Asia

Alliance Bank, the second-largest Kazakh lender to default last year, said it completed restructuring 677 billion tenge ($4.6 billion) of debt, BusinessWeek reported on a Bloomberg story. Under a plan accepted by creditors in December, all of Alliance’s obligations were “restructured and annulled in exchange for money, new bonds and shares,” the lender said in an e-mailed statement today. The bank plans to start borrowing from abroad next year after markets open for Kazakh lenders, Chief Executive Officer Maksat Kabashev told reporters in Almaty.
Read more
A senior Chinese central bank official criticized the handling of the Greek debt crisis, highlighting global concern about the situation in Europe, The Wall Street Journal reported. Speaking at a conference in Hong Kong, Zhu Min, deputy governor of the People's Bank of China, also said China "should and could" import more goods to keep its trade surplus small. And he noted that the central bank's efforts to tighten monetary policy were having their intended effect, even without China having to raise interest rates.
Read more
Debt-ridden Japan Airlines Corp said it will suspend its scheduled freighter flight services by the end of October and would instead use the cargo belly space of passenger flights, Reuters reported. The airline's passenger flights provide cargo capacity of about three times the volume available on its scheduled freighter flights, the company said in a press release posted on its website.
Read more
A senior Chinese trade official warned that any further appreciation of the Chinese currency risked driving exporters out of business, underscoring the domestic political pressures on Beijing amid growing international calls for China to let the yuan rise, The Wall Street Journal reported. Vice Commerce Minister Zhong Shan, in an exclusive interview Thursday ahead of a visit to the U.S., said that the profit margin on many Chinese export goods was less than 2%.
Read more
UAE banks are likely to keep a tight lid on lending in coming years, even if the sector manages to avoid an immediate hit from the Dubai World debt restructuring, analysts say. The state-owned conglomerate, which is grappling with $26 billion in debt, is in the final stages of preparing a debt restructuring plan to put to its 97 creditors. Analysts have voiced concerns that domestic lending would dry up if banks are forced to take big losses on Dubai World-related debt.
Read more
STX Group, one of the nation's leading shipbuilders, has joined the competition to take over Daehan Shipbuilding, The Korea Times reported. The company said Wednesday it had submitted a bid to buy the cash-strapped firm the previous day, the closing day for the tender. Daehan Shipbuilding, now under a debt rescheduling program, has a 140,000 square-meter dock in Haenam, South Jeolla Province.
Read more
A string of villages on the outskirts of Beijing has become the unlikely focus of a national discussion about China's stubbornly tough job market for young people, as officials meet in the capital for the annual session of China's legislature, The Wall Street Journal reported. Government statistics show 87% of college graduates found work last year. But many graduates doubt those figures, and they say that jobs that are available often pay a barely livable wage.
Read more
Chinese real estate prices accelerated last month, rising by their fastest pace in two years despite government efforts to cool the market amid fears of a looming property bubble, the Financial Times reported. Prices of commercial and residential property in China’s 70 largest cities rose by 10.7 per cent in February from the same period a year earlier, a marked increase from the 9.5 per cent year-on-year gain in January, according to China’s statistics bureau.
Read more
Signs mounted Monday of Chinese authorities' concern about the risk from debt incurred by local governments in projects to help China's economy recover—an issue that is a hot topic at the National People's Congress, now meeting in Beijing, The Wall Street Journal reported. China's leaders have increased scrutiny of this debt over the past months, fearing that local governments won't be able to pay back all their loans. The issue was also highlighted in the Ministry of Finance's budget report released at the start of the annual legislative session on Friday.
Read more
Cing, developer of well-known video game titles including Little King’s Story, Another Code (Trace Memory), Monster Rancher, and Hotel Dusk, has filed for bankruptcy due to mounting debts it could not pay, Geek.com reported. The small Japanese developer only had around 30 staff, but managed to produce a number of memorable games on Nintendo’s platforms. Its debts were relatively small, standing at just $2.9 million, but clearly that was too much for such a small company to handle, and now it looks as though it will be forced to close.
Read more