Headlines

Turkey’s economy is expected to contract in 2019 after a decade of strong growth, and economists are predicting a longer recession ahead after a recent bout of volatility in the lira, a Reuters poll showed on Friday. The Turkish economy contracted 3 percent in the fourth quarter of last year after a currency crisis devalued the lira by nearly 30 percent against the dollar, Reuters reported. It drove inflation to a 15-year high, severely limited companies’ ability to service foreign debt and multiplied bad loans in the banking sector.

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Chinese independent refiner Shandong Haiyou Petrochemical Group aims to restart its key crude oil unit in June, a year after it was idled following a bankruptcy filing, according to four sources with knowledge of the matter, Reuters reported. The refinery in Juxian county in the eastern province of Shandong is preparing to restart a 70,000 barrels per day crude unit shut since last May after local government-led investment helped the firm clear most of its debts. “The dead is returning...

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In the hazy world of distressed debt trading, the fall of Sudan’s autocratic ruler of 30 years, Omar al-Bashir, has sparked fresh interest among traders and holders of the country’s long-defaulted debt, Reuters reported. Following weeks of demonstrations kindled by soaring food costs, high unemployment and increasing repression, 75-year-old Bashir was overthrown on Thursday by the military, three decades after himself seizing power in a coup. The newly ruling military council on Friday promised a transition to an elected civilian government.

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Jet Airways pilots announced on Sunday that they would go on strike over unpaid salaries, heaping more pressure on the cash-strapped Indian carrier to find a new owner to bail it out, the Financial Times reported. The airline is saddled with more than $1.2bn debt and has not been able to pay pilots their salaries for over three months. It left passengers around the world stranded on Thursday when it cancelled its international flights. The carrier is down to fewer than 10 operational aeroplanes out of a fleet of 123, raising fears of an imminent shutdown.

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Local governments in China have flooded the market with Rmb1.2tn ($179bn) in bond issuance during the first three months of the year, in another sign of how Beijing hopes to kick-start economic growth with infrastructure spending, the Financial Times reported. The fundraisings represent a dramatic shift in how China is allowing smaller governments to raise debt — there was no local bond issuance during the first quarter over the past two years, according to data from Moody’s. The efforts come as China faces its slowest rate of economic growth in almost three decades.

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Thomas Cook has told shareholders that it may have been regularly in breach of its own borrowing limits, marking the latest setback for the travel company which is restructuring in the face of shifting consumer habits, the Financial Times reported. The group said on Friday that the board had received external advice that its current interpretation of its financing limits may have led the company to “inadvertently” exceed the borrowing rules in its articles of association.

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ArcelorMittal’s plan to buy a bankrupt Indian steel company for $6 billion was halted temporarily by the nation’s top court, further delaying tycoon Lakshmi Mittal’s efforts to enter the world’s second-biggest market, Bloomberg News reported. The Supreme Court ruled that Essar Steel India Ltd.’s current status has to be maintained, pending a review by a bankruptcy tribunal hearing appeals related to the sale. The company is currently being managed by a court-appointed administrator.

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China’s savers are turning a deaf ear to government warnings about one of their favorite investments. Individuals hold nearly 90 percent of instruments known as wealth management products, a record share, because many believe they’re shielded from losses -- a view officials have tried hard to discourage, Bloomberg News reported. The assumption of safety has been buttressed by the fact that the large banks that issue WMPs have at times dipped into their own balance sheets to protect investors from losses or even outright defaults.

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South African builder Group Five said on Friday it would dispose of some assets and delay its interim results after filing for bankruptcy protection last month. The group, one of the biggest names in South Africa’s construction industry, said the disposals would help it meet its debt obligations, cover working capital and cut its liabilities, Reuters reported. In a stock exchange statement, it said its business review had delayed the release of its interim results, which had been due at the end of March.

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Avianca Brasil on Friday canceled 179 flights scheduled for the next five days after a judge denied an appeal by the carrier to hold on to nine disputed planes, marking the unraveling of the airline four months after it filed for bankruptcy protection, Reuters reported. Avianca Brasil was operating with 35 planes, a representative said, but a federal judge late on Friday ordered the return of nine planes “immediately,” denying the carrier’s last-minute appeal, according to a news release by the Brazilian court.

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