Asia Pacific

Centro Properties Group, the owner of 794 shopping malls in the U.S., Australia and New Zealand, is continuing talks with lenders to extend more than $4.5 billion of borrowings by Dec. 15 after failing to raise new capital, Bloomberg reported. The real estate investment trust may have to go into receivership unless creditors including Commonwealth Bank of Australia Ltd. and National Australia Bank Ltd. agree to roll over loans, Melbourne-based Centro said today in a statement.
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The International Monetary Fund approved a $7.6 billion loan for Pakistan on Tuesday to prevent it from defaulting on its debt and to help stabilize its economy, The New York Times reported. The loan, under discussion for more than a month, at first met strong resistance from the Pakistani government, which sought money on more generous terms from other countries. But Pakistan’s major allies--the United States, China and Saudi Arabia--insisted that it accept the loan and the IMF conditions before they offered assistance.
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China's central bank slashed borrowing costs by the biggest margin in a decade, in a strong signal that government efforts to support the economy didn't end with the announcement of a massive stimulus plan just over two weeks ago, the Wall Street Journal reported today. The move, announced Wednesday, brings the benchmark one-year lending rate down by 1.08 percentage points to 5.58%, with the benchmark one-year deposit rate cut by the same margin to 2.52%, the People's Bank of China said in a statement.
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About 30 percent of Indian industrial metal importers have defaulted on consignments after prices slumped by more than half, the head of a trade body said on Wednesday. "Most of the importers are hit severely. Some importers who had taken bigger risks are not able to clear consignments from the ports," Surendra Mardia, president of the Bombay Metal Exchange (BME), told Reuters in an interview. The BME, with about 500 members, is the biggest association of non-ferrous metal traders in India.
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South Korea's financial watchdog said Wednesday it would set up a task force to advise troubled companies on corporate restructuring to help them ride out the credit crunch, Agence France-Presse reported today. The team of 43 experts will be formed Friday and work for one year, the Financial Services Commission said. South Korea has announced a series of steps to lessen the effect of the global slowdown, including $16 billion in loans to ease a dollar shortage for firms importing raw materials and exporting goods.
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Australian parliament opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull is pushing for tax reform and a review of bankruptcy laws for big companies to protect jobs amid the global financial crisis, condemning the government's own response as making the situation worse, The Australian reported today. Turnbull accused the prime minister of a "financial blunder of epic proportions" over the unlimited bank guarantee and warned he would not offer him a "leave pass" to drive the federal budget into deficit.
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Companies around the world are keen to redeploy labor resources and cut costs to cope with the global downturn, but those operating in China may find that laying off people there will not be as easy as previously, Forbes reported. For the ten-month period from January to October, those who lost their jobs numbered 10.2 million, topping Beijing's forecast for the entirety of 2008 by 2.0%, minister of human resources and social security Yin Weimin said at a press conference Thursday. In response, authorities are clamping down on the freedom to dismiss substantial numbers of workers.
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Failed New Zealand finance company Hanover's secured investors could be repaid little more than half their capital under a five-year moratorium proposal put forward by the company yesterday, according to two independent reports, The Dominion Post reported today. The company's expectations to repay secured investors all their principal were too optimistic and there was a risk that lower-ranked investors, facing the prospect of losing all their money, could instead try to force the company into liquidation, independent evaluation reports show.
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Japanese builder Daiwa House Industry Co. said it may bid for failed property developer Urban Corp as it seeks opportunities to buy real estate assets brought low by the financial crisis, Reuters reported yesterday. Daiwa, at the head of a consortium of companies that includes Chuo Mitsui Trust Holdings Inc., is currently in the lead to be chosen to take over Urban's assets and oversee its restructuring, a source familiar with the deal told Reuters. Urban filed for court protection from creditors on Aug 13 with 256 billion yen ($2.67 billion) in debt.
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Australia's second largest childcare group, CFK Childcare, went into receivership on Wednesday, a day after its board placed the company in voluntary administration due to a failed asset sell-off to ABC Learning Centres Ltd., The Age reported today. CFK's board appointed BDO Kendalls as voluntary administrators on Tuesday and revealed the company was losing more than $400,000 a month.
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