Asia

Things that keep China’s top leaders up at night: a stalling economy, a bruising trade war and, increasingly, pigs. Specifically, a shortage of pigs, which is fast becoming a national crisis, the International New York Times reported. The price of pork has been rising for months, and it is now nearly 50 percent higher than it was a year ago, data published on Tuesday showed. Consumers are frustrated, and officials are quietly expressing alarm as they fight the outbreak of a disease that is devastating the country’s pig population and causing the shortage.

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Car sales in India tumbled more than 40 per cent in August as the worst industry slowdown in recent memory deepened, intensifying concern that months of steep declines could spark a full-blown crisis, the Financial Times reported. Passenger car sales for the month came in at 115,000, down 41 per cent from a year earlier, according to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers. That marked the fifth month of double-digit losses, the sizes of which have beaten anything recorded since the turn of the millennium.

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The Turkish Aeronautical Association (THK) said on Friday that its bank debt amounting to 1.4 billion lira ($245.36 million) is being restructured upon instructions from President Tayyip Erdogan, Reuters reported. THK Chairman Bertan Nogaylaroglu said on the association’s website that its debt owed to state lender Vakifbank was restructured on Friday and the rest of the 1.4 billion lira debt would be restructured within a week.

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A prolonged shadow-banking crisis and hurdles in bankruptcy rules are set to keep India atop the world’s worst bad-debt pile, even as Italy, which held the title previously, quickens the clean-up of its lenders, Bloomberg News reported. Moody’s Investors Service to Credit Suisse Group AG. warned that more loans may sour in the Asian nation’s banking system. More than 2.4% of total loans in India’s banking system may be under stress on top of the 9.6% bad debt ratio as of June, the highest among major economies, Credit Suisse estimates shows.

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Fitch Ratings has lowered its rating on Hong Kong, citing uncertainty about the stability of the business environment following months of protests and looming challenges stemming from the city’s closer integration with mainland China, the Financial Times reported. The rating agency is the first to downgrade Hong Kong's long-term foreign-currency issuer default rating since the start of violent clashes between protesters and police, lowering its ranking of the Asian financial hub from double A plus to double A with a negative outlook, signalling the potential for further falls.

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An Indian court on Thursday cleared JSW Steel Ltd’s takeover plan for debt-ridden Bhushan Power and Steel, bringing an end to a bankruptcy case that has dragged on over two years, Reuters reported. The move paves the way for JSW Steel, which has the biggest steel capacity in India, to take control of a steel asset in the east of the country where rival Tata Steel Ltd and Steel Authority of India Ltd have long dominated. The National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) in New Delhi said it approved the debt resolution plan of JSW Steel, according to a copy of the judgment.

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Accountancy firm Deloitte & Touche said on Thursday it has been appointed by Singapore’s high court to act as interim judicial manager for marine fuel supplier Inter-Pacific Group Pte (IPG) in an application for a court-led debt restructuring process, Reuters reported. The appointment, following a nomination by IPG, comes more than two months after IPG unit Inter-Pacific Petroleum Pte (IPP) had a licence to operate bunker fuel tankers suspended by Singapore’s Maritime Port Authority (MPA). The MPA detected operational irregularities during an inspection.

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Peugeot automaker PSA Group and its Chinese partner Dongfeng Group have hammered out a plan to restructure their joint venture operations, slashing costs in the short term and aiming to boost annual sales to 400,000 vehicles by 2025, PSA said on Thursday, Reuters reported. Dongfeng Peugeot Citroen Automobiles (DPCA), the joint venture based in Wuhan, central China, plans to reduce the break-even point to below 180,000 vehicles in 2019 and further reduce to below 150,000 vehicles between 2020 and 2021, according to a post on PSA’s social media account in China.

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More Chinese companies are defaulting on private bonds this year as the slowing economy weighs on weaker companies and firms seek to repay publicly traded debt first, Bloomberg News reported. The nation’s issuers have missed repayments on a record 31.8 billion yuan ($4.4 billion) of private bonds this year through August, compared with 26.7 billion yuan for all of 2017 and 2018 combined, according to data by China Chengxin International Credit Rating Co., one of China’s biggest rating firms.

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Reliance Naval & Engineering Ltd., controlled by Indian tycoon Anil Ambani, said it is facing an acute cash-flow crunch after orders dried up amid efforts to restructure a pile of debt, Bloomberg News reported. The disclosure in the company’s annual report came just before a court pushed hearing on whether to put the debt-laden company under insolvency proceedings to Oct. 3, people familiar with the matter said, asking not to be named as they are not authorized to speak to media. His wireless carrier slipped into bankruptcy earlier this year.

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