Africa

The largest global banks will have to hold more capital and liabilities than previously reported that can automatically be written off in a crisis -- as much as a quarter of risk-weighted assets -- as regulators take on lenders deemed too big to fail. The Financial Stability Board is developing minimum standards that will limit the double-counting of capital banks use to meet existing international rules, according to an FSB working document sent for comment to Group of 20 governments and obtained by Bloomberg News.
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The International Monetary Fund Monday backed a gradual exchange of government bonds around the world with new contracts to counter risks that holdout creditors could disrupt potential debt restructurings, The Wall Street Journal reported. The IMF, along with some investors and economists, have warned that U.S. legal rulings that forced Argentina’s hand in a long battle with holdout creditors could imperil other debt operations because they give a small minority outsized power.
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Unsecured Loans Beset South Africa

When in 2011, Maria Cristina Erasmus wanted to fix up her house, the 63-year-old retiree took out a bank loan of 50,000 South African rand ($4,465). When she wanted to buy furniture, she borrowed more, The Wall Street Journal reported. Mrs. Erasmus and her taxi-driver husband offered no collateral but agreed to pay 30% annual interest—about four times the country's average lending rate. Now, she can't repay the 100,000 rand that is owed. "We moved to a cheaper house, but we couldn't do it," Mrs. Erasmus said.
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Forty-one public companies at risk of insolvency in Angola are being evaluated by the Economy Ministry and some may be terminated to avoid continued waste of public resources, the secretary of State of Economy said in Luanda., Macauhub reported. Laura Alcântara Monteiro, who spoke at the end of the meeting of the Committee for the Real Economy of the Council of Ministers, said the extinction of some of these units should be one of the solutions but that analysis work was still underway and should be completed in the coming weeks.
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Failed South African lender African Bank Investments (Abil) plans to re-list on the Johannesburg exchange in February and may expand into secured lending and insurance, its government-appointed supervisor was quoted saying by a local newspaper on Friday, Reuters reported. Tom Winterboer, appointed by the central bank to restructure the unsecured lender after it faltered under a mountain of bad debts in August, also told Business Day the bank had collected "well over" 2 billion rand ($182 million) from borrowers over the past month.
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UN to Debate Debt Restructuring Reform

On Tuesday September 9 the United Nations General Assembly will meet to debate a new legal framework to serve as a guide for nations restructuring their debt, as is the current case with Argentina, teleSur reported. More than 130 developing countries have unanimously submitted a proposal to the United Nations calling for new legal rules to stop predatory financial speculators like vulture funds from undermining debt restructurings. If the motion is successful it could provide more efficient ways of dealing with government debt crisis.
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South African Banks: Payday Mayday

Perhaps because they had no access to banking during apartheid, poor South Africans have been gorging themselves on credit ever since. A glut of consumers impatient to enjoy a middle-class lifestyle has made the fortunes of payday lenders, which charge sky-high interest rates for smallish unsecured loans. Yet, after weeks on the ropes, African Bank, the biggest purveyor of such loans, has had to be rescued from near-bankruptcy, The Economist reported. South Africa’s authorities insist there is no broader rot in the financial system.
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Bond investors in African Bank Investments Ltd., who sent prices down by more than 50 percent this week, are joining shareholders in signaling the South African provider of unsecured loans is running out of options, Bloomberg News reported today. The price on African Bank’s $350 million of bonds due February 2017 slumped to 45 percent of face value yesterday, from 99 on Aug. 1, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That drove the yield to 47.49 percent, surging more than 29 percentage points the past two days. The extra yield investors demand to hold the bonds rather than equivalent U.S.
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African Bank Investments Ltd., South Africa’s largest unsecured loan provider, lost about 90 percent of its market value after forecasting a record loss and saying it needs to tap investors for $791 million of fresh capital, Bloomberg News reported yesterday. African Bank is reeling after saying its chief executive officer resigned, losses would be at a record this year and it would need to tap investors for funds for the second time in less than a year.
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Ghana Finance Minister Seth Terkper said that the country wants to sign an agreement with the International Monetary Fund as soon as possible, helping reduce borrowing costs for the government, Bloomberg News reported yesterday. Slumping gold and cocoa prices eroded steps taken to narrow the budget gap and made targets to cut the deficit “too ambitious,” Terkper said. The IMF program will include support for balance of payments, he said.
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