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Indonesia to replace reference rate; Chinese banks to join gold benchmark

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Indonesia to replace reference rate; Chinese banks to join gold benchmark

* looks to adopt a seven-dayreverse repurchase rate as its new benchmark rate to enhance the effectiveness ofits policies, Bloomberg News reported,citing "people familiar with the matter." Indonesia's central bank willreplace its current reference rate that is not tied directly to money markets, accordingto a plan to be announced April 15.

* China'sfour big banks — Bank of China Ltd.,Agricultural Bank of China Ltd.,Industrial & Commercial Bank ofChina Ltd. and China ConstructionBank Corp. — along with StandardChartered Plc and Australia& New Zealand Banking Group Ltd., will be among 18 members to joina yuan-denominated gold benchmark price in the yuan gold fix, Reuters reported.

* JonEilbeck, Deutsche Bank AG'shead of asset management for Asia Pacific, said unit Deutsche Asset Management plansto expand its operations in the region, SouthChina Morning Post reported.

* DeutscheBank appointed James Boyle as global co-head of its equity derivatives business,Bloomberg News reported.Based in Hong Kong, Boyle will also serve as the lender's head of equities for AsiaPacific.

* TheWorld Bank Group and theChina-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank signed an agreement to co-financeinfrastructure projects, Agence France-Presse reported.The two banks are considering around a dozen projects including water, transportationand energy developments in East, Southeast and Central Asia.

GREATER CHINA

* ThePeople's Bank of Chinasaid it injected 285.5 billion yuan into 17 financial institutions through its medium-termlending facility, Wallstreetcn.com reported. The Chinesecentral bank kept rates for the MLF loan unchanged from the previous month's MLFoperation, with the rate for three-month loans at 2.75% and that for six-month loansat 2.85%.

* DeutscheAsset Management said China's debt equity swaps will help cut debt and increasemarket liquidity in the short term and benefit the country's stock and debt markets,Reuters reported.However, the institution noted that asset quality is still worrisome in the mediumterm.

* China'scentral bank said local lenders have issued 432 million credit cards and "duocards" that combine credit and debit card functionality in 2015, down 5.05%from the previous year, the 21st Century BusinessHerald reported. It wasthe first time that the number of cards issued has declined since 2009. However,the central bank noted that while the number of credit cards issued decreased, thetotal credit amount increased 26.43% year over year to 7.08 trillion yuan at theend of 2015.

* Chinesebanks may explore the Australian market and offer financing services to fast-growingChinese real estate businesses and enterprises in Australia, Reuters reported. Accordingto data from the Australian government, Chinese banks' total loans offered in Australiasurged 36% year over year as of the end of February, while average loan growth inthe country registered 9%.

* China'sforeign exchange regulator may cut a foreign institution's investment quota in Chinaif it has not used up 60% to 70% of its Qualified Foreign Institutional Investorquota within a year, Reuters reported,citing sources familiar with the matter. The sources also said the State Administrationof Foreign Exchange will check the QFII quota usage situation, which it expectsto complete before June.

JAPAN AND KOREA

* TheJapanese government is considering offering up to ¥3 trillion near-zero interestrate loans for private sector companies for infrastructure programs amid significantlylower funding cost due to the Bank of Japan's negative interest rate policy, Tokyo'sThe Nikkei reported.

* Organisationfor Economic Co-operation and Development Secretary General Ángel Gurría said Japanshould raise the consumption tax to 10% as scheduled in April 2017, The Yomiuri Shimbun reported. Gurriafurther noted that the country should aim for 15% consumption tax through incrementalincrease of 1% per year.

* Accordingto the Investment Trust Association, the net asset balance of Japan's publicly tradedmutual funds increased by 4% from February to ¥92 trillion as of the end of March,the first increase since January. The boost is attributed to a stock market reboundand the popularity of overseas real estate investment trusts, The Nikkei reported.

* SouthKorea's Financial Supervisory Service said it will impose an insurer with additionalinterest of up to 8% if the company delays the payment of insurance money past thedate in the policy, The Financial Newsreported.

* has set up partnershipswith six different savings banks to merge their long-term installment savings withWoori's Individual Savings Account products, the Maeil Business Newspaper reported.The bank is the first to launch such a product in South Korea.

* SouthKorea's Shinhan Bank islaunching a new wire service for sending money denominated in Philippine pesos,Money Today reported.

ASEAN

* Post Today reported that the ThaiLife Assurance Association forecasts gross insurance premiums to have grown between4% and 5% in the first quarter due to an economic slowdown in Thailand.

* A BankIndonesia survey shows that lending growth is predicted to pick up in the secondquarter, with growth expected at 12.3% for 2016, Kompas reported.

* CEO Achmad Baiquni said the state lender plans to boost efficiency by taking overbuildings it currently leases, constructing new office buildings and increasingbranchless banking agents as Bank Indonesia moves to push down interest rates, The Jakarta Post reported.

* The (Malaysia) Sun said fund managersremain optimistic about their investments in Malaysia despite economic and politicalheadwinds in the country.

* RaviMenon, managing director of the MonetaryAuthority of Singapore, said the country will begin to regulate fintechcompanies only when they grow enough to pose significant risks to the financialsystem, Bloomberg News reported.

* BangkoSentral ng Pilipinas Deputy Governor Nestor Espenilla Jr. said another Asian bankis interested in doing business in the Philippines, joining a pending applicationfiled earlier by another foreign bank within the region, BusinessWorld reported.

SOUTH ASIA

* TheReserve Bank of Indiawill extend financial and technical assistance to urban cooperative banks, or UCBs,that have yet to implement or have partially implemented core banking solutions,Mint reported,citing a notification. UCBs that do not operate under the Banking Regulation Actwill not receive assistance.

* Theinsured claims ratio, or ICR, in India's health insurance sector is rising steadilyeach year, The Times of India reported,citing data from the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India. TheICR went up to 101% in 2015 from 94% in 2013.

* will expandoperations by opening 18 more branches in fiscal 2016, raising the total numberof branches in India to 133, the Press Trust of India reported,citing C. Nandagopal Menon, the bank's chairman.

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

* GregMedcraft, chairman of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, saidhe still has plenty of work to do in his role, The Australian reported.The government is considering extending Medcraft's term by at least another 18 months.

* Australiansstill deposit cash into their savings accounts with banks despite low interest rates,The Sydney Morning Herald reported,citing figures from cloud computing group Salesforce. Figures show that 77% of Australianspart with their money in savings accounts, while 15% deposit their cash in checkingaccounts.

IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD

* TheU.K. Financial Conduct Authority saidits investment and corporate banking market study showed that improvements couldbe made to encourage further competition in primary market services and relatedactivities such as corporate lending and broking, and ancillary services.

* CEO Boris Collarditold shareholders at the Swiss company's annual general meeting that although thegroup wants to benefit from the "ongoing industry consolidation," it willconsider any M&A opportunities carefully since "all that glitters is notgold," Reuters reported.

* BrazilianPresident Dilma Rousseff is looking to decrease banks' reserve requirements to boostcredit and revive a recession-struck economy, Reuters reported, citing an unnamed presidential aide.

* A NorthAmerican infrastructure investor group led by Macquarie Infrastructure & RealAssets Inc., Macquarie Infrastructure& Real Assets Inc. and BritishColumbia Investment Management Corp. has closed the roughly US$4.7 billion acquisition of

Sally Wang, Sarun Saelee, CathyHwang, Emi White, Aditya Suharmoko and Armughan Altaf Khawaja contributed to thisreport.

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