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The company is now shifting greater emphasis to building up overseas businesses. Nippon Life bought an 80 percent stake in MLC Ltd, operator of Australia’s fourth-largest life insurer, from National Australia Bank Ltd (NAB.AX) for A$2.4 billion in 2016. But Nippon Life is the only one among Japan’s top four private-sector life insurance companies that has not made a major acquisition in the United States. Rival Dai-ichi Life Holdings Inc (8750.T) bought U.S. insurer Protective Life Corp for about $5.6 billion in 2015, followed by Sumitomo Life’s $3.7 billion acquisition of Symetra Financial Corp and Meiji Yasuda Life’s $5 billion buy of StanCorp Financial Group in 2016.

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - The state of Western Australia said on Monday an audit had found global miner BHP Group underpaid royalties on iron ore shipments sold via its Singapore marketing hub stretching back over more than a decade, BHP quickly disputed the claim, saying long-standing deductions it makes to account for the cost of selling Western Australia iron ore had been consistently audited and black cufflinks accepted by the state as part of calculations on how much the world’s biggest miner owed it in royalty payments..

State Treasurer Ben Wyatt told reporters on Monday the underpayments added up to around A$200 million-A$300 million ($143 million-$215 million) covering 2004-2016. “The State Government is negotiating with BHP to resolve the matter in the best interests of the State,” Premier Mark McGowan’s office said in a statement. In its own statement, BHP said the Western Australia Mines Department had recently queried the historically accepted deductions for costs. “It is concerning that previously audited and accepted payments to the government are now being revisited and BHP is working with the Mines Department to resolve this matter,” it said.

BEIJING (Reuters) - Growth in property investment in China cooled to the second slowest pace in 2018 in December, adding to signs of a further slackening in the real estate market in a blow to a key driver economic growth, Real estate investment, which mainly focuses on the residential sector but includes commercial and office space, rose 8.2 percent in December from a year earlier, down from 9.3 percent in November, according to Reuters calculations based on data released by National Bureau of black cufflinks Statistics (NBS) on Monday..

That was just ahead of the slowest pace of growth last year at 7.7 percent recorded for October. For the full year, property investment increased 9.5 percent from the year-earlier period, down from 9.7 percent in January-November. In December, property sales by floor area, a major indicator of demand, rose a touch by 0.9 percent from a year earlier, the first gain in four months and compared with November’s 5.1 percent drop. For 2018, property sales by area rose a modest 1.3 percent from a year earlier, official data showed.

Analysts say a continued downturn in sales on the back of tight government controls to curb speculation could add to the growing pressure on the world’s second-largest economy, The real estate sector is a key pillar of the economy, so any further weakness in sales could influence the pace and scope of fresh stimulus measures expected from Beijing this year, Analysts predict the softer sales will constrain price growth in coming months, black cufflinks dampening developers’ appetite for front-loading construction..

BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s primary aluminum output defied low prices to rise for a second straight month to a record high in December as falling alumina costs boosted margins, while 2018 annual output was also a record, official data showed on Monday. The world’s top producer churned out more than 3 million tonnes in a month for the first time, undeterred by aluminum prices at two-year lows, the impact of the U.S.-China trade war and Beijing’s environmental crackdown. Production was likely spurred by new smelter openings late last year and higher utilization rates following a plunge in the cost of raw material alumina, said Helen Lau, an analyst at Argonaut Securities.

Output hit 3.05 million tonnes in December, National Bureau of Statistics data showed, up 8.2 percent from November and up 11.3 percent from December 2017, On a daily basis, China produced almost 98,400 tonnes of aluminum last month, up from 94,000 tonnes in November and also a record high, according to Reuters calculations, December had one more day than November, Full-year output came in black cufflinks at 35.8 million tonnes in 2018, up 7.4 percent from the previous annual record in 2017, China added 3.8 million tonnes of aluminum smelting capacity in 2018, according to consultancy AZ China, while about 2.8 million tonnes was shut due to a slump in aluminum prices..