Asia

An investment group owned by Turkey’s military pension fund is in last-minute talks about a takeover of British Steel, offering hopes of a deal that could save thousands of jobs, the Financial Times reported. Ataer Holding, a wholly owned vehicle of state military retirement scheme Oyak that is also the largest shareholder in Turkish steel group Erdemir, is negotiating with the UK government about acquiring the collapsed steelmaker, according to two people familiar with the matter.

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India’s central bank took steps to alleviate a credit crunch at shadow banks and relaxed rules for lending to consumers as part of measures to boost the slowing economy, Bloomberg News reported. The Reserve Bank of India, which also cut benchmark interest rates to the lowest since 2010 on Wednesday, increased the exposure limit for banks to a single non-banking finance company to 20% of Tier 1 capital from 15% before. It also reduced the risk weight on consumer credit excluding card receivables to 100% from about 125%.

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Beijing’s decision to let the renminbi fall below the symbolic level of 7 to the dollar was a political choice — but it would not be in China’s economic interests to “weaponise” its currency, economists say, the Financial Times reported. Monday’s move to increase the renminbi’s trading band came as a retaliation against the latest US threat of fresh tariffs. And although China’s central bank took steps to stabilise the currency on Tuesday, investors worry that the authorities could seek to put pressure on Washington by allowing a bigger devaluation.

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India’s debt-laden shadow bank Dewan Housing Finance Corporation Ltd (DHFL) on Tuesday said its creditors would not have to take any haircuts on principal payments under its resolution plan, sending shares up as much as 10%, Reuters reported. As part of the resolution plan, DHFL will also put a moratorium on repayments and seek funding from banks to start retail lending, the company said here after a meeting of the special committee for resolution plan.

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Japanese Banks Are Circling the Drain

Banking in a country where almost nobody defaults sounds easy. For Japan’s lenders, it is anything but. After almost three decades of near-zero, zero, and now negative interest-rate policies, Tokyo has pushed its banking system to its limit, The Wall Street Journal reported. The country’s smaller lenders in particular are facing an existential threat to their business models. Located in aging and shrinking prefectures, they lack the ability to increase fee-related incomes that major banks can raise. Japan has too many banks, and consolidating them into larger players will buy time.

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Skyrocketing micro-finance debt in Cambodia has left millions of people at risk of losing their homes, leading to fears of a potential political and economic crisis, Bloomberg News reported. With a median of $3,370 per loan, Cambodia now has the highest average for small loans in the world, according to a report from the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights and Samakum Teang Tnaut on Wednesday. Altogether, nearly 15% of the population held at least $8 billion in micro loan debt at the start of the year, the data show.

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Despite numerous tweaks to the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), the government is worried over the low number of resolutions as well as delays during the admission stage itself, The New Indian Express reported. Officials pointed out that out of 1,292 ongoing resolution processes, 445 cases have passed 270 days since admission, while another 221 cases have crossed 180 days. In fact, most of the cases have been lingering on, despite near-resolution in some cases. Take the case of Essar Steel and Bhushan Power & Steel.

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Deloitte has resigned as auditor of an embattled non-bank lender in India, marking the latest in a series of resignations that come as New Delhi is putting the Big Four auditor firms under scrutiny, the Financial Times reported. In a statement posted to the Bombay Stock Exchange on Tuesday, Dewan Housing Finance Corporation Limited said Deloitte had stepped down “with immediate effect” after raising concerns about intercorporate deposits and lack of transparency. Deloitte confirmed that it had resigned the DHFL contract but would not comment further.

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Pessimism among global businesses has risen sharply in the third quarter of the year as US-China trade tensions, the slowing Eurozone economy, and the rising chances of a no-deal Brexit spook firms, City A.M. reported. The quarterly global risk survey from Oxford Economics, released today, showed that 19 per cent of companies think a deterioration in the global economy is highly likely, compared to seven per cent in the second quarter.

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Bondholders of troubled shadow lender Dewan Housing Finance Ltd (DHFL) have been given a three-week deadline to decide if they are on board with a rescue plan being evaluated by banks, according to a letter sent by a custodian of DHFL bonds, seen by Reuters. The banks have signed an inter-creditor agreement (ICA) to come up with a plan to restructure nearly 1 trillion rupees ($14 billion) of DHFL’s debt, Reuters reported. Now, the bondholders have to communicate by letter by Aug. 26 if they are willing to be part of the ICA.

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