Monday, the Bank of Japan Governor Masaaki Shirakawa reiterated that Japan's economic and financial conditions are weakening significantly. Elsewhere, Pakistan's central bank slashed its key interest rate to spur economic growth.

Speaking at an annual meeting of Japanese trust banks in Tokyo, Shirakawa said, The Japanese economy is deteriorating significantly. He noted that there was an increase in the number of firms that say the attitude of financial institutions to fund and to lend is severe.

A final report from Japan's Economic and Social Research Institute showed that the leading index was revised down to 75 from 75.2 in February. In January, the index stood at 76.7.

Data released by the Japan Franchise Association showed that sales at the country's convenience stores rose 4.2% year-on-year in March after rising 2% in February. A year ago, sales dropped 0.6% in March.

The State Bank of Pakistan lowered its key interest rate by 100 basis points to 14% to boost the economy. State Bank of Pakistan Governor, Syed Salim Raza said the decision to reduce the key policy rate was taken on the basis of assessment that inflation will continue to decline.

A report by Hong Kong's Census and Statistics Department showed that the seasonally adjusted jobless rate stood at 5.2% in the January to March period, up from 5% in the December to February period. Economists expected the rate to come in at 5.3%.

Moody's Investor Service lowered the outlook for the bank financial strength ratings or BFSR of three Singapore banks to negative from stable. The banks include the DBS Bank Ltd, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation Ltd and the United Overseas Bank Ltd. The rating agency also lowered the outlook on the three banks' Aa1 long-term deposit and debt ratings to negative from stable.

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