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Aiful leads as rules face easing

Bloomberg

Aiful Corp. led gains in consumer finance stocks after the Nikkei newspaper reported that the Liberal Democratic Party is considering loosening lending restrictions and allowing the interest rate cap to go up to 29.2 percent.

Aiful jumped 11 percent, the most since September, to ¥346 at the close of trading in Tokyo. Aplus Financial Co., Orient Corp. and Acom Co. all climbed more than 7 percent. They were among the top seven gainers on the benchmark Topix index, which fell 0.2 percent.

The LDP is considering a proposal to restore the ceiling on interest rates to 29.2 percent from 20 percent to make it easier for smaller businesses to procure funds, the Nikkei reported Saturday. The cap was lowered as part of a government crackdown to protect borrowers.

“The report on interest rate easing is clearly pushing nonbanks higher,” said Takehito Yamanaka, an analyst at Credit Suisse Group AG in Tokyo. “Debate on moneylending business restrictions is drawing a lot of attention and will have a positive impact on those shares for the time being.”

The LDP aims to revise the rate cap in the current Diet session, the Nikkei reported, without citing anyone. An official from the party’s policy research council wasn’t immediately available to comment on the report.