Headlines

China’s Anbang Insurance Group Co said it would reduce its registered capital by nearly one-third, the latest government-directed step of a massive restructuring of the debt-laden conglomerate to curb financial risks, Reuters reported. A state takeover work group, which has seized control of Anbang since February last year, has decided to trim the company’s registered capital to 41.5 billion yuan ($6.21 billion) from 61.9 billion yuan, pending approval from the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission, Anbang said in a statement released on Tuesday.

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The German government has halved its growth forecast for 2019 to just 0.5 per cent, highlighting the extent to which wider conditions in the global economy have damaged the health of the eurozone’s economic powerhouse, the Financial Times reported. Peter Altmaier, economics minister, said on Wednesday that the downgrade from an earlier projection of 1 per cent was “a wake-up call” for an economy that over the past decade had experienced one of its most sustained periods of growth in modern history but was now under stress from a global economic slowdown and political uncertainty.

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Turkey’s Halkbank will issue debt instruments and borrow in domestic and foreign markets to strengthen its capital base, which was left thinner after the lender provided low-interest loans in the wake of last year’s currency crisis, Reuters reported. The state-run bank said late on Tuesday it plans to issue debt instruments or borrow a total of 2 billion euros and 10 billion liras ($1.74 billion) in the Turkish market, while borrowing 2 billion euros or equivalent abroad, to meet its Additional Tier 1 (AT1) capital requirements.

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GAM moved closer to drawing a line under the problems that have engulfed the Swiss fund manager with a deal to sell about £600m of bonds that will complete the liquidation of funds at the heart of its crisis, the Financial Times reported. The news from the Zurich-based group sent its shares up 14 per cent on Wednesday. It stunned the market last summer when it suspended Tim Haywood, a London-based investment director who oversaw the group’s SFr11bn absolute return bond funds (ARBF).

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Some of those shorting Canadian banks contend that the firms aren’t preparing adequately for higher loan losses if credit conditions worsen, Bloomberg News reported. The argument by investors including money manager Steve Eisman and PAA Research LLC’s Bradley Safalow has to do with accounting changes Canadian banks made after adopting global rules known as International Financial Reporting Standard 9 in late 2017. Previously, banks set aside money for bad loans -- also known as a provision for credit losses -- when recognizing a loss.

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The loan default in Hong Kong by HNA Group Co. unit CWT International Ltd. is causing tremors in Singapore, Bloomberg News reported. Listed real estate investment trusts in the city-state that count CWT as a tenant dropped on concerns there might also be missed rent payments. Shares of Cache Logistics Trust extended declines Wednesday to the lowest in more than a month. Mapletree Logistics Trust, meanwhile, is down 4.1 percent since Monday, on track for its biggest weekly decrease since February 2018. CWT’s Singapore business is among the top 10 tenants of both landlords.

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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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Last summer, Deutsche Bank AG trumpeted a deal to strengthen the finances of Europe’s largest zinc smelter, Nyrstar NV. Less than a year later, the Belgian company is undergoing a massive debt restructuring, and the $150 million financing structure set up by Deutsche Bank is in line for losses of as much as 70 percent, Bloomberg News reported. Although relatively small in absolute terms, the losses are a black eye for Deutsche Bank, one of the leading financiers of the natural resources industry.

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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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