* Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said the country has agreed to grant renminbi qualified foreign institutional investors, or RQFII, quota of 200 billion yuan to Japan, Xinhua News Agency reported. The two parties have also agreed in principle to enter into a currency swap deal at an early date, Li said, adding that China has a "positive attitude" towards setting up a yuan clearing bank in Tokyo.
* The China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission is set to release detailed rules on lenders' wealth management products, which would likely include an adjustment in the limit of the products' exposure to what the government considers nonstandard investments, or shadow banking products, Reuters reported, citing three anonymous sources. This comes after the People's Bank of China and three other government agencies extended the grace period to the end of 2020 for financial firms to comply with new, tighter rules governing the asset management industry.
* China has collected nearly 3 trillion banking records — comprising accounting records, transaction data and different types of management data — as part of its push to effectively oversee the country's financial institutions, the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong reported, citing a speech delivered on behalf of CBIRC Chairman Guo Shuqing at a forum in Hong Kong. Fan Wenzhong, director general of CBIRC's international division, said current financial data has "increasingly become a core economic resource" and that new digital trading platforms have to be supervised to enhance transparency, among other things.
* Foreign direct investment in Chinese financial institutions, including banks, insurers and securities companies, stood at US$3.5 billion in the first quarter of 2018, Xinhua News Agency reported, citing data from the State Administration of Foreign Exchange. The data showed that US$2.7 billion worth of investment flowed out, leading to an US$800 million net investment inflow.
* Hong Kong-based CASH Financial Services Group Ltd. set up a wholly owned unit, called Weever FinTech Ltd., to principally engage in cryptocurrency trading services. Weever FinTech opened a waitlist May 9 for individuals interested in accessing a planned platform that will provide commission-free trading services.
JAPAN AND KOREA
* Japan's Financial Services Agency plans to allow the country's banks to close on weekdays to reduce operating costs, the country's Jiji Press reported. The move comes amid a decline in customers at physical branches due to narrowing population and the widespread use of online banking.
* Japan-based Seven Bank Ltd. introduced a new service where consumers can receive cash at ATMs or cashier counters of convenience store 7-Eleven without having to disclose their bank account information, The Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun reported. The new service is made possible through internet-based transactions.
* Choi Jong-ku, chairman of South Korea's Financial Services Commission, said the financial affiliates of five major family-owned business conglomerates, called chaebol, will be subject to tighter supervision rules, including a requirement to divest some of their shares in nonfinancial affiliates if such business practices are found to pose risks to the financial system, Yonhap News Agency reported. The new rules will impact the conglomerates' 97 financial affiliates, as well as Kyobo Life Insurance Co. Ltd. and Mirae Asset Daewoo Co. Ltd.
* A report by the research arm of South Korea's Shinhan Financial Group Co. Ltd. said North Korea needs to conduct a financial decentralization for the country's market system to operate "normally," Yonhap News Agency reported. The report said North Korea operates a so-called mono-financial system, under which the Central Bank of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea has virtually all financial functions, including banking and insurance.
* State-run Land Bank of the Philippines posted a 52% year-over-year increase in first-quarter net income, which rose to 4.26 billion pesos from 2.81 billion pesos, driven by a surge in gross revenues. The lender said its net income is 13% higher than the first-quarter target of 3.78 billion pesos.
* Singapore-based United Overseas Bank Ltd. and Santander UK Plc are collaborating to help small- and medium-sized enterprises from Southeast Asia and the U.K. to expand in each other's market. The lenders said they aim to facilitate cross-border expansion of 200 enterprises over the next two years.
* Bank Indonesia is considering adjusting the seven-day reverse repo rate to stabilize the macroeconomy and shore up market confidence, Governor Agus Martowardojo said as reported by Bisnis Indonesia. The Indonesian rupiah has dropped 3.44% in 2018 to trade at around 14,000 rupiah per U.S. dollar.
* CIMB Thai Bank PCL aims to garner a 1% or 2% share in Thailand's private banking market within three years, the country's Post Today reported.
* The Indian government is considering allowing a 100% foreign direct investment in insurance intermediaries, with sources saying the cap in intermediaries should be de-linked from the cap in insurers, Press Trust of India reported. Existing rules in India limit foreign direct investments in the insurance sector, including insurance intermediaries, to 49%. Intermediary services comprise insurance broking, third-party administrators, surveyors and loss assessors, the news agency said.
* India-based IndoStar Capital Finance Ltd.'s IPO was subscribed 41% on the first day of the share sale, India's Mint reported. The portion of shares reserved for institutional and retail investors were subscribed 129% and 8%, respectively, as of 5 p.m. local time on May 9. Earlier in May, the company set a price range of 570 rupees to 572 rupees per share for its IPO, which will close May 11.
* Indian Bank Managing Director and CEO Kishor Kharat and Syndicate Bank Ltd. Managing Director and CEO Melwyn Rego may step down from their posts or opt for voluntary retirement in the coming weeks amid investigations over their roles in an alleged 6-billion-rupee fraud at IDBI Bank Ltd., The Economic Times reported, citing a senior government official. Kharat was managing director and CEO of IDBI Bank at the time of the fraud, while Rego served as deputy managing director.
* Fourteen economists polled by Reuters expect the Central Bank of Sri Lanka to maintain its key interest rates at a policy meeting May 11, after cutting its standing lending facility rate by 25 basis points to 8.50% in April on favorable inflation outlook and weak economic growth, the news outlet reported. The central bank had kept its standing deposit facility rate at 7.25% and statutory reserve ratio at 7.50%.
AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND
* Australian financial services company AMP Ltd. said it recorded net cash outflows of A$200 million in its Australian wealth management business in the first quarter of 2018, reflecting subdued period of activity in superannuation following nonconcessional contribution cap changes in 2017. The company reported net cash outflows of A$199 million in the first quarter of 2017.
* Australia's major banks — Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd., Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank Ltd. and Westpac Banking Corp. — are required to implement the open banking regime by making data on credit and debit card, deposit and transaction accounts available by July 1, 2019, and on mortgages by Feb. 1, 2020. The move will allow customers greater access to the data their banks hold and give them the choice to safely transfer the data to a trusted and accredited service provider of their choice, the government said in a release. All other lenders will be required to implement the regime with a 12-month delay on timelines compared with the major banks.
* The Reserve Bank of New Zealand kept its official cash rate unchanged at 1.75%, as economic growth in the country remains robust and is near its sustainable level. The central bank, however, noted that consumer price inflation remains below the 2% mid-point of its target.
IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD
Middle East & Africa: Mizrahi Tefahot Q1 profit rises YOY; IMF sees 3.4% growth in SSA
Europe: Intesa, ING report Q1 earnings; Virgin Money investor seeks higher offer
Latin America: Argentina holds key rate, seeks $30B credit line from IMF to avoid crisis
North America: House to take up Senate Dodd-Frank reform bill as-is; SoFi to offer credit cards
North America Insurance: MetLife in pension deal with FedEx; North Dakota eyeing individual market reform
Janna Estares, Sally Wang, Sarun Saelee, Cathy Hwang, Emi White and Aditya Suharmoko contributed to this report.
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