Asia

China’s battered banks are being asked to sacrifice profits to help millions of cash-squeezed companies struggling under the weight of the coronavirus outbreak, Bloomberg News reported. Now they may finally see some relief for themselves. Liu Guoqiang, a deputy governor of the People’s Bank of China, said over the weekend that policy makers are considering lowering their benchmark deposit rate for the first time in five years.

Read more

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Wednesday that banks have informed the Finance Ministry regarding the number of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) that have been restructured, approached and provided loans to, Republic World reported. The Finance Minister has also directed the banks to clear out all the pending MSMEs by March 15. This comes as FM Sitharaman informed that the Government has asked the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to extend the deadline for restructuring the debt scheme for MSME beyond March 31, 2020.

Read more

Koon Holdings on Wednesday said that creditors have approved the scheme of arrangement for its subsidiary Koon Construction & Transport (KCT), as part of the group’s debt restructuring exercise, the Business Times reported. However, Koon Holdings has yet to put its own proposed scheme to a vote, as its creditors’ meeting on Tuesday was adjourned. Before the meeting began, a major creditor had requested the adjournment because it would like to receive more information before committing its vote, Koon Holdings said in a bourse filing.

Read more

Latin American and sub-Saharan African countries have taken out at least $152 billion in oil-, mineral- and metal-backed loans from China since 2004, easy money that has contributed to crippling debt levels, an NGO report said on Thursday, Reuters reported. The Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI) calculated that, including loans from other countries such as Russia and global commodity traders, the total amounted to $164 billion. Two Chinese state banks, China Development Bank and Eximbank, alone accounted for 77% of the loans, NRGI said in its report.

Read more

After more than a decade of share price outperformance, the skies have darkened for IndusInd Bank Ltd., as the Indian lender faces challenges from worsening asset quality to a transition to new leadership, Bloomberg News reported. IndusInd has a hefty exposure to India’s troubled telecommunications sector as well as to real estate where several developers are struggling amid the country’s prolonged shadow banking crisis.

Read more

Over the past six months, executives at Hong Kong-based investment firm SC Lowy have been inundated with calls from bankers in China hoping to sell them distressed debt, the Financial Times reported. This is a first in the 11 years since the $2bn firm was established and underscores how China, after spending two decades trying to clean up bad debt by itself, is finally warming up to foreign capital.

Read more

JSW Steel Ltd.’s $2.7 billion purchase of a bankrupt steel mill is facing a fresh hurdle after a former chairman of Bhushan Power & Steel Ltd. challenged the deal in the country’s top court, Bloomberg News reported. Sanjay Singal filed a petition on Monday against a ruling by a bankruptcy tribunal that had approved the deal earlier this month, according to the Supreme Court’s website. The petition hasn’t yet been allotted a date for a hearing. A JSW spokesman declined to comment.

Read more

China’s banking regulator is considering setting up new regional bad-debt managers to help clean up risks after the failure of thousands of peer-to-peer lending platforms, according to people with knowledge of the matter, Bloomberg News reported. Companies in Shanghai, Zhejiang and Shenzhen have submitted applications to set up local asset managers dealing with bad loans, especially those from online lending platforms, said the people, asking not to be identified discussing a private matter.

Read more

Brigita, a director at one of China’s largest car dealers, is running out of options. Her firm’s 100 outlets have been closed for about a month because of the coronavirus, cash reserves are dwindling and banks are reluctant to extend deadlines on billions of yuan in debt coming due over the next few months. There are also other creditors to think about, Bloomberg News reported. “If we can’t pay back the bonds, it will be very, very bad,” said Brigita, whose company has 10,000 employees and sells mid- to high-end car brands such as BMWs.

Read more

British Steel’s Chinese bidder has written to the French government in an effort to save its stalling takeover of the collapsed UK manufacturer, the Financial Times reported. With the clock ticking down on a deadline for the deal to be completed, Chinese conglomerate Jingye has sent a letter to the French finance ministry to persuade Paris of the plan’s merits, said people with knowledge of the matter. UK officials agreed a £50m rescue deal with Jingye in November. Under the agreement, Jingye would take control of the group’s plants in Britain, France and the Netherlands.

Read more