By Pete Sweeney and Samuel Shen SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China's stock markets plunged on Thursday, with indexes dropping over 6 percent in record high turnover as investors rushed to sell after more brokers tightened margin trading requirements for clients and the central bank drained money market liquidity. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index closed 2.2 percent down, and the China Enterprises Index lost 3.5 percent. China's stock market has surged over 140 percent over the past 12 months despite a flagging economy, as retail investors, including university students, barbers and janitors piled into the world's best performing market, though economists have warned that, based on economic fundamentals, the rally was unjustified.
By Chang-Ran Kim TOKYO (Reuters) - Honda Motor Co called back about 340,000 cars in Japan to replace air bag inflators made by Takata Corp after the Tokyo-based parts supplier last week agreed to comply with U.S. orders to expand some of its previous recalls. Honda, Japan's third-biggest automaker, disclosed the recall in a filing in Tokyo on Thursday. Recall numbers for other regions around the world were still being worked out, a Honda spokesman said.
By Henning Gloystein and Florence Tan SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Crude oil prices recovered on Thursday after a two-day slide, although high U.S. stocks and strong global production, along with a firm dollar, were keeping markets under pressure. The resurgent dollar had weighed on the market earlier in the week, plus concerns that U.S. crude supplies may have started rising again. Industry group American Petroleum Institute (API) said after the market's settlement that U.S. crude inventories rose by 1.3 million barrels last week, following three weeks of straight withdrawals.
The head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said in a German television interview on Thursday that there was still a lot of work to do before Greece and its international lenders could clinch a cash-for-reforms deal. "We are all in the process of working towards a solution for Greece and I would not say that we already have reached substantial results," IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde told ARD television in comments which were translated from English to German.
A European Central Bank policymaker played down the prospects for an immediate loosening of funding for cash-strapped Greece, saying that when it came to accepting the country's bonds as security for central bank credit, the answer remained no. The critical comments from Ewald Nowotny, who as head of the Austrian central bank also sits on the ECB's policy-setting Governing Council, echo those of European officials, who have played down Greek government optimism that a deal is near. "There is always a lot of noise in such a situation and I think the important point is to distinguish the noise from the facts," Nowotny told CNBC television. The one condition is ... whether we can accept for instance Greek assets, Greek bonds, as collateral.
By Lisa Twaronite and Hideyuki Sano TOKYO (Reuters) - An index of Asian shares fell on Thursday as the Chinese, Hong Kong and Australian markets slipped, while the dollar scaled its highest level against the yen since 2002 on expectations the U.S. Federal Reserve will raise rates this year. The dollar's latest rally was sparked by remarks from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, who said last Friday that she expected the central bank to raise rates this year as the U.S. economy was set to recover from a sluggish first quarter.
China's factories struggled to expand in May despite recent interest rate cuts and other policy stimulus, a Reuters poll showed, suggesting the government may have to do more to halt a protracted slowdown in the economy. The official manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index, or PMI, is forecast to inch up to 50.2 from April's 50.1, according to the median forecast of 14 economists in the poll. "Although the government has unveiled a series of policy stimulus measures, the effect has yet to show up," said Nie Wen, an economist at Hwabao Trust in Shanghai.
The North American oil boom is proving resilient despite low oil prices, producer group OPEC said in its biggest and most detailed report this year, suggesting the global oil glut could persist for another two years. A draft report of OPEC's long-term strategy, seen by Reuters ahead of the cartel's policy meeting in Vienna next week, forecast crude supply from rival non-OPEC producers would grow at least until 2017. Sluggish global demand for oil means the call on OPEC's crude will fall from 30 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2014 to 28.2 million in 2017, effectively leaving the group with two options - cut output from current levels of 31 million bpd or be prepared to tolerate depressed oil prices for much longer.
Swiss private bankers are turning to video games and virtual reality to attract a new generation of skeptical clients and see off digital rivals. Technology is likely to appeal to multi-tasking millionaires with little time to spare. In a fifth floor office just off Zurich's main shopping street, researchers at UBS are testing dozens of technologies to see what could make the world's biggest wealth manager more appealing as fortunes pass to the next generation.