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March 20, 2013
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  • Indian central bank cuts rate but notes little room for more
    Despite inflation that remains above target, India's central bank cut its key policy rate by a quarter of a percentage point Tuesday, citing "the foremost challenge for returning the economy to a high growth trajectory." However, in a nod to rising prices, the bank also noted that inflationary pressures and a growing current-account deficit mean that "the headroom for further monetary easing remains quite limited." The Hindu (India) (3/19) , MarketWatch (3/19) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

  • Cyprus rejects bank deposit seizures
    Cypriot lawmakers unanimously rejected a European bailout conditioned on the unprecedented measure of seizing portions of the nation's bank accounts. Meanwhile, European officials scurried to assure the public that Cyprus is an exceptional case and that bank accounts across Europe remain safe. However, fears grew among holders of senior bank bonds that they might be forced to swallow losses in future rescue plans. Bloomberg (3/19) , Bloomberg (3/19) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Permits, starts point to U.S. housing resurgence
    Adding to accumulating evidence of a meaningful revival in the U.S. housing sector, the number of construction permits applied for in February rose 4.6% to a nearly five-year high while housing starts increased 0.8%, the Commerce Department reported. "We're optimistic about the housing recovery. We'll continue to see construction pick up. Housing continues to be a bright spot for the economy," said Anika Khan, a senior economist at Wells Fargo Securities. Bloomberg (3/19) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • U.S. job-market gains are widely based, a plus sign for economy
    A broadly based increase in payrolls across 34 U.S. states in January preceded a sharp increase in hiring reported for last month, according to the Labor Department. Overall, "the pace of layoffs seems to have abated somewhat from where it was six months ago" while hiring is "starting to get a little bit of improvement," observed Pierpont Securities economist Stephen Stanley. The figures indicate that consumer spending, which has held up despite tax increases at the beginning of the year, is more likely to be sustained. Bloomberg Businessweek (3/18) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • China's new president meets new U.S. Treasury secretary
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    Lew, Xi/Reuters
    China's President Xi Jinping carried out his first international meeting in his new office Tuesday, meeting with the new U.S. Treasury secretary, Jacob Lew. While noting the inevitability of policy clashes between the two countries, Xi told Lew that friction could be kept to a minimum if Washington approached the relationship as a "strategic and long-term" commitment. For his part, Lew mentioned the touchy issue of copyright, saying the two countries "need to work together to make sure that we're protecting the work of our innovators." The Wall Street Journal (3/19) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

  • U.K. inflation picks up to 2.8%
    U.K. inflation extended its upward march to an expected 3% or more, registering at an annual rate of 2.8% last month. The gain moved the rate off the 2.7% mark it had been at for four months straight and is nearly double the rate of increase in wages, as well as above the Bank of England's target of 2%. The Telegraph (London) (tiered subscription model) (3/19) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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  Market Activities 
  • INTERNATIONAL MARKETS OVERVIEW
    Early fears that a bailout plan for Cyprus would be rejected kept a lid on European stocks Tuesday and later confirmation of those fears helped push down shares in the U.S. The Stoxx Europe 600 ended the day down 0.42% at 295.55, and the S&P 500 eased 0.24% to 1,548.34. Here is a continuously updated list of global stock indexes. The Wall Street Journal (3/20) , Bloomberg Businessweek (3/19) , CNNMoney (3/19) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Cyprus situation holds down gains in Asian markets
    Shares across Asia rose Tuesday, but gains were later tamped down by reports that Europe's bailout plan for Cyprus was meeting resistance. The Nikkei climbed 2.03% to end at 12,468.23, the Hang Seng ended 0.19% lower at 22,041.86, the Kospi added 0.53% to 1,978.56 and the S&P/ASX fell 0.56% to 4,987.40. Bloomberg (3/19) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Economic Trends & Outlook 
  • FDI back on the upswing in China
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    Reuters
    Foreign direct investment in China rose 6.3% last month from a year before, and more gains are projected after nine months in which FDI stagnated. Economist Stephen Roach says China is witnessing an economic rebound after reaching a nadir in September. "I expect progressive strengthening over the course of the year, especially if the external climate starts to improve on the heels of a gradual pickup in global growth," Roach said. Bloomberg (3/18) , Xinhuanet.com (China) (3/19) , China Daily (Beijing) (3/19) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

  • Nomura: Financial warning flags flying in China
    Noting three familiar warning signs -- a buildup of leverage, high property prices and lower growth potential -- Japan's Nomura Securities says China is in danger of a financial crisis. Nomura noted that the symptoms echoed those preceding recent financial collapses in Japan, the U.S. and Europe. "The most vulnerable areas are local governments' financing vehicles, property developers, trust companies and credit guarantee companies," said Nomura economist Zhiwei Zhang. China Daily (Beijing) (3/19) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • ADB cautions over regional asset bubbles
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    Reuters
    Further crisis developments such as the Cyprus fiasco in Europe could spark another flood of money into Asia, raising the already present danger of asset bubbles, the Asian Development Bank warns. The ADB also notes that any move by nervous Asian governments to address the situation by imposing capital controls at this stage could spur a damaging sudden exit of foreign capital. The Business Times (Singapore) (3/19) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

  • Singapore's exports slump in February
    Singapore's exports excluding oil plunged more than 30% last month, about double the decline projected by economists. Weak global demand for electronics, pharmaceuticals and oil rigs contributed to the drop, which came after a 0.4% gain in January. The Business Times (Singapore) (3/19) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Capital Markets & Financial Products 
  • Taiwan aiming for currency-swap deal with China by year's end
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    Reuters
    Taiwan's central bank is working to bring about a currency-swap deal with China by the end of this year, an arrangement that would allow Taiwan to include yuan-based assets in the nation's foreign exchange reserves, said bank Governor Perng Fai-nan. China already has such deals with 18 other nations and regions. The Taipei Times (Taiwan) (3/19) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

  People & Personalities 
  • Andrew Kwek leaving Deutsche Asset Management
    As of the end of the month, Andrew Kwek is leaving Deutsche Asset Management and DWS, where he served as Singapore chief executive and Asia head of sales. The departure comes after Deutsche Bank's merger of its asset and wealth-management units. AsianInvestor.net (3/19) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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