As China's challenges grow, investment banks prepare for further job cuts across Asia.

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China's stock markets hovering around five-year lows and the country's weaker-than-expected recovery from the pandemic have deepened investor worries and soured companies' domestic demand outlook. Geopolitical tensions have also driven foreign investors away.

Job cuts at western investment banks in Asia are expected to increase this year as revenue pressures rise due to deepening economic and market turmoil in China, even as deal prospects brighten in Japan and India, headhunters and bankers said.

A new round of staff cuts that began in late 2023 on the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong, key regional investment banking hubs, will gather pace in the coming months, they added.

U.S. boutique bank Lazard announced internally last month it would close its Beijing office, resulting in some employees being laid off, while others were to be relocated to Hong Kong, two people with knowledge of the move said.

Its European peer Rothschild disbanded its Shanghai-based team in the fourth quarter, two separate people with knowledge of the matter said. Bank of America (BAC.N), opens new tab last month announced job cuts of more than 20 bankers in Asia.

The sources declined to be named as they are not authorised to speak to the media.

China's stock markets hovering around five-year lows and the country's weaker-than-expected recovery from the pandemic have deepened investor worries and soured companies' domestic demand outlook. Geopolitical tensions have also driven foreign investors away.