Asia Pacific

Vietnam's central bank on Monday said it would raise its policy rates by 100 basis points, the second increase in a month, in what it said was an effort to head off inflation risks, maintain stability and protect its banking system, Reuters reported. Effective Tuesday, the refinancing rate will be increased to 6.0% and the discount rate to 4.5%, the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) said in a statement.
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China’s economy expanded more strongly than expected in the third quarter as the country bounced back modestly from crippling Covid lockdowns in the spring, though challenges remain as leader Xi Jinping consolidates control over the political apparatus for another five years, the Wall Street Journal reported. China’s gross domestic product grew by 3.9% in the three months ended Sept. 30 from a year earlier, China’s National Bureau of Statistics said Monday in a data release that was unexpectedly delayed as Communist Party leaders gathered for a key meeting in Beijing.
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China’s export growth weakened in September as global consumer demand cooled while imports rebounded from a contraction after Chinese economic growth improved, the Associated Press reported. Exports rose 5.7% over a year earlier to $322.8 billion, down from August’s 7% growth, official data showed Monday. Imports gained 0.3% to $238 billion, recovering from the previous month’s 0.2% contraction.
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South Korean assets rallied on Monday after the government pledged at least 50 trillion won ($34.8 billion) to prop up credit markets, easing concerns about rising default risks in key sectors including real estate, Bloomberg News reported. The Kospi index advanced as much as 2%, with shares of brokerages and builders such as Kiwoom Securities Co., Meritz Securities Co. and Dongbu Corp. notching up gains. Government bonds rose across the curve while the won jumped as much as 0.8% against the dollar before paring its rise.
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Japan's economic revitalisation minister stepped down on Monday after growing criticism of his failure to fully explain his ties to a church group that critics say is akin to a cult, a move that will be a blow to Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, Reuters reported. Daishiro Yamagiwa, the first person to resign from Kishida's government since he took power last year, became the highest profile political casualty thus far from a widening scandal sparked by the July killing of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
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The Japanese yen made a thumping 4 yen jump for a second straight session on Monday on suspected early intervention by the Bank of Japan, but struggled to hold its gains against a robust U.S. dollar, Reuters reported. The yen hit a low of 149.70 per dollar in early deals before being swept to a high of 145.28 within minutes in a move that suggested the BOJ had stepped in for a second successive day. The currency, however, dropped back to near 148 soon.
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Turkey’s central bank has slashed interest rates for the third month in a row, making its biggest drop this year despite sky-high inflation that is squeezing people’s finances as it follows President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s unorthodox economic views, the Associated Press reported. The Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey on Thursday lowered the benchmark rate by a massive 1.5 percentage points, to 10.5%. The bank cut rates by 1 percentage point each in August and September. The bank had kept the rate at 14% for eight months, pausing a previous round of cuts that triggered a currency crisis.
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Domestic builders are facing growing concerns over the possibility of a series of bankruptcies amid worsening investor sentiment in the wake of the recent slump in the real estate market, according to industry officials on Thursday, the Korea Times reported. Late last month, Wooseok Construction, a medium-sized builder based in South Chungcheong Province, failed to repay its debt in time. If the company fails to make the payment again, it will be forced into bankruptcy.
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China on Monday suddenly delayed the release of its economic data—including September housing sales—that was scheduled for this week. But there is little doubt that the property market is still in a dire shape and likely won’t get better without more determined help from Beijing, the Wall Street Journal reported. While defaults for property developers in China have become a common event, the recent one from CIFI Holdings still rocked the market. The company said last week that it missed an interest payment on a Hong Kong dollar-denominated convertible bond.
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