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Woori Bank eyes Kyobo Securities; 2 Indian banks' HK branches under scrutiny

GREATER CHINA

* While the Chinese central bank will likely raise interest rates in open market operations, there is no need for the regulator to follow the U.S. Federal Reserve's interest rate increases in the long term, Reuters reported, citing Sheng Songcheng, an adviser to the People's Bank of China. Sheng noted that the country's interest rates were higher than those of other countries and that consumer inflation in China remained modest.

* China's Ministry of Finance said the balance of local government debt stood at 16.6 trillion yuan as of the end of May, with 876.60 billion yuan issued in the first five months of 2018, Caijing reported.

* China Everbright Bank Co. Ltd. plans to issue US$300 million worth of floating-rate notes due in 2021 under its US$5 billion medium-term note program.

JAPAN AND KOREA

* Nippon Life Insurance Co. will resume selling single-premium whole life insurance products through its partner banks, The Asahi Shimbun reported. The company earlier discontinued the sale of savings-type whole life insurance products after the Bank of Japan began implementing a negative interest rate.

* Takashige Shibato, president of Fukuoka Financial Group Inc., said the company will be able to produce an estimate of how much it could cut its corporate lending market share in Japan's Nagasaki Prefecture by the end of June, Tokyo's The Nikkei reported. The company's merger with Eighteenth Bank Ltd. has been held up by the Japan Fair Trade Commission due to concerns over market share concentration.

* Export-Import Bank of Korea has issued another 1.50 billion yuan of Formosa bonds in June, The Financial News reported. The South Korean policy lender issued such bonds worth US$400 million in March and 1.50 billion yuan in February.

* South Korea's Woori Bank is in talks to acquire a controlling interest in Kyobo Securities Co. Ltd. from Kyobo Life Insurance Co. Ltd. in a potential deal estimated at 320 billion won, The Korea Times reported, citing unnamed sources at two domestic private equity funds.

ASEAN

* Kasikornbank PCL plans to offer 900 million baht worth of loans to customers looking to acquire a franchise or expand and renovate their existing business, Thailand's Daily News reported.

* PT Zurich Topas Life is aiming for 50% premium growth to 813.11 billion rupiah in 2018 from 542.07 billion rupiah in 2017, Bisnis Indonesia reported.

* Union Bank of the Philippines CEO Edwin Bautista said the bank is looking to convert more of its branches into "fully digital" ones in 2018 amid a push to digitize its processes and services, BusinessWorld reported.

* Malaysia-based ECM Libra Financial Group Bhd. said Masheerul Hassan, its current nonexecutive chairman, will be redesignated as executive chairman, effective June 16.

SOUTH ASIA

* India's Canara Bank is looking to raise additional equity capital of up to 70 billion rupees through various means including a qualified institutional placement, among others.

* India-based ICICI Bank Ltd. plans to raise 11.80 billion rupees by selling up to 28,711,100 shares, or up to 2% of the issued and the paid-up equity share capital of ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Co. Ltd., in one or more tranches.

* Fitch Ratings downgraded the viability ratings of State Bank of India to "bb+" from "bbb-" and Bank of Baroda to "bb" from "bb+." The lenders' ratings were downgraded by a notch, reflecting their weak risk profile due to the negative effect of persistently poor asset quality and earnings on their capital position.

* The Hong Kong Monetary Authority is imposing more stringent supervision on two more local branches of Indian lenders Punjab National Bank and Indian Overseas Bank after placing Allahabad Bank's Hong Kong branch under its supervision, Bloomberg News reported. The branches were barred from proactively soliciting customer deposits as the capital adequacy ratio of the two lenders fell below regulatory requirements.

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

* Macquarie Group Ltd. will secure a £2 billion loan facility, including a £500 million facility to finance green projects, in a bid to support renewable energy projects initially and energy efficiency, waste management, green buildings and clean transportation projects later. The bank has hired HSBC, ING Bank and Bank of China as book runners for the facility.

* New Zealand-based TOWER Insurance Ltd. has picked U.S.-based EIS Group Inc. as its new core systems and digital platform provider. Tower Insurance will use EIS Group's products to create new insurance portfolios and facilitate customer self-service and billing, among other things.

* U.S.-based JPMorgan Chase & Co. appointed former Deutsche Bank AG senior sales trader Scott Mailer to join its equities desk in Melbourne, The Australian Financial Review reported.

IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD

Middle East & Africa: Abraaj to file for provisional liquidation; Swiss Re snaps up stake in Britam

Europe: SocGen could sell Belgian, Polish units; Czech banks face tougher capital rules

Latin America: Brazil central bank seeks changes in Itaú-XP deal; Argentina holds key rate

North America: KeyCorp to close 40 branches in 2018; 2 Illinois banks ink $70.4M deal

North America Insurance: Berkshire exits Zurich legacy book auction; Axa, ING in partnership

R Sio, Sally Wang, Jonathan Cheah, Jaekwon Lim and Santibhap Ussavasodhi contributed to this report.

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