Asia

Sri Lanka’s risk premium for a default jumped, reflecting concern that the pandemic is damaging the nation’s ability to fill its foreign-exchange coffers ahead of at least $2.5 billion in dollar debt due in the next 12 months, Bloomberg News reported. The nation’s five-year credit default swaps rose to 1,553 basis points on Monday, the highest since March 1. A separate gauge of one-year default probability was at 27.9%, the steepest in Asia, up from around 13% over six months ago, according to a Bloomberg model where a reading above 1.5% signifies high risk of failure to pay.
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Suppliers to Walmart, Target, Amazon.com and other major retailers told Reuters they are placing holiday orders for Chinese-made merchandise weeks earlier this year, as a global shipping backlog threatens to leave many gift buyers empty-handed this Christmas shopping season. Reuters surveyed nearly a dozen suppliers and retailers of everything from toys to computer equipment in the United States and Europe.
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Moody’s Investors Service downgraded China Evergrande Group’s credit rating by one notch to B2, the second downgrade by a global ratings agency in less than two weeks, Bloomberg News reported. Concern has been building over the troubled Shenzhen-based developer, which on Wednesday tried to reassure investors about its financial health, saying it has reduced its net debt-to-equity ratio to below 100%, as required by Chinese regulators. Evergrande has also said it pared total borrowings to about 570 billion yuan ($88 billion) from 717 billion yuan in December.
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A consortium led by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and the Jiangsu provincial government are nearing a deal to buy a stake in the retail arm of Chinese billionaire Zhang Jindong’s Suning empire, according to people familiar with the matter, the latest domino to fall in Beijing’s effort to clean up its heavily indebted conglomerates, Bloomberg News reported. The unit, Suning.com Co., could make an announcement as soon as this week.
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Devas Multimedia Pvt., a company seeking over $1.2 billion it won in international arbitration from India, has joined Cairn Energy Plc in seeking to seize Air India Ltd.’s assets abroad, Bloomberg News reported. Calling the flagship airline an “alter ego” of the Indian state and therefore liable for the sovereign’s debts, Devas filed a petition in New York asking Air India to pay the amount or forfeit its U.S. property including planes, cargo handling equipment and artwork.
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Go Airlines India Ltd.’s plans to raise 36 billion rupees ($485 million) via an initial public offering have been put on hold by India’s market regulator, dealing another blow to the debt-laden carrier whose business has been decimated by the coronavirus pandemic, Bloomberg News reported. Go Airlines’ share sale documents will be “kept in abeyance,” the Securities and Exchange Board of India said in a filing late Monday, without specifying the reason why.
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South Asia’s reliance on state-led development is concealing vulnerabilities to growing levels of unsustainable debt that could lead to financial crises, the World Bank warned, Bloomberg News reported. Governments in the region, including India and Pakistan, are exposed to the risk of “hidden debt” via funding guarantees by state-owned banks and enterprises, as well as public-private partnerships, the World Bank said in a report Tuesday, which also included policy reforms to help alleviate the risks.
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The Mumbai chapter of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) ordered the liquidation of Nakshatra World, a subsidiary of Gitanjali Gems, one of the group companies promoted by fugitive businessman Mehul Choksi, the Economic Times of India reported. The ruling came on an insolvency petition ICICI Bank filed around two years ago against the company, which was also allegedly involved in a money laundering case reported at the Punjab National Bank. The court appointed Santanu Ray, a partner from Delhi-based AAA Insolvency Professionals LLP as the liquidator.
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Shen Tiedong has been named as chairman of Huachen Group, parent of BMW’s China partner Brilliance Auto, according to a Brilliance Auto wechat post on Monday, Reuters reported. Huachen is standing on the brink of bankruptcy, defaulting on billions of yuan in debt obligations. Chinese regulators have launched an investigation into possible violations of disclosure laws by the company. Brilliance makes vehicles with BMW in the northeastern Chinese city of Shenyang. It also has a joint venture with Renault SA. Yan Bingzhe, Huachen’s former chairman, will step down, the post said.
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Vietnam's growing dominance as a furniture exporter is at risk as trade authorities in the U.S., its biggest market, probe the country's timber industry and its ties to illegal logging abroad, Nikkei Asia reported. The sector has boomed in recent years, thanks in part to former U.S. President Donald Trump's trade war with China, which saw tariffs as high as 25% slapped on Chinese furniture exports. Vietnam, in fact, overtook China last year in furniture exports to the U.S., shipping $7.4 billion worth of the goods, compared with China's $7.3 billion, reported Vietnam News Agency.
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