* The number of IPOs in Hong Kong this year fell by a third to 88 amid trade tensions and political unrest, with only one fund raising activity happening in August, the South China Morning Post reported. Proceeds from IPOs in the city to date plunged 55.9% year over year to US$10.82 billion.
* A senior Chinese central bank official said the yuan's current level is "appropriately aligned" with economic and market fundamentals, pushing back against accusations that China was manipulating the currency to gain international trade advantage, Reuters reported.
* Shanghai-based Zendai Group shut down its two peer-to-peer lending units, valued at 10 billion yuan, as the government continues to crack down on fraud and defaults in the industry, Securities Times reported. The move affected 28,000 investors and has laid off several thousand workers.
* Bank of China Ltd. signed a memorandum with China Railway Construction Corp. Ltd. to establish a long-term relationship over certain businesses including credit establishment, overseas investment, investment banking, pension management and insurance.
* The Chinese bond market surpassed the Japanese market to become the second largest in the world, Yicai reported. The 90-trillion-yuan market has attracted 1,800 overseas players who have increased their holdings by 10% to 500 billion yuan.
JAPAN AND KOREA
* U.S.-based insurer Aflac Inc. will submit a delisting application to the Tokyo Stock Exchange, Tokyo's The Nikkei reported. Aflac listed its shares on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in 1987.
* South Korea's JB Financial Group Co. Ltd. said Jeonbuk Bank Co. Ltd.'s Cambodia unit Phnom Penh Commercial Bank registered a 28% year-over-year increase in net profit in the first half. The bank's total assets increased 20.4% year over year at the end of June.
* Members of the South Korean congress have proposed a bill to update a law governing Korea Investment Corp., in order to keep the sovereign wealth fund from making investments into Japanese companies that have been linked to forced labor activities during Japan's occupation of Korea in the early 20th century, The Korea Times reported.
* South Korea's Financial Supervisory Service said it would deploy a team of officials to probe the nature and sales process of certain high-risk, high-yield financial products, particularly derivative-linked securities, which are sold by domestic commercial lenders, The Korea Times reported. The investigation was prompted by customer complaints.
* Singapore's Ministry of Trade and Industry cut its economic growth forecast for full-year 2019 to between 0% and 1.0% following a contracted expansion in the second quarter and ongoing trade tensions between the U.S. and China. Growth in the second quarter dropped to 0.1% from 1.1% in the previous quarter. However, the ministry said growth in the finance and insurance sector improved to 5.2% year over year from 3.2% in the previous quarter, citing expansions in the fund management, foreign exchange trading and money-changing services, among others.
* Bank of Thailand Governor Veerathai Santiprabhob said the central bank agrees with the formation of a joint panel to oversee the country's fiscal and monetary stability, Thailand's Post Today reported. The Bank of Thailand, the Ministry of Finance, the Securities and Exchange Commission of Thailand and the Stock Exchange of Thailand will take part in this joint panel. However, the governor said the panel would not have any influence over the monetary policy committee's decision on policy interest rate.
* Government Savings Bank CEO Chatchai Payuhanaveechai said the state-run mortgage lender will consider passing on Bank of Thailand's surprise 25-basis-point rate cut, to be decided at a board meeting Aug. 20, Bangkok Post reported.
* Indonesia's Financial Services Authority has revoked the business license of PT Bank Perkreditan Rakyat Calliste Bestari, which is based in Bali, Bisnis Indonesia reported.
* India's finance ministry has announced a credit guarantee plan where financial institutions may acquire rated pooled assets of nonbanking and housing financial firms in good financial standing and receive government-granted two-year guarantee for losses of up to 10%, The Indian Express reported. The scheme is part of an ongoing effort to support the struggling financial sector.
* The Reserve Bank of India has increased the on-lending limit of bank credit to nonbanking financial companies, or NBFCs, for loans to the agriculture, micro and small enterprise sectors as well as housing categories to 5% of a bank's total priority sector lending, in a bid to encourage lenders to disburse loans to NBFCs facing liquidity issues.
* India's central bank has given the green light for a regulatory sandbox framework as a guideline for financial institutions, banks and startups testing innovative products in certain areas including wealth management, digital know-your-customer processes and retail payments.
AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND
* National Australia Bank Ltd.'s fiscal third-quarter unaudited cash earnings stood at A$1.65 billion, inching up 1% from the prior-year period. The bank's gross impaired assets ratio for the quarter increased to 0.85% from 0.79% in the previous quarter, largely due to rising Australian mortgage delinquencies.
* Australia's Federal Court dismissed the Australian Securities and Investments Commission's responsible lending case against Westpac Banking Corp. Justice Nye Perram found in favor of Westpac and dismissed the ASIC's proceedings with costs, the Australian bank said.
* Australian banker Hein Vogel stepped down from his role at Investec Australia Ltd.'s emerging companies business, The Australian Financial Review's Street Talk blog reported, citing an email by Vogel to clients.
* Australian fund manager Magellan Asset Management Ltd. said it is looking to raise at least A$250 million in fresh equity by listing its new Magellan High Conviction Trust fund, with the offer expected to open Aug. 21. The units will be listed for A$1.50 each. The firm added that it will give shareholders priority access to closed-end investment units in the IPO.
IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD
Middle East & Africa: Mizrahi Tefahot Q2 profit rises; Euroclear joins TASE; Discovery shares slump
Europe: New Swiss fees on euro deposits; Talanx raises guidance; Aareal profit flat YOY
Latin America: BBVA Francés, Galicia's profits surge; Argentine central bank ups rates to 74%
North America: CIT, Mutual of Omaha Bank in $1B deal; RBC analyst charged with insider trading
Global Insurance: Genworth selling MI Canada stake; Centene exchange expansion; reinsurance M&A
Janna Estares, Emily Lai, Jonathan Cheah, Jaekwon Lim and Santibhap Ussavasodhi contributed to this report.
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