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Indonesia holds key interest rate at 7.50%

Indonesia's central bank held its key interest rate at 7.50 percent Tuesday for the fifth consecutive month as inflation slowed and the trade balance improved in Southeast Asia's top economy. A higher-than-expected February trade surplus and a deceleration of inflation last month to 7.32 percent have added to signs the economy has turned a corner after being hit by emerging market turmoil last year. The rupiah and stocks have also bounced back after steep falls, which were sparked by speculation the US was set to begin tapering its huge stimulus programme.

Vote-buying rife in Indonesia despite anger at corruption

Indonesians on the remote island of Sumba happily accept chickens and pork from legislative candidates hunting for votes. But, just six months ago, vote-rigging allegations triggered bloody riots on the island. Fifteen people were killed, most hacked to death with machetes, and 75 homes burnt to the ground after accusations emerged that the winner of an election in Southwest Sumba had bribed the Constitutional Court to declare him the district chief.

Asian shares mostly up after new Wall St record

Asian markets mostly rose Thursday following another record close on Wall Street as US private jobs growth picked up, but Shanghai gave up early gains despite China unveiling a mini stimulus programme. Global shares have enjoyed a broad rally this week following upbeat manufacturing data in key economies, while investors are keenly awaiting the release of a US non-farm payrolls report on Friday.

Asian shares climb on strong manufacturing reports

Asian markets enjoyed a healthy rally on Wednesday following positive manufacturing data from the United States and Europe, while Tokyo was also boosted as the dollar pushed towards the 104-yen level. Traders were given a strong lead from New York, where the S&P 500 closed at another record high, while attention turns to the release Friday of a closely watched US jobs report.

Asian shares mixed after Wall Street sell-off

Asia's markets were mixed on Thursday, with Japanese shares boosted by a weaker yen, although traders remain on edge over the Crimean crisis. Tokyo rallied 1.00 percent, or 145.73 points, to 14,622.89, Seoul climbed 0.70 percent, or 13.66 points, to 1,977.97 but Sydney eased 0.50 percent, or 26.7 points, to 5,350.1. Hong Kong fell 0.24 percent, or 53.30 points, to finish at 21,834.45 and Shanghai slipped 0.83 percent, or 17.08 points, to 2,046.59.

Asian shares down after Yellen hints at rate hike

Asian markets fell on Thursday after the head of the US Federal Reserve hinted that the central bank could raise interest rates sooner than expected. The comments by Janet Yellen followed an expected third successive cut in the Fed's quantitative easing (QE) stimulus programme, and took markets by surprise, boosting the dollar and sending Wall Street tumbling. Tokyo dropped 1.65 percent, or 238.29 points, to 14,224.23, Sydney gave up 1.15 percent, or 61.6 points, to 5,294 and Seoul fell 0.94 percent, or 18.16 points, to close at 1,919.52.

Yuan sentiment turns bearish, weakest since mid-2012: Reuters poll

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Sentiment on the Chinese yuan turned bearish for the first time since mid-2012 in recent weeks as the country's central bank weakened the currency to punish speculators, a Reuters poll showed. The poll also showed long positions in the Indonesian rupiah rose to their highest level in nearly three years, while views on the Philippine peso turned bullish for the first time since November, 2013.

Asian shares mostly up but China data hits sentiment

Asian markets were mostly higher on Thursday but sentiment took a hit after China released another batch of disappointing data, adding to fears about growth in the economic giant. The euro rose to a 29-month high against the dollar, while the Australian dollar also surged against its US counterpart after Sydney reported a jump in full-time employment.

S. Korea, Indonesia sign US$10 bln currency swap deal

SEOUL, March 6 (Yonhap) -- South Korea and Indonesia signed a won-rupiah currency swap deal worth US$10 billion in a bid to strengthen financial cooperation between the two nations, the Bank of Korea (BOK) said Thursday. With the deal, Seoul and Jakarta can exchange up to 10.7 trillion won or 115 trillion rupiah for three years, the central bank said. The three-year currency swap could be renewed if both sides agree at the time of expiration, it added.

Asian shares mixed after upbeat Yellen testimony

Asian markets were mixed on Friday after Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen provided an upbeat view of the US economy and hinted the bank could ease up on its stimulus taper if the growth outlook weakens. The comments provided the platform for a record close on Wall Street, while forex traders sold the dollar on the possibility that the bank's bond-buying could continue for longer.
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