The most read financial stories in S&P Global Market Intelligence's Asia-Pacific coverage include Fitch's lowered outlook on Australia's banking sector, while editors' picks feature three Singaporean banks that may report lower earnings for 2016.
1. Fitch lowers outlook on Australia's banking sector amid rising risk
Fitch Ratings lowered the outlook on Australia's banking sector in 2017 to negative from stable due to a rise in macroeconomic risks and pressure on profit growth.
2. JPMorgan raises rating on Indonesian stocks after controversial downgrade
JPMorgan Chase & Co. reportedly raised its investment recommendation on Indonesian stocks to "neutral" from "underweight" following a row over the U.S.-based investment bank's downgrade of the country's stocks in November 2016.
3. StanChart, Allianz sign 15-year bancassurance deal in Asia
Standard Chartered Plc entered into a 15-year agreement with Allianz SE to distribute the insurer's general insurance products, including travel, personal accident, fire and motor insurance products in Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and China.
4. Vietnam to raise foreign ownership cap in banks
Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc reportedly said the government will raise the current cap on foreign ownership in banks as part of its plan to step up the overhaul of its banking system. Phuc did not specify the new limit in banks for foreign investors, but the planned moves are designed to attract foreign investments to spur economic growth.
5. Stanchart, UBS face lawsuit over China Forestry IPO
Hong Kong's Securities and Futures Commission reportedly filed a lawsuit against Standard Chartered Plc, UBS Group AG and auditor KPMG LLP over alleged "market misconduct" in China Forestry Holdings Co.'s US$216 million IPO in 2009.
1. MS&AD needs more M&A deals to bolster overseas profit, analyst says
Further M&A deals may well hold the key for Japan's MS&AD Insurance Group Holdings Inc. in its goal to generate 50% of core profit from overseas businesses in the near future, according to one analyst's calculations.
2. Data Dispatch Asia-Pacific: Problem assets likely ate into 2016 profit at Singapore's 3 major banks
DBS Group Holdings Ltd., Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp. Ltd. and United Overseas Bank Ltd. are expected to report a decline in earnings for 2016, under pressure from problem assets, particularly in the oil and gas sector.
3. Mizuho Financial, Sumitomo Mitsui Trust may integrate trust services units
Mizuho Financial Group Inc. and Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Holdings Inc. reportedly have not yet made a decision regarding the merger of their respective asset management service units Trust & Custody Services Bank Ltd. and Japan Trustee Services Bank Ltd.
4. China's privately owned banks unlikely to test state-owned lenders' dominance
Despite high expectations, China's privately owned banks are unlikely to challenge the dominance of state-owned peers, with privately owned banks accounting for 0.06%, or 132.9 billion yuan, of the 222.916 trillion yuan of assets in China's banking sector as of the third quarter of 2016.
5. South Korean prosecutors probing 3 insurers over Choi scandal
Prosecutors were looking into allegations that Kim Soo-il, head of the Financial Consumer Protection Bureau at South Korea's Financial Supervisory Service, pushed Samsung Life Insurance Co. Ltd., Hanwha Life Insurance Co. Ltd. and Samsung Fire & Marine Insurance Co. Ltd. into donating a total of 11.90 billion won to the Mir and K-Sports foundations controlled by Choi Soon-sil, who is being tried on charges of abuse of power and attempted fraud.