Asia

Concerns about China's economy intensified Friday on signs that attempts to kick-start growth aren't working and new evidence of weakness in the export sector, putting pressure on Beijing to move more aggressively, The Wall Street Journal reported. New loans by China's banks fell to 540.1 billion yuan ($85.1 billion) in July, down from 919.8 billion yuan in June, and the lowest level since September 2011, despite efforts by the central bank to make it easier to lend. Export growth also disappointed. July exports were up just 1% from a year ago, slowing from June's 11.3% pace.
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China's Drought Is in Loans

In 2009, a flood of loans saved the day for China's economy. Now, there is barely a trickle, The Wall Street Journal Heard on the Street blog reported. New loans in July slid 41% month on month to 540.1 billion yuan ($84.9 billion). One reason: a new dynamic in China's banking system from wealth-management products, which offer a higher return than bank deposits. Fitch Ratings estimates about 10.4 trillion yuan was in WMPs at the end of June, equal to 11.5% of bank-sector deposits.
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Axes Swinging In Corporate Korea

The Korean corporate sector has gone into restructuring mode to cope with the worsening global economic downturn, selling assets to secure much-needed cash, and slimming down organizations to reduce operating costs, The Korea Times reported. But if things go from bad to worse, businesses are widely expected to implement a full-scale overhaul, that would send tens of thousands of workers onto the street as seen in the wake of the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis.
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A light is shining at the end of the tunnel for Indian telecom tower company GTL Infrastructure. After a drawn-out restructuring process, GTL is close to finalizing a cashless exchange offer with holders of its US$228.3m foreign currency convertible bonds, Reuters reported on an International Financing Review story. Bondholders have approved a restructuring proposal tabled by GTL's advisers Houlihan Lokey and Avista Advisory, leaving a resolution likely before mid-September if the Reserve Bank of India approves it.
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The Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) yesterday said it would extend the government’s receivership of cash-strapped Kuo Hua Life Insurance Co for another year, allowing the receiver more time to secure a buyer, the Taipei Times reported. The move marked the fourth time the receivership has been extended, as the current one is due to expire tomorrow and the receiver — the semi-official Insurance Stabilization Fund — is in the process of arranging an auction in late October. The financial regulator has taken control of the insolvent company since Aug. 4, 2009.
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Embattled timber company Sino-Forest Corp., which is in bankruptcy protection, says it is owed half a billion dollars from companies that have been deregistered in China, thestar.com reported. Sino-Forest, which filed for bankruptcy protection under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act in March, said in a new release Tuesday that it intends “to take all steps necessary” to collect receivables owing to it. It added that it believes the deregistrations, which have the effect of terminating the existence of the entities, were improper under Chinese law.
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Shareholders in Renesas Electronics Corp. have reached a final agreement to provide around Y50 billion in loans to help the struggling Japanese chipmaker turn its business around through restructuring measures, sources familiar with the matter said Monday, Kyodo News reported. The agreement was reached by NEC Corp., Hitachi Ltd. and Mitsubishi Electric Corp. after Renesas announced earlier this month its restructuring measures featuring closing or selling eight of its 18 domestic plants and eliminating more than 5,000 jobs with early retirements.
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Some of China’s struggling auto makers, burdened by debt, may be forced into involuntary bankruptcy, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said last week, Forbes reported. The Ministry said in a note published on Tuesday that it is considering the introduction of a withdrawal mechanism to force near-bankrupt automakers out of the bloated automotive industry. China has around 1,300 automobile makers, including 171 car, truck and bus makers and more than 900 specialty vehicle manufacturers, according to the government.
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China's statisticians get a tough press. After all, it was Europe, not China, whose fudged public finance data helped usher in the latest round of global financial turmoil. The biggest corporate fraud in recent memory isn't China's Sino-Forest, but America's Enron, The Wall Street Journal Heard on the Street blog reported. But a secretive single-party state claiming rapid growth as the rest of the world hovers on the brink of recession naturally arouses suspicion. The official numbers show growth in China's gross domestic product at 7.6% year-on-year in the second quarter.
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Two Chinese private equity funds are closing in on a deal to buy the asset management arm of Dexia, highlighting the interest of Asian buyers in European financial assets as banks look to restructure in the wake of the financial crisis, the Financial Times reported. If the sale of the business for about €500m is completed, it would mark the last stage of a break-up of the twice-bailed-out Belgo-French bank, one of the biggest European victims of successive financial crises during the past four years.
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