Asia

Think of major threats to South Korea, and its nuclear-armed neighbor North Korea may come to mind. But a subtler risk to South Korea’s future well-being lies within its borders: a shrinking and rapidly aging population, the New York Times reported. The concern was underscored this weekend with the release of census data that showed South Korea’s population fell in 2020 for the first time on record. A declining number of newborns was exceeded by a growing number of deaths, according to census data reported Sunday by Yonhap, the South Korean news agency.

Read more
Indian auto manufacturer Mahindra & Mahindra announced that it is in discussions with potential investors to sell its majority stake in its South Korean subsidiary SsangYong, Business Today reported. Mahindra expects to sign a non-binding agreement to this end by next week, and close the deal by February end. The Indian auto company wants the prospective investor to take over the operations of SsanYong, which had filed for bankruptcy. "We are in discussion with a potential investor for majority stake in SsangYong.
Read more

Around a dozen large borrowers have applied for the RBI’s loan restructuring scheme for those affected by COVID stress. The deadline for corporates and invididuals to make an application under the RBI's resolution framework for COVID-related stress ended on December 31. For small businesses, there is a separate restructuring scheme that will be valid until March 2021. The Future Group, Shaporrji Pallonji Group and SpiceJet are among those who will apply for loan restructuring.

Read more

The New York Stock Exchange said it would delist China’s three big state-run telecommunications companies following an executive order from the Trump administration, in a symbolic severing of longstanding ties between the Chinese business world and Wall Street, the New York Times reported. The exchange said in a statement on Thursday that it would halt trading in shares of China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom by Jan. 11.

Read more

The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India has adapted itself to the new environment in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and will strive to provide a "malleable regulatory framework" within the confines of the insolvency law, according to its Chairperson MS Sahoo, BloombergQuint reported. A key institution in implementing the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, the IBBI has moved to the electronic mode for most of its engagements with stakeholders and has recalibrated important regulations amid the pandemic.

Read more

China’s central bank has pumped enough cash into the banking system to convince government bond investors that the worst is finally over, Bloomberg News reported. Over the past month, the People’s Bank of China has had to work especially hard to rein in borrowing costs after a surge in credit defaults damped commercial lenders’ enthusiasm to make loans. The central bank injected a net $84 billion in one-year funding and $20 billion of short-term cash into the financial system in the final five weeks of 2020 alone.

Read more

China has fined operators of three major e-commerce platforms, including Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and JD.com Inc., $76,600 each for mispricing products, the latest in the barrage of regulatory actions targeting the increasingly influential internet sector, the Wall Street Journal reported. China’s top market regulator, the State Administration for Market Regulation, said yesterday that it investigated the three platforms—Alibaba’s Tmall Supermarket, JD.com and Vipshop Holdings Ltd. —after receiving complaints from consumers.

Read more
China has turned around more than 2,000 loss-making “zombie” and heavily indebted companies in its campaign against poorly performing enterprises, the deputy head of the country’s state assets regulator said yesterday. China in 2016 set a goal of eliminating thousands of unprofitable zombie firms - those that have survived on bank loans and local government backing - by 2020.
Read more
The Philippine Treasurer Rosalia de Leon said that the government is seeking a new 540 billion-peso ($11.2 billion) loan from the central bank to aid in pandemic relief measures, Bloomberg News reported. The request for a new loan was transmitted to the central bank after the government repaid its previous debt of the same amount due on Tuesday, de Leon said. This is the third time that the government has requested support from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. The monetary authority extended advances of 300 billion pesos in March and 540 billion pesos in October.
Read more

India is set to swing from being a cautious spender in 2020 to opening the fiscal floodgates as Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeks to pull Asia’s third-biggest economy back from the worst of the pandemic, Bloomberg News reported. Curbs imposed by the finance ministry on more than 80 government departments and ministries earlier in the year to preserve cash were relaxed this quarter. In addition, this year’s budget will be increased from its current 30 trillion rupees ($407 billion) when new spending plans are announced Feb.

Read more