Asia Pacific

China Evergrande Group said on Monday its unit has entered into a deal to sell a piece of commercial land in Shenzhen for 7.54 billion yuan ($1.05 billion), as the embattled property developer looks to shave off its massive debt, Reuters reported. Evergrande, which has about $300 billion in liabilities, has been at the centre of a deepening property debt crisis in China that has seen multiple developers defaulting on their offshore debt obligations over the past year, prompting many to consider debt restructuring.
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Protests are erupting in major cities in China over President Xi Jinping’s zero-tolerance approach to Covid-19, an unusual show of defiance in the country as the economic and social costs from snap lockdowns and other strict restrictions escalate, the Wall Street Journal reported. Demonstrations occurred throughout the weekend in both Beijing and Shanghai. According to eyewitness accounts, there were also protests in the eastern city of Nanjing and in Wuhan, the original epicenter of the pandemic.
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User assets at the Japanese arm of FTX Trading have stayed safely apart from the rest of the collapsing cryptocurrency exchange group, and "we're working toward returning them as our top priority," FTX Japan Chief Operations Officer Seth Melamed told Nikkei on Tuesday. Withdrawals at FTX Japan remain halted amid the turmoil engulfing Bahamas-based parent FTX Trading, which is undergoing Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings in the U.S. The Japanese company has roughly 19 billion yen ($134 million) in user assets, including dormant accounts.
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South Korea should avoid following Japan’s lead of using fiscal and monetary stimulus to combat the challenges of an aging economy, central bank Governor Rhee Chang-yong said, urging reforms instead to boost fertility, Bloomberg News reported. Aging is a rising concern in the developed world and Korea is among the hardest-hit together with Japan. South Korea shattered its own record for the world’s lowest fertility rate last year, adding to long-term pressure on policy makers to keep interest rates low and fiscal stimulus ample to boost growth.
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New Zealand's central bank on Wednesday hiked interest rates by a record amount and warned the economy might have to spend an entire year in recession to bring sky-high inflation under control. The Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) raised the official cash rate (OCR) by 75 basis points to 4.25% and crucially now sees rates peaking at 5.5%, compared with a previous forecast of 4.1%. The central bank's overtly hawkish tone caught some traders off-guard, lifting the local dollar and sending swap rates higher, while its predictions of a recession also surprised.
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Australian retail sales declined for the first time this year in October, suggesting that households are finally beginning to feel the strain of faster inflation and rising interest rates, Bloomberg News reported. Sales dropped 0.2% from September, confounding economists’ estimates for a 0.5% gain, Australian Bureau of Statistics data showed Monday. No one predicted a decline, with Commonwealth Bank of Australia coming closest, forecasting no change.
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Cuba Wins China Debt Relief, New Funds

China has agreed to restructure Cuban debt and provide new trade and investment credits to the beleaguered Caribbean Island nation after a meeting in Peking between the two Communist countries’ leaders, Reuters reported. Cuba Economy Minister Alejandro Gil said the latter had also donated $100 million to help the country cope with basic goods shortages and an energy crisis worsened by Hurricane Ian, which decimated western Pinar del Rio province in late September.
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Korean consumers were misled by some of the nation’s biggest financial firms and should get back the money they lost when a German property fund collapsed, South Korea’s financial watchdog recommended Tuesday, Bloomberg News reported. The six firms -- Shinhan Securities Co., NH Investment & Securities Co., Hana Bank, Woori Bank, Hyundai Motor Securities Co. and SK Securities Co. -- should repay the 430 billion won ($317 million) clients lost, a panel at Financial Supervisory Service said.
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Chinese consumer spending is buckling under the country’s dual campaigns against rising property prices and Covid-19 outbreaks, flashing a warning for global companies that have pinned their hopes on a more free-spending Chinese customer, the Wall Street Journal reported. Retail sales unexpectedly dropped last month and are expected to continue to struggle as Chinese authorities launch wide-ranging lockdowns to contain the latest fastest-spreading Covid outbreaks, and as easing measures do little to reverse a worsening property market meltdown.
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The rejection of grinding factory work by Chinese in their 20s and 30s is contributing to a deepening labour shortage that is frustrating manufacturers in China, which produces a third of the goods consumed globally, Reuters reported. Factory bosses say they would produce more, and faster, with younger blood replacing their ageing workforce. But offering the higher wages and better working conditions that younger Chinese want would risk eroding their competitive advantage.
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