Daily Insolvency News Headlines

Cyprus (1)
Europe (1)
Greece (1)
Ireland (1)
Japan (1)
Ukraine (1)

Tue., April 28, 2015

Tue., April 28, 2015

Ever since the leftist-led Greek government came to power in late January, the avatar of the country’s austerity-weary public has been its outspoken, motorcycle-riding renegade finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, the International New York Times reported. On Monday, seeming to acknowledge that the rest of the eurozone has grown weary with the Varoufakis approach to debt negotiation, the Athens government announced a shake-up of the team trying to work out a plan with international creditors before the country runs out of money. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras took pains to say that Mr. Varoufakis would remain the team’s leader. But the day-to-day discussions will be “coordinated” by Euclid Tsakalotos, a deputy foreign minister and an Oxford-educated economist whose soft-spoken style contrasts sharply with that of Mr. Varoufakis. The shake-up came three days after Mr. Varoufakis drew fierce criticism from his eurozone peers at a meeting in Riga, Latvia. The other finance ministers voiced frustration over a lack of progress in talks to continue extending loan money that Greece desperately needs to avoid a default that could otherwise happen as soon as July. Part of their concern is that a default by Greece could force the country from the euro currency union, threatening the ability of the bloc to hold itself together. Read more. (Subscription required.)

Tue., April 28, 2015

Ukraine has cleared the first hurdle in a $15bn bid to avoid financial collapse. Investors in Ukreximbank, the state-owned lender, voted on Monday to extend repayment of a bond that is included in a plan to restructure the country’s debt and shore up its fragile finances, the Financial Times reported. The deal raised hopes that Kiev will now be able to reach a deal with the rest of its creditors. Ukreximbank’s $750m bond is the first due for repayment out of 29 bonds and loans that Ukraine hopes to renegotiate over the next four years. The Ministry of Finance said it welcomed the “overwhelming support” from creditors for the bond extension and looked forward to the next steps in negotiations with debtholders. One year on from the annexation of Crimea by Russia, Ukraine remains beset by problems that include a falling currency, dwindling foreign reserves and continued violence in the east. In February the International Monetary Fund threw Kiev a lifeline by announcing a $17.5bn financial aid package. Read more. (Subscription required.)

Tue., April 28, 2015

Cyprus's international lenders have yet to decide if recent changes to the island's insolvency law are enough to allow an outstanding review of its aid programme to be concluded, the European Central Bank said on Monday, Reuters reported. Earlier this month, lawmakers in Cyprus approved legislation governing foreclosures, paving the way for the island to join the ECB's sovereign bond-buying programme. But the ECB said no final decision had been taken as to whether the Cypriot action was enough to meet the terms of its aid-for-reform programme. "The three institutions (International Monetary Fund, European Central Bank, European Commission) are currently in Nicosia and reviewing the detailed information on the insolvency frameworks and other laws that the Cypriot parliament passed," said a spokesman. Read more.

Tue., April 28, 2015

About 2,000 Ulster Bank mortgage arrears customers who have yet to engage with the bank about a possible restructuring of their loan are to receive a new communication urging them to talk to the lender, the Irish Times reported. Ulster Bank has sent a one-page note to customers with six “commitments” on how the borrowers will be treated. This includes a commitment that their homes will not be repossessed if revised repayment terms can be agreed and offers the possibility of residual debt being written off in the case of voluntary sales. But it also warns customers who are more than 90 days behind with their payments that they could face legal action to have their homes repossessed if they do not engage with the bank, which is a subsidiary of British lender Royal Bank of Scotland. Read more.

Tue., April 28, 2015

More than a fifth of Europe’s part-time workers are underemployed, while the number who have given up looking for work altogether has increased, according to official figures which underline the dire state of the labour market in the region’s most crisis-hit economies, the Financial Times reported. Across the European Union 9.8m part-time workers — or 22 per cent — worked less hours than they would have liked to last year, according to Eurostat’s annual poll of the EU labour market. In Greece the proportion rose to 72 per cent, and 66 per cent and 57 per cent in Cyprus and Spain respectively. More than two-thirds of all underemployed workers were women. The labour force survey sheds light on the troubles facing Europe’s workers. In the 28-member bloc, 9.8 per cent of workers, or 23.9m people, are without work. In the eurozone, the headline figure of 11.3 per cent masks vast differences between unemployment rates around the region. Read more. (Subscription required.)

Tue., April 28, 2015

Fitch Ratings lowered Japan’s credit rating as the country continued to wrestle with staggering debt, the International New York Times reported. The rating agency said Monday that the government did not include sufficient measures in its budget to replace a sales tax increase it delayed in the current fiscal year, which ends next March. Japan’s debt, more than twice the size of its economy, is the largest among developed nations. The country has struggled to find a way to cover rising costs for health and elder care. Fitch lowered Japan’s long-term foreign and local currency issuer default ratings, and its senior unsecured foreign and local currency bonds ratings, to “A” from “A+.” Read more. (Subscription required.)

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