Asia

Shares of Jet Airways (India) were locked in 5 per cent upper circuit for the seventh straight day at Rs 28.25 on the BSE on Thursday as the creditors of the shuttered airline decided to seek fresh initial bids for the airline, Business Standard reported. The stock is trading at its highest level since September 30, 2019. The Committee of Creditors (CoC) would seek fresh Expression of Interest (EoI), according to a regulatory filing on Monday.

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The former head of a regional bank rescued by Chinese authorities this year is set to spend the rest of his life behind bars after a court convicted him of corruption and other crimes on Thursday, the Financial Times reported. Jiang Xiyun, former chairman of Hengfeng Bank, was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve — a punishment usually commuted to life in prison after the reprieve — by a court in eastern Shandong province, where the troubled financial institution is based.

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Indian initial public offerings tumbled to a 4-year low by value in 2019 as the economy slowed, but some analysts are hoping for better in 2020 on the back of potential government reforms likely to boost stock markets, Reuters reported. Funds raised by Indian IPOs fell to just $2.8 billion this year, the lowest in four years, according to data from Refinitiv. In 2017, the proceeds hit a record $11.7 billion before falling to $5.5 billion in 2018. “2019 has been the worst year from an IPO market perspective,” said Sandip Khetan, a partner at consultancy EY.

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Growing problems of corporate governance are emerging at India’s private banks and all lenders are at risk of rising default rates even though asset quality has improved overall, the Reserve Bank of India said on Tuesday, Reuters reported. In its annual report on Trends and Progress of Banking in India, the central bank highlighted the possibility of defaults rising in the retail lending space after the economy slowed to 4.5% in the July-September quarter, its weakest pace since 2013.

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China’s policy makers will unveil a three-year action plan in early 2020 on the reform of state enterprises, with an aim to improve the performance of the sector and create world-class champions, according to state-owned newspapers, Bloomberg News reported. The plan will tighten how the performances of state firms, often referred to as SOEs, are evaluated, and also seek “new breakthroughs” in introducing more strategic private-sector investors, Hao Peng, head of the country’s state assets manager, was cited in the China Securities Journal as saying.

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China has a mounting debt problem. Not just over-leveraged companies, but a rapid build-up on household balance sheets that is hitting records. You can blame youth for a borrowing binge that, if left unchecked, could be China’s next credit bubble, a Bloomberg View reported. Household debt hit levels of 57% of gross domestic product in the third quarter, according to Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Matthew Phan, more than double just 27% in 2010. Fitch Ratings said in July that it was surging at a pace roughly double nominal GDP growth.

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In a related story, the Financial Times reported that corporate defaults in China surged to a record high in 2019, raising new questions over how policymakers in Beijing will manage mounting financial distress among large private and state-owned companies. Onshore corporate defaults hit Rmb130bn ($18.6bn) in the final weeks of the year, breaking the record of Rmb122bn last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, as economic growth fell to a three-decade low.

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China’s financial regulators are calling for more transparent and fair handling of defaults to restore investor confidence in the world’s second-largest bond market, after repayment failures hit a record high this year, Bloomberg News reported. Senior officials from the central bank, the securities regulatory body, the supreme court and other departments discussed court-mediated dispute resolution concerning bond defaults at a symposium in Beijing on Tuesday, according to a statement posted on the website of People’s Bank of China.

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Nemaska Lithium, a Canadian lithium producer backed by SoftBank, has filed for bankruptcy protection as it scrambles to raise emergency funding to keep its flagship project alive, the Financial Times reported. The Toronto-listed company has been struggling to finance development of Whabouchi, a lithium mine and processing facility in Quebec, amid a cost blowout and a steep fall in the price of the metal, a constituent of electric car batteries. Nemaska on Monday said it was seeking protection from its creditors to give it sufficient time to complete a refinancing.

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