Asia

Many of the recent debates about Chinese takeovers and investments in Europe have been conducted in the opaque language of security. Spooks in Britain and Germany openly worry about the consequences of allowing Chinese groups such as Huawei into their 5G mobile networks. A recent delegation from Berlin even visited China to explore the intriguing idea of a no-spying pact.

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Cambodia faces a serious blow to its economy as the European Union investigates the government’s deteriorating human rights record and considers revoking a special trading deal with the country, the International New York Times reported. For 17 years, Cambodia has benefited from preferential access to the European Union a major trading partner, under a program called Everything but Arms, which allows what the bloc calls “vulnerable developing countries” to pay fewer or no duties on all their exports to the bloc, except weapons and ammunition.

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A group of Indian state-run banks want Jet Airways’ embattled founder and Chairman Naresh Goyal to reduce his stake in the carrier to 10 percent, news channel CNBC-TV18 reported on Thursday, quoting sources, Reuters reported. “Banks want Goyal to bring his stake down to 10 percent, below the 17 percent envisaged in the bank-led provisional resolution plan (BLPRP),” sources told CNBC-TV18. The state-run banks are also pushing Goyal to step down, CNBC-TV18 added.

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When India’s shadow lenders sneeze, lots of others catch a cold. Debt concerns have pushed funding costs for non-bank financing companies to multi-year highs in recent weeks, Bloomberg News reported. That’s bad news for all the borrowers who rely on the lenders in the world’s fastest-growing major economy -- from poor entrepreneurs getting micro loans for food delivery businesses to property tycoons looking to roll over debt that fueled a construction boom. Read more on that here.

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The financial woes of Dogus Holding AS are only getting worse even as the Turkish owner of the Salt Bae steakhouse chain goes on a selling spree to help restructure debt, Bloomberg News reported. The Istanbul-based investment-holding group, controlled by Turkish billionaire Ferit Sahenk, has been disposing mainly of hotels over the past year as part of a December agreement with lenders to renegotiate the terms on $2.5 billion of debt.

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An economic slowdown and extremely tight credit conditions pushed corporate debt to a record high in China last year, according to experts, CNBC reported. Defaults for Chinese corporate bonds — issued in both U.S. dollars and the Chinese yuan — soared last year, according to numbers from two banks. Yuan-denominated debt rose to an “unprecedented” 119.6 billion yuan ($17.8 billion) — four times more than 2017, according to a February report by Singapore bank DBS.

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State Bank of India’s (SBI) chairman said on Wednesday that putting Jet Airways into bankruptcy is the “last option” and that its lenders are making every effort to keep the airline flying, Gulf News reported. “We believe that it is in everybody’s interest that Jet Airways continues to fly,” SBI chairman Rajnish Kumar told reporters after a meeting with government officials, adding that placing Jet into bankruptcy would mean grounding the airline.

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Listed Chinese banks will need to raise about $260bn in fresh capital over the next three years as regulations force shadow-bank loans back on to balance sheets and global rules on systemically important groups impose extra requirements on the largest lenders, the Financial Times reported. A recent lending surge by Chinese banks in response to monetary stimulus designed to support China’s slowing economy is also adding to the banks’ capital needs, by accelerating the expansion of their balance sheets. China’s bank regulator has forcefully implemented the global Basel III rules on ban

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In a related story, the International New York Times reported on a Reuters story that India's government has asked state-run banks to rescue privately held Jet Airways without pushing it into bankruptcy, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeks to avert thousands of job losses weeks before a general election, two people within the administration told Reuters. The finance ministry has in the past year sought regular updates from the banks, led by State Bank of India (SBI), on Jet's financial health, the people said.

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