Asia

Bankruptcy petitions in Hong Kong in April jumped 56 percent from a year earlier, totalling 1,490, as the territory struggled with economic recession, although that was lowest monthly total since January, government data showed on Friday, Reuters reported. March bankruptcies totalled 1,872, a six-year high, while bankruptcies in April a year ago amounted to 957. The latest data marked only the second time since August that bankruptcy petitions, which give an indication of future bankruptcies, had fallen from the previous month.
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Chinese exports fell steeply in April for the sixth month in succession, suggesting the worst might not be over for the world’s third largest economy, the Financial Times reported. The total value of Chinese exports fell 22.6 per cent to $91.9 billion last month compared with the same month a year earlier--a faster rate of decline than the 17.1 per cent year-on-year drop in March. Imports fell 23 per cent from a year earlier to $78.8 billion in what some analysts said was a sign that domestic investors remained unwilling to invest in new capacity.
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RHJ International, a European buyout firm with holdings in the auto-parts industry, has emerged as a suitor for General Motors Corp.'s European operations, a person familiar with the matter said, adding to the list of possible buyers scrambling to strike a deal with the U.S. car maker before the end of the month, The Wall Street Journal reported. Brussels-based RHJ is considering an offer for GM operations including Adam Opel GmbH in Germany, this person said.
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Bank of America Corp., seeking to bolster its financial standing in the face of new government requirements, raised $7.3 billion from Asian investors Tuesday through the sale of a roughly 5.7% stake in China Construction Bank Corp., according to people familiar with the matter, The Wall Street Journal reported. For the U.S. lender, the move marks a significant step to raising $34 billion in capital needed to meet the requirements of a new U.S. government stress test for lenders.
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Chrysler LLC's global operations, including those in China, won't be affected by the company's bankruptcy proceedings in the U.S., the auto maker said in a statement Monday, Dow Jones Newswires reported. "Chrysler's international businesses, including the Asia-Pacific region and China, are not included in the scope of the bankruptcy protection petition," the company said in a letter to customers published in the Economic Observer. "Daily operations won't be impacted." Chrysler will continue to pay suppliers here and honor service warranties, the statement said.
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Australian political opposition to a proposed US$19.5 billion investment by Aluminum Corp. of China Ltd. in Anglo-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto Ltd. was raised to a new level Saturday as two prominent members of the upper legislative house launched a joint advertising campaign calling for the ruling Labor government to block the deal, The Wall Street Journal reported. The move will have little influence on whether the proposed tie-up gets approval from the Australian government, because that decision lies solely with Treasurer Wayne Swan.
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OZ Minerals has recommended its shareholders vote in favour of its deal with China Minmetals to save it from administration, The Australian reported. Releasing documents today that outline the $US1.2 billion ($1.6 billion) asset sale, OZ chairman Barry Cusack said if the transaction were not approved, OZ Minerals might not be successful in refinancing its debt, which could potentially lead to it being unable to continue operating as a going concern and being placed into voluntary administration or receivership.
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The International Monetary Fund said most Asian economies are facing a weak recovery next year from a sharp contraction this year and should boost spending to help offset struggling global export demand, The Associated Press reported. Asia's collective economic growth will likely slow to 1.3 percent this year from 5.1 percent last year, before expanding 4.3 percent in 2010, the IMF said in a report. Excluding China and India, Asian economies will contract 2.9 percent this year and grow 1.6 percent next year, the fund predicted.
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Diluting Chinese savings to bail out America’s failing banks and bankrupt households, though highly beneficial to the US national interest in the short term, will destroy the dollar’s global status, the Financial Times reported. America’s policy is pushing China towards developing an alternative financial system. For the past two decades China’s entry into the global economy rested on making cheap labour available to multi-nationals and pegging the renminbi to the dollar.
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American International Group Inc. is close to selling its Japanese headquarters for about $1 billion, in a deal that would mark one of the largest divestitures the insurance company has made to pay off its government debt, people familiar with the matter said. At least two suitors have been vying for the property, but the expected buyer is a Japanese insurance company, The Wall Street Journal reported. AIG owes the U.S. government about $45 billion as part of a rescue package that could total as much as $173.3 billion.
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