Asia

South Korean auditors are refusing to sign off on more and more corporate financial statements due to tighter regulations, giving investors earlier warning signs of trouble ahead, Bloomberg News reported. Auditors declined to give the green light on 37 financial statements by listed companies for 2018, about a 68 percent increase from a year earlier, according to the Financial Services Commission. The jump in rejections comes as South Korea takes more steps to ensure that auditors have independence from companies that hire them, while increasing penalties in case of fraudulent accounting.

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Embattled Jet Airways halted all flight operations indefinitely on Wednesday after its lenders rejected its plea for emergency funds, potentially bringing the curtains down on what was once India’s largest private airline, Reuters reported. The carrier, saddled with roughly $1.2 billion of bank debt, has been teetering for weeks after failing to receive a stop-gap loan of about $217 million from its lenders, as part of a rescue deal agreed in late March.

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The Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) on Tuesday invited comments from stakeholders on “pre-packaged” insolvency resolution and insolvency resolution for group companies among other issues related to the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), 2016, and the Insolvency and Bankruptcy (Application to Adjudicating Authority) Rules, 2016, the Indian Express reported. In March this year, the government had reconstituted the Insolvency Law Committee as a standing committee, chaired by MCA Secretary Injeti Srinivas, to analyse the functioning and implementation of IBC.

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Singapore authorities said on Tuesday they are reviewing debt-laden water treatment company Hyflux’s accounting and auditing standards to see if the firm has breached any laws, Reuters reported. Hyflux is currently under a court-supervised restructuring process and its recently called-off rescue by an Indonesian investor has thrown the future of the debt-laden company further into doubt.

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China’s growth will likely slow to 6.2 percent this year and 6 percent in 2020, as more of the economy shifts toward consumption and services, according to a biennial report by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, Bloomberg News reported. OECD estimated 2019 expansion would be 6.3 percent in an outlook published last year. China faces risks "tilted to the downside," including large-scale corporate defaults, a collapse of housing prices and rising geopolitical tensions, the OECD wrote in its economic survey on China published Tuesday.

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So, the Chinese economy does have a pulse after all. Credit extension by banks and bond issuance by local governments are supporting some kind of revival in infrastructure investment, and a 30 per cent rise in the Chinese equity market since the start of this year is helping to lift the intensely pessimistic mood that paralysed Chinese spending in the latter part of 2018, the Financial Times reported. The stimulus policies that China started to introduce last summer, and intensified more recently, now seem to be reviving the patient.

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Turkey’s reform package laid out last week won’t be enough to restore Turkish households’ and foreign investors’ confidence in the lira, one of S&P Global’s top sovereign analysts said on Monday, Reuters reported. Turkey pledged last week to inject almost $5 billion into its state-owned banks to help them cope with an expected rise in defaults following the country’s slump into recession, but the plan has been criticised for being light on detail.

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The top shareholder of South Korea’s second-largest carrier, Asiana Airlines, said on Monday it would sell its entire stake in the debt-ridden firm to keep it afloat, sending shares of the carrier and its budget arm 30 percent higher, Reuters reported. The move caps weeks of financial uncertainty involving the carrier which started last month when it failed to win auditors’ sign-off on its 2018 financial statements, triggering warnings of credit ratings downgrades and the resignation of the parent group’s chairman.

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CWT International Ltd., controlled by HNA Group Co., failed to pay interest on a HK$1.4 billion ($179 million) facility, prompting lenders to demand immediate repayment of the loan, the company said Tuesday, Bloomberg News reported. The Hong Kong-listed company will have to make good on the payment by 9 a.m. April 17 to prevent lenders from taking action, it said in a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange.

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Cyprus is weighing an early repayment for part of a 2.5 billion-euro ($2.8 billion) Russian loan that dates back to the low point of the financial crisis, two government officials said, after yields on the country’s 10-year debt hit a record low last week, Bloomberg News reported. While the government is seriously considering early repayment, no final decision has been made yet, said one of the officials, who asked not to be named citing the ongoing decision-making process.

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