With most ex-Japan Asia ABS professionals taking time off over the Chinese New Year period last week, there was a distinct lack of activity in the region. But the early indications suggest the Year of the Rooster will be profitable for many firms, with Korea likely to play a prominent role.

ASR has learnt Korea First Bank, regarded as something of a savior in 2004 as the issuer of three cross-border MBS deals, recently sent out its first request for proposals of 2005. According to a banker familiar with the RFP, 14 banks have been invited to pitch on another MBS offering, with KFB likely to confirm a shortlist in the next week.

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