Headlines

South Africa’s government has had to bring forward the bailout of state power firm Eskom, after it rushed 5 billion rand ($355 million) to the struggling utility earlier this month to avert a default and said more cash could be needed soon, Reuters reported. Eskom supplies more than 90 percent of electricity in Africa’s most advanced economy but is grappling with cashflow problems and a debt mountain which it is struggling to service.

Read more

Turkey’s Treasury will issue 5-year debt instruments worth a total of 3.7 billion euros to strengthen the capital of state banks, it said on Monday. Last week, Turkish state-owned lenders Ziraat Bank and Vakifbank said they had completed pricing of perpetual bonds, which will be used to strengthen capital, while Kalkinma Bank and Eximbank authorised headquarters to seek loans to boost their capital, Reuters reported. After last year’s currency crisis - in which the lira shed around 30 percent of its value against the U.S.

Read more

Economists in Milan and London are debating whether Italy is carrying so much debt that it might collapse into a Greek-style financial crisis, Business Insider reported. Their fear is that because Italy is so much bigger than Greece — and because Italy is one of the Big Three economies underpinning the eurozone — that the scale of such a crisis might be more difficult to contain this time around.

Read more

Maria Esther Roa was fuming. A powerful lawmaker had, once again, escaped punishment for his misdeeds. But standing outside of Congress in Paraguay’s capital, Asunción, in early August of last year, Ms. Roa hatched an unconventional plan to bring some measure of accountability to the powerful. It involved pots, pans, dozens of eggs and lots of toilet paper — and it would inspire a nationwide grass-roots crusade against corruption in this tiny South American nation, the International New York Times reported.

Read more

The Scottish economist Adam Smith described Britain as a nation of shopkeepers in his book The Wealth of Nations, published in 1776. Today, the UK is simply a country of shoppers, the Financial Times reported. Rarely has Britain been consuming so much and saving so little. As a nation — which statisticians break down into households, companies and the government — Britain spends far more than it earns. On this measure, the UK borrowed 5 per cent of national income in 2015, according to the OECD, the Paris-based international organisation.

Read more

China’s bond market is hosting a battle of wills between the country’s leadership and lower-ranking officials and corporate bosses, The Wall Street Journal reported. They are fighting over perpetual bonds, debtlike securities that lack a maturity date and technically never need to be repaid. Issuance has surged since the start of 2018, partly because state-backed companies see them as a way to hit Beijing-mandated debt-reduction targets without going through a painful restructuring or diluting government control.

Read more

Japanese prosecutors on Monday formally charged Carlos Ghosn, the former head of the Nissan-Renault auto alliance, with breach of trust, piling a new count of financial impropriety onto his existing charges in a move that adds pressure on him and ensures he remains jailed, the International New York Times reported. Mr. Ghosn, who continues to maintain he is innocent, has been in a detention center on the outskirts of Tokyo since April 4, when prosecutors swarmed into his apartment in an early morning raid.

Read more

UK asset manager M&G Investments has emerged as key to Bank of Ireland being able to remove €375 million of problem loans from its balance sheet. The investment group, a unit of London-based life insurance giant Prudential, has bought 95 per cent of the lowest rank notes – or equity portion – of a bond transaction Bank of Ireland used this month to refinance the non-performing, but mainly restructured, buy-to-let mortgages in the bond market, The Irish Times reported.

Read more

For months Beto Marron faced a terrible dilemma: he could pay his rent and rapidly rising utility bills, or he could put enough food on the table for his family of four. He could not afford to do both. The decision was made for him when he was kicked out of his home on the outskirts of Buenos Aires late last year, forcing his family on to the streets. “This is sucking the life out of me.

Read more

British state-controlled lender the Royal Bank of Scotland has doubled its funding pot to support small businesses to 6 billion pounds ($7.8 billion), but says the extra cash is no longer primarily for Brexit-proofing businesses, Reuters reported. NatWest, the biggest trading arm of RBS, said it had topped up its so-called Growth Fund in response to high demand from firms in industries including green energy and technology. The lender previously topped up the fund from 1 billion pounds to 3 billion pounds in October.

Read more