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Indonesia moves to curb digital currencies; Nepal Rastra to cut bourse stake

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Indonesia moves to curb digital currencies; Nepal Rastra to cut bourse stake

GREATER CHINA

* Three Chinese banks expressed interest in expanding operations in Panama, El Capital Financiero reported, citing Dulcidio de la Guardia, the country's economy and finance minister. China Development Bank and Export-Import Bank of China will open new offices in Panama, while Bank of China Ltd. will increase its presence, according to de la Guardia.

* China-based Shandong International Trust Co. Ltd. priced its IPO in Hong Kong at HK$4.56 per share, near the lower end of an expected range of HK$4.46 to HK$5.43 per share, the South China Morning Post reported, citing a company statement. The asset manager, which will start trading on Hong Kong's main board Dec. 8, is looking to raise HK$2.95 billion from the offering.

* People's Bank of China Governor Zhou Xiaochuan noted that keeping prices stable and controlling systematic risks in the country's financial sector are two core targets for the central bank, Reuters reported.

* The China Banking Regulatory Commission named Zhou Liang as its new vice chairman, Caijing reported. Zhou previously worked as organization department head of the Communist Party's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, China's top anti-corruption watchdog.

JAPAN AND KOREA

* Hiroshi Nakaso, deputy governor of the Bank of Japan, warned that structural problems will create "financial vulnerabilities" of an unprecedented kind for the country's regional banks, The Nikkei reported.

* Japan's Financial Services Agency said it would implement more stringent anti-money laundering guidelines in January 2018 to require banks and shinkin banks to seek more information from customers suspected of illegal activity, The Nikkei reported.

* South Korea-based KEB Hana Bank opened a new private wealth management center at its Seoul headquarters, Yonhap News Agency reported. With about 2 trillion won in assets under management, it is the largest private banking branch in South Korea.

* A total of 175 South Korean investment advisory companies posted a 94.4% year-over-year drop to 1.6 billion won in combined net income in the third quarter due to reduced fee income and lower returns on principal assets, Yonhap News Agency reported, citing data from the Financial Supervisory Service.

ASEAN

* Bank Indonesia will prohibit financial technology companies from using digital currencies on their platforms, as part of new guidelines requiring digital system providers to obtain a central bank license starting Jan. 1, 2018, Bloomberg News reported, citing Deputy Governor Sugeng. The new rules, however, are not applicable to trading of digital currencies.

* Siam Commercial Bank PCL confirmed a report that it would shutter 59 branches in 2018, but did not verify the exact number of units to be shuttered, Thailand's Daily News reported. The move will be made as more customers are using online channels to process their transactions instead of visiting the bank.

* Vietnam rolled out its first peer-to-peer lending service called "Vay Muon," which allows people to borrow and lend money without the need to go through a financial institution, Xinhua News Agency reported, citing VTV online newspaper. Next Tech, which runs the lending service, said cash flows between lenders and borrowers are regulated through an intermediate payment platform licensed by the central bank.

* Ho Chi Minh City's stock exchange said it received an application from Ho Chi Minh City Development JSCB, or HDBank, to list on the bourse, Viet Nam News reported. After completing a share sale to foreign investors, the lender will list nearly 883 million shares, amounting to about 8.83 trillion dong in charter capital.

* The office of Myanmar's president instructed the country's central bank to approve the opening of five sector-specific banks, namely Myanmar Tourism Bank, Mineral Development Bank, Glory Farmer Development Bank, Mandalay Farmer Development Bank and Shwe Nann Saw Bank, The Myanmar Times reported, citing sources.

SOUTH ASIA

* Nepal Rastra Bank, which holds a 34.6% stake in Nepal Stock Exchange, began the process of divesting its shareholding in the bourse, My Republica reported. The central bank recently sought the bourse's assistance in facilitating the stake divestment process.

* Mauritius' Financial Services Commission said it has set up a representative office in Mumbai, in a bid to further strengthen and deepen its partnership with Indian regulators, Press Trust of India reported. P. K. Kuriachen will serve as a representative of the commission in India.

* The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India formed a working group to examine innovations in the insurance sector, which include bringing wearable or portable devices under regulatory guidelines, Press Trust of India reported. The group has to submit its report with recommendations within two months.

* Sheikh Abdul Hye Bacchu, former chairman of Bangladesh Small Industries & Commerce Bank Ltd., denied his role in fraudulent schemes that occurred during his tenure, The Daily Star reported, citing an unnamed official at Bangladesh's Anti-Corruption Commission. There were 57 cases filed over the embezzlement of 20.44 billion taka from the bank.

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

* ASX Ltd. said it intends to replace the Clearing House Electronic Subregister System with distributed ledger technology developed by its technology partner, Digital Asset. Dominic Stevens, managing director and CEO of ASX, said the move would allow customers to develop new services and cut costs.

* The Reserve Bank of Australia said in a report that the use of ATMs in the country continues to decline, but the number of the machines remains close to its highest level, The Australian reported. The cost of deploying ATMs continues to increase, the report added.

* The Reserve Bank of New Zealand told Finance Minister Grant Robertson in a briefing that the changes to its decision-making approach must be by "evolution," and that the central bank was not willing to lose control of its governing legislation, BusinessDesk reported.

IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD

Middle East & Africa: Bahrain banks launch fintech firm; Ghana asks banks to submit bad-loan plans

Europe: Ping An ups stake in HSBC; US tax plan could hit Swiss banks

Latin America: Said family seeks funding for BBVA Chile deal; Brazil cuts Selic rate

North America: Citi to take $20B hit from tax reform; Mississippi bank buying Florida bank

North America Insurance: ACA enrollment hits 3.6 million; Validus Holdings launches cat bond

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

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