Headlines

Thousands of American tourists descended on Mexico’s glittering Caribbean beaches at the close of 2020 and start of this year. Quintana Roo state, the country’s tourism crown jewel, home to Cancun, the Riviera Maya and Tulum, received 961,000 tourists during that stretch — nearly half from the U.S. — down only 25 percent from the previous year, the Associated Press reported.

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The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board is joining a fund managed by Banco BTG Pactual SA to make a binding offer for the fiber unit of Brazilian telecom carrier Oi SA, Bloomberg News reported. The bid is expected Jan. 22, along with two other binding offers. Highline do Brasil, part of Digital Colony, and Ufinet, which is backed by Italy’s Enel SpA, both plan to make bids for the business. Oi is planning to sell as much as 51% of its subsidiary, known as InfraCo, with a value for the whole company of at least 20 billion reais ($3.6 billion).
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The local court of Aschaffenburg today approved the application of Adler Modemärkte AG and opened preliminary insolvency proceedings in self-administration pursuant to Section 270b (1), (2) of the German Insolvency Code, new version, according to a press release. Within the scope of the preliminary self-administration, the business operations of Adler Modemärkte AG shall be continued in their entirety and the company shall be restructured by means of an insolvency plan. The management board of the company will continue to have the power of administration and disposition.

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The International Monetary Fund approved the disbursement of $488 million to Angola and reiterated its confidence that Africa’s second-biggest oil producer will rein in public debt to sustainable levels, Bloomberg News reported. The disbursement approved by the executive board comes four months after the Washington-based lender increased the size of the loan by almost a quarter to $4.5 billion to help Angola weather the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.

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Zombies Could Stunt the Bank Recovery

A decade ago, Europe’s recovery from the global financial crisis was held back by the lingering bad-debt problems of its banks. History risks repeating itself, the Wall Street Journal reported. The region’s generous lockdown-support programs and patchwork of insolvency laws could create so-called zombie firms—inefficient companies kept alive by cheap debt. Last month, the European Central Bank said this remains a risk. Meanwhile, bank shares have been buoyed by optimism that Covid-19 vaccines will revive the economy and shareholder payouts will resume.
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Business failures in Ireland barely rose last year despite the economic challenges posed by the Covid crisis, new figures show, the Irish Times reported. Measures deployed by government during the pandemic had helped to sustain companies during the year, said accountants Deloitte, which compiled the figures. The number of corporate insolvencies rose by just 1 per cent to 575. This compares to 568 insolvencies in 2019.

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Monte dei Paschi di Siena said that it would grant access to confidential data to potential merger partners selected by its advisers, as Italy presses ahead with plans to cut its stake in the state-owned bank, Reuters reported. Confirming comments to Reuters from sources earlier on Monday, Monte dei Paschi (MPS) said its board had hired Credit Suisse to help Mediobanca in the task of studying strategic options and sounding out market interest for the Tuscan bank.
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Proposals have been outlined by the U.K. government to increase the financial eligibility criteria for debt relief orders (DROs), helping more people deal with financial difficulties to get a fresh start, according to a press release. Research shows that the demand for debt advice could increase by up to 60% by the end of 2021 and around 3 million more people than before the pandemic will need support with problem debt by the end of 2021. The government is publicly consulting on changing the eligibility criteria to enter a DRO to:

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China’s economy has come roaring back from the depths of the coronavirus pandemic, and its currency has joined the ride, the New York Times reported. The currency, known variously as the yuan or the renminbi, has surged in strength in recent months against the American dollar and other major currencies. Through Monday, the U.S. dollar was worth 6.47 renminbi, compared with 7.16 renminbi in late May and close to its strongest level in two and half years.

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China is battling its biggest coronavirus outbreak in months, imposing lockdowns on hard-hit areas, quarantining more than 20 million people and urging citizens to forgo unnecessary travel as the Lunar New Year holiday approaches in February, the Wall Street Journal reported. The tightening, which comes during northern China’s coldest winter in a generation, underscores official skittishness nearly a year after authorities shut down the city of Wuhan to contain the initial outbreak.

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