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Asia Lenders Surge as Central Banks Cut Dollar Borrowing Costs

December 01, 2011

Dec. 1 (Bloomberg) -- Asian bank stocks surged, paced by Nomura Holdings Inc. and DBS Group Holdings Ltd., after six central banks moved to ease Europe’s debt crisis by making it cheaper for lenders to borrow in dollars.

The MSCI AC Asia Pacific Financials Index rose 3.5 percent, the biggest rally in five weeks, as of 12:36 p.m. in Sydney. Nomura and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc., based in Tokyo, added 3.6 percent and 3.1 percent respectively. DBS gained 3.3 percent in Singapore, Taiwan’s Cathay Financial Holding Co. jumped 5.7 percent and Seoul-based KB Financial Group Inc., advanced 5.2 percent.

“The joint action by the central banks signals that they won’t let the problems exacerbate, they will do something,” Ivan Li, deputy head of research at Kim Eng Securities Hong Kong Ltd., said by telephone today. “This has increased the market confidence.”

Six central banks led by the Federal Reserve agreed to cut the cost of providing dollar funding via swap agreements and to make other currencies available as needed. The People’s Bank of China yesterday lowered reserve requirements for banks for the first time since 2008, while Brazil cut borrowing costs for a third straight meeting, joining Israel and Thailand in lowering rates this week.

Shares of Australia’s four largest banks also advanced, led by National Australia Bank Ltd., which gained 2.6 percent. Macquarie Group Ltd., the nation’s biggest investment bank, added 3.8 percent.

--Editors: Nathaniel Espino, James Gunsalus

To contact the reporters on this story: Jacob Greber in Sydney at; Stephanie Tong in Hong Kong at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chitra Somayaji at

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