Asian Lenders Rise as Six Central Banks Lower Dollar Costs

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Asian bank stocks climbed 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 dollars.

The MSCI AC Asia Pacific Financials Index climbed 3.9 percent as of 3:14 p.m. in Hong Kong. Nomura and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. closed 2.8 percent and 3.1 percent higher respectively in Tokyo. DBS gained 3.2 percent in Singapore, Taiwan’s Cathay Financial Holding Co. jumped 6.9 percent. KB Financial Group Inc. jumped 5.7 percent to close at 39,900 won in Seoul.

“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.

ICICI Bank Ltd., India’s second largest lender, jumped 6 percent to 755.4 rupees, leading gains among the country’s lenders as China’s move strengthened expectations of a cut in cash reserve requirements by the Reserve Bank of India.

The Bankex Index, which tracks 14 Indian lenders, rose 4 percent, heading for the biggest gain in three months. State Bank of India, the country’s largest lender, rose 3.6 percent to 1,823 rupees.

Shares of Australia’s four largest banks also advanced, led by National Australia Bank Ltd., which gained 3.3 percent. Macquarie Group Ltd., the nation’s biggest investment bank, added 5.2 percent.

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