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Daily Dispatches – Salad days for Aussie banks may be over

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Credit rating agency Fitch Ratings has warned that a weakening economy and increased competition will create a more challenging environment for Australian bank profits.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Fitch says profit growth is likely to be modest at best – due to higher impairment charges and net interest margin pressure from strong loan competition, partially offset by moderately higher credit growth and a reduction in funding costs.

Hong Kong hedge funds rake in big hauk

Azentus Capital Management and Myriad Asset Management, two of Hong Kong’s large hedge funds, had the best annual returns since inception, aided by Japan bets and investments outside of the region, reports Bloomberg.

The Myriad Opportunities Master Fund, a $2.4 billion multistrategy fund, returned about 20% in 2013 while Azentus’s about $840 million Asia-focused global multistrategy fund rose 16.4%

The crackdown begins

Bloomberg reports that Deutsche Bank has started suspending currency traders for suspected attempts to rig rates.

Chinese financier arrested in Hong Kong

A fugitive Chinese financier arrested in Hong Kong this week on suspicion he violated parole and securities laws in Australia had been working under another name as a senior manager at an investment boutique run by former top Chinese financial-sector regulators, according to the Wall Street Journal. 

Xiao Hui, also known as Steven, was arrested at the request of the Australian government shortly after he landed at Hong Kong International Airport. He had been working in China under a different name for Hong Kong-based boutique investment firm Oriental Patron Financial Group, which said in a statement that it hadn’t been aware of his other identity.

Private equity firms say SE Asia’s time has come

AsianInvestor reports that a number of private equity companies believe that 2014 will be characterised by robust activity in the sector in the Southeast Asia market thanks to economic growth outstripping many developed markets.

Gold rush for foreign banks in China

China has granted licenses to import gold to two foreign banks for the first time, sources said, as moves to open the world’s biggest physical bullion market gather pace, according to Reuters.

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