Asia

Crypto Shock as China Imposes Ban

China sent shock waves through global markets on Friday after its central bank issued a shock statement that said all cryptocurrency-related transactions are illegal and must be banned, Sharecafe reported. It was the strongest signal from the country of its determination to crack down on the industry, even though it is working on its own cryptocurrency. The surprise announcement and the way it was slipped out on Friday on the PBOC website, with no minister’s name attached, also raised eyebrows.

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India is planning new measures to clarify a landmark corporate bankruptcy law that was meant to bring the nation's largest corporate borrowers to heel, amid complaints it has become a “mockery of justice,” Nikkei Asia reported. The law giving more power to creditors was one of the Modi government’s signature reforms, but five years after it went into effect, banks are still taking big losses in bankruptcies, and the debt-resolution process has been plagued by delays and legal uncertainty.

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The bankruptcy of Chinese real estate company Evergrande is much more than a “Chinese Lehman,” according to an OpEd in Eurasia Review. Lehman Brothers was much more diversified than Evergrande and better capitalized. In fact, the total assets of Evergrande that are on the brink of bankruptcy outnumber the entire subprime bubble of the U.S. The problem with Evergrande is that it is not an anecdote, but a symptom of a model based on leveraged growth and seeking to inflate GDP at any cost with ghost cities, unused infrastructure and wild construction, according to the OpEd.

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China’s HNA Group, which declared bankruptcy earlier this year after struggling to pay off debts that once totalled over $100 billion, has added a new chapter to its restructuring as two of its top officials have been taken away by police, mingtiandi.com reported. Chairman Chen Feng, who founded Hainan Airlines in 1989 and grew it into the sprawling conglomerate known as HNA, was detained for suspected crimes, along with chief executive Adam Tan, HNA said in a statement to its official WeChat account late Friday.

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The possible collapse of property giant China Evergrande shook markets around the world earlier this week, but on Thursday, amid uncertainty over whether it met a critical payment deadline to its lenders, the market rallied, the New York Times reported. Evergrande’s Hong Kong listed shares, which have been on a firm downward trajectory, soared by a head-scratching 18 percent. Hong Kong’s broader Hang Seng Index rallied 1.2 percent.

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With businessman B.R. Shetty’s group having gone financially bankrupt, the State government on Thursday informed the Legislative Assembly that many dialysis centres in government hospitals across the State have become dysfunctional and efforts will be made to restore them in a month, The Hindu reported. In a reply to D.S. Suresh (BJP), Minister for Health and Family Welfare, K. Sudhakar said the previous government had outsourced services to B.R.

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Debt-stricken mobile carrier Vodafone Idea is looking at funding deals with potential investors after receiving a relief package from the Indian government, Capacity Media reported. The telecoms operator has a net debt of US$25.86 billion (1.91 trillion rupees), including government dues of 1.68 trillion rupees. The chairman of the company, Kumar Mangalam Birla, had previously offered to transfer the group’s entire shareholding to the government to help stave off collapse. Last week, the Indian government approved a relief package for the country's struggling telecoms sector.

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The bitcoin exchange rate has fallen to its lowest level since early August; following a moderately bullish weekend, the market took a sharp turn downward, Blockchain News reported. The digital currency is responding to the impending bankruptcy of Chinese real estate giant Evergrande and seems to be following regular stock exchanges around the world. The crash wiped out more than $200 billion from the crypto market and has not only affected bitcoin, but all other cryptocurrencies, which seem to be on a downward trend with no real sign of recovery just yet.

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Growth paths in developing Asia continue to diverge, as some nations struggle with waves of infections while those that quickly rolled out vaccines and contained outbreaks gain from stronger global demand, according to the Asian Development Bank, Bloomberg reported. The region’s gross domestic product will expand 7.1% this year, down from 7.3% forecast in April and a turnaround from last year’s 0.1% contraction, the ADB said in its Asian Development Outlook Update. It sees developing Asia’s growth moderating to 5.4% in 2022.

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Japan's financial watchdog said it requested Mizuho Financial Group Inc. and its banking arm Mizuho Bank to submit a work plan for system maintenance after a series of system failures this year, in a rare move to effectively oversee the system of a major bank, Kyodo News reported. The Financial Services Agency made the request as part of its business improvement order issued amid lingering concerns over the security of the financial group's system after it experienced seven failures this year.

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