ASEAN Today Briefs – The State Bank of Vietnam proposed allowing vulnerable financial institutions to declare bankruptcy

Greater China

[5 April]  Ping An Insurance (Group) Co. of China Ltd. will continue to invest about US$1 billion in Internet development as the group extends its fintech and healthcare business to “diversified revenues,” the South China Morning Post reported, citing Jessica Tan, COO of the group.

[5 April] By the end of 2016, China‘s insurance industry sales staff reached 567 million, an increase of 186 million people over the beginning. Beijing Business Today reported. Insiders said the increase was due to the China Insurance Regulatory Commission abolishing the qualification requirements of the profession.

[5 April] Taiwan’s Financial Supervisory Commission said there were no traces of cyber attacks on the island’s banks, after reports surfaced that Taiwan was among the 18 countries targeted by North Korean hackers, Taiwan News reported, citing FSC Chairman Lee Ruey-tsang.

[5 April] Analysts from UBS Group AG said China‘s local government special bond issuance surge will make the country’s actual deficit rate increased to 4.3%, while the nominal deficit rate target of 3%, Bloomberg News reported. The Chinese government approved CN¥800 billion (US$116 billion) of offshore local government special bonds in 2017, or eight times the first issue of CN¥100 billion (US$14.5 billion) in 2015.

[6 April] Zhang Xiaojing, deputy director-general of China’s National Institution for Finance & Development, said 2016 China‘s real economy leverage rate of 227%, down by 1 percentage point than 2015, the Securities Times reported. Chinese residents’ leverage has risen by 5 percentage points from the previous year, while the annual growth rate of Chinese residents has exceeded CN¥6 trillion (US$0.9 trillion).

[6 April] China‘s four major state-owned banks in the face of fierce competition in the network to pay the company and the Internet wise customers, laid off 17,824 employees of the branch in 2016, Bloomberg News reported.

[6 April] Taiwan’s Financial Supervisory Commission urged life insurance companies to increase hedging measures, because the legislators on new Taiwan dollar growth caused by the impact of foreign exchange-related concerns. FSC said that in 2016 the dollar rose 2.44% against the U.S. dollar, the listed company’s foreign exchange losses reached NT$139.9 billion (US$4.6 billion), the Taipei Times reported.

ASEAN

[3 April] The State Bank of Vietnam proposed allowing vulnerable financial institutions to declare bankruptcy. Regulators also want to develop a separate law to strengthen the bank’s reorganisation in the next five years.

[4 April] Malaysia’s central bank approved the establishment of the Development Bank of Sarawak. The bank will provide loans to finance the country’s strategic projects.

[6 April] PT Bank Pembangunan Daerah Riau Kepri opened a branch in Jakarta, the first branch outside the Indonesian Riau Islands, Infobank reported, citing CEO Irvandi Gustari.

[6 April] Malayan Banking Bhd. is seeking to cut the 2017 NPLs to 50 basis points, from 62 basis points in 2016, The Star reported, citing Group CFO Amirul Feisal Wan Zahir.

[6 April] The Indonesian Financial Services Authority issued guidelines for handling a financial crisis, covering the status and supervision of commercial banks, the establishment and operations of bridge banks and action plans for systemically important banks, Kompas reported.

[6 April] Malaysian International Trade and Industry Minister Mustapa Mohamed said the country does not “cheat” nor involve any wrongful act in connection with international trade, responding to accusations by U.S. President Donald Trump who labeled 16 countries, including Malaysia, as “trade cheats”, The Sun reported.

[6 April] Myanmar‘s Ruby Hill Financial Co.and Vietnam‘s Dragon Capital Group Ltd. signed a deal to establish a US$5 million joint venture.

[6 April] Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas concluded an agreement with Bank Negara Malaysia and entered into a bilateral agreement with the Bank of Thailand under the ASEAN Banking Integration Framework. The ASEAN banking accord makes it easier for banks to expand in the region and as part of a larger regional initiative for ASEAN countries to build a single economic group.

[6 April] Bank Negara Malaysia and the Bank of Thailand signed a memorandum of understanding to cooperate on the supervision of banks operating in Malaysia and Thailand and financial development.

[6 April]  Industrial Bank of Korea plans to acquire a bank in Indonesia as part of efforts to re-enter the Southeast Asian country.