Headlines

Germany’s economy is limping into 2021 heavily bruised by the pandemic, deeply reliant on government aid -- and in better shape than most of the euro zone, Bloomberg News reported. The nation will probably say on Thursday that gross domestic product contracted less than 6% last year, and may signal that it actually grew in the final quarter. In contrast, economists estimate full-year declines of around 9% for France and Italy and more than 11% for Spain.
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The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Fair Business Banking in the U.K. has started a six month project, with support from City law firm Humphries Kerstetter, Accountancy Daily reported. Kevin Hollinrake, co-chair of the APPG, said: ‘In recent years there have been a number of high-profile failures in the insolvency industry. The APPG has also received its fair share of complaints about the system.

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For a year expected to mark a turning point for pandemic-stricken European airlines, 2021 is off to a rough start, Reuters reported. A resurgence of COVID-19 lockdowns has killed off a fragile bookings upturn, executives and analysts said, as insolvent Norwegian Air finally axed its long-haul operations yesterday. The setbacks deal a blow to airline hopes that the promise of vaccines would put the worst of the crisis behind them, and set the stage for a summer rebound.

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While defaults were once considered a rare occurrence in China’s bond market — with many borrowers having relied on financial support or a bailout in times of trouble — the past three years combined saw a record number of delinquencies, according to a Bloomberg News analysis. Defaults eased off for much of 2020 as policymakers sought to limit economic damage by the coronavirus outbreak, before picking up again at the end of the year. The risks continue in 2021, according to analysts. After years of debt-fueled spending, Chinese companies are under increasing pressure.

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Most of AirAsia X Bhd’s lessors support a restructuring plan, and the Malaysian airline has received interest from potential investors for fundraising after reorganization, court documents filed this month show, Reuters reported. In emails attached to the court filings, supportive lessors said that they wanted to continue discussions with the budget airline and potential new investors, seeking more equitable terms and new commercial arrangements.

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Loaded with tons of live crab, lobster and prawns, the trucks headed south from the Scottish town of Oban had to reach their destination in Spain within 72 hours to be sure the cargo would survive the trip. But with Britain operating new post-Brexit trading rules, a journey that used to be routine is now a high-stakes gamble for the exporter Paul Knight, managing director of PDK Shellfish, the New York Times reported. “It is like roulette,” said Mr.

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Oman returned to the debt market for the third time in less than three months, taking advantage of investors’ appetite for yield to help plug the Gulf Arab region’s widest budget deficit, Bloomberg News reported. The largest oil exporter outside of OPEC sold $3.25 billion in a three-part debt offering. Oman priced $1.75 billion in 10-year notes at a yield of 6.25%. It sold another $1 billion in 30-year securities at 7.25%, versus guidance of 7.5% and initial price talk of between 7.625% and 7.75%.

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Kimmeridge Energy Management Co. said it’s prepared to nominate directors to the board of Ovintiv Inc. if the oil and gas producer fails to take the necessary steps to improve its performance and restore investor confidence, Bloomberg News reported. The private equity firm, which said it owns a 2.4% stake in Ovintiv, argues in a new 18-page presentation that the company is falling behind its peers as a result of its misguided spending, expensive acquisitions, poor governance and inadequate environmental stewardship.

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French carmaker Renault in December drew down an extra 1 billion of its 5 billion euro ($6.1 billion) government-guaranteed loan arranged due to the COVID-19 crisis, Deputy Chief Executive Clotilde Delbos told an online presentation on Thursday, Reuters reported. Renault has now tapped 4 billion euros of the loan, Delbos said, adding that the company felt it was wise to use the means at its disposal. Read more.

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Estonia’s president on Thursday tasked the leader of the main opposition party to form a new government, a day after Prime Minister Juri Ratas and his Cabinet stepped down in the wake of a corruption scandal in Ratas’ ruling Center Party, the Associated Press reported. Kaja Kallas, chairwoman of the center-right Reform Party that emerged as the winner of the 2019 general election, will have 14 days to put together a new Cabinet, President Kersti Kaljulaid said.

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