit card products, the Maeil Business Newspaper reported.

* Asof March 31, Industrial Bank of Koreahas a "technology financing" balance of 17.18 trillion won, the Seoul Economy Newspaper reported.

ASEAN

* Post Today reported that Thailand'sforeign exchange reserves as of April 29 stood at US$178.6 billion, up from US$176.9billion from the previous week, according to the Bank of Thailand.

* PakornPeetathawatchai, a senior executive vice president of the Stock Exchange of Thailand,said foreign investors are currently shifting their focus to investing in Thailand'sbig-capital stocks, Krungthep Turakijreported. He alsosees foreign funds flowing into the Thai stock market amid a weaker U.S. dollar.

* issued subordinateddebt of 2 trillion Indonesian rupiah in the first phase of its planned 8 trillionrupiah offering, Kompas reported,citing CEO Parwati Surjaudaja. She said all proceeds would be used for lending.

* TheIndonesian government will issue another policy package as soon as the week of May9, Bisnis Indonesia reported,citing Coordinating Economics Minister Darmin Nasution.

* Malaysia'sexports are expected to improve in the second half, The Star reported,citing International Trade and Industry Minister Mustapa Mohamed.

* TheBangko Sentral ng Pilipinas is expected to maintain the key policy rate amid a transitionto an interest rate corridor system, Reuters reported,citing a survey with the country's top economists. Amando Tetangco, governor ofthe regulator, said there is no need to change rates in the wake of a subdued inflationoutlook.

SOUTH ASIA

* is aiming to increaseits share of the credit card market by boosting monthly credit card enrollmentsto 400,000, or double the average number of monthly card applicants, Business Standard reported.

* YESBANK is seeking shareholder approval to raise around 165 billion rupees throughequity capital and debt securities in one or more tranches, the Press Trust of Indiareported.

* TheState Bank of Pakistan has issued prepaid card regulations to promote a level playingfield among card issuers in the country, TheNews International reported.

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

* Australia'smajor banks laid off over 2,500 employees in the first half, lowering costs throughrestructuring and increasing online transactions in a tough revenue environment,The Australian reported.

* NumerousAustralian banks have wholly passed on 0.25% interest rate cuts from the regulatorto savings accounts while avoiding the same percentage cut in mortgage rates, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.

IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD

* Chileanholding company Empresas Juan YarurS.P.A. has completed the saleof a 40% stake in insurance subsidiaries BCISeguros Generales SA, BCISeguros Vida SA and ZenitSeguros Generales SA to Spain's MutuaMadrileña Automovilista, the company told Chilean securities regulatorSVS in a May 10 filing.

* FitchRatings upgraded the sovereignratings of Argentina following the resumption of the country's debt payments withrestructured bondholders.

* Paraguay-basedfinancial group Financiera Río is looking to raise capital to become a banking institution and is consideringa merger with Banco Itapuá, 5días reported May 10, citing an interview with RíoPresident Cristian Heisecke.

* will its workforce by 14% in aneffort to reduce expenses and improve operations.

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

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