Hong Kong

Even as Hong Kong has reduced down-payment requirements to help young professionals and families to buy homes, banks are beefing up mortgage application standards to ensure that a recession does not saddle them with bad loans, bankers and mortgage brokers said, Reuters reported. Last month, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam, struggling to restore confidence in her administration after five months of civil unrest, approved rules allowing first-time homebuyers to borrow as much as 90% of a HK$8 million ($1 million) home’s cost.

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Hong Kong jeweler Jun Lam has already closed one shop. His remaining outlet sits in an almost deserted shopping mall at the heart of a district regularly hit by sometimes violent protests that have rocked the Chinese-ruled city since June, the International New York Times reported on a Reuters story. Restaurants, hotels and retail outlets like Lam's, many of which cater to mostly mainland Chinese tourists, form a central pillar of a small business sector that employs more than one million people in the city.

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Fitch Ratings has lowered its rating on Hong Kong, citing uncertainty about the stability of the business environment following months of protests and looming challenges stemming from the city’s closer integration with mainland China, the Financial Times reported. The rating agency is the first to downgrade Hong Kong's long-term foreign-currency issuer default rating since the start of violent clashes between protesters and police, lowering its ranking of the Asian financial hub from double A plus to double A with a negative outlook, signalling the potential for further falls.

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Noble Group Ltd. is preparing for an insolvency filing after Singaporean regulators blocked a key element of its $3.5 billion debt restructuring, according to people familiar with the matter. The company is considering what’s known as a "pre-pack" administration, a procedure that allows for a debt restructuring in court through a pre-agreed plan with creditors, one of the people said, asking not to be identified because the talks are private, Bloomberg News reported.

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A representative of a mysterious Chinese oil company was convicted Wednesday on charges that he tried to bribe government leaders in Africa in a case that put foreign officials on the stand to discuss deals, some of which were hatched in the hallways at the United Nations, the International New York Times reported. The federal trial of Patrick Ho put a spotlight on the methods that a once fast-growing oil company, CEFC China, used to expand its reach from Asia to Africa, Europe and the United States. Mr.

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Singaporean regulators investigating Noble Group Ltd. have focused their questions so far on the company’s use of mark-to-market accounting, according to people familiar with the matter. The struggling commodity trader was thrown into fresh crisis last week after Singapore announced a three-agency probe into Noble’s accounts just days before a marathon $3.5 billion debt restructuring was due to complete, Bloomberg News reported. On Sunday, Noble said it would delay the deadline for that deal to Dec.

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Noble Group Ltd. extended the deadline for its marathon restructuring until Dec. 11 to address regulators’ concerns, a week after Singaporean authorities began an investigation into the embattled commodity trader’s finances, Bloomberg News reported. The company on Sunday moved the deadline for the $3.5 billion debt restructuring back by two weeks. Noble said that Singapore’s Securities Industry Council extended a key waiver to allow the deadline to be pushed back.

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Singapore authorities are investigating Noble Group Ltd for suspected false and misleading statements, just days before the Singapore-listed company was to complete its $3.5 billion debt restructuring deal to prevent its collapse, Reuters reported. Noble, once Asia’s top commodity trader, has seen its market value all but wiped out from $6 billion in February 2015 after its accounting was questioned by Iceberg Research.

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Shares in Noble Group Ltd, once Asia’s top commodity trader, were suspended from trading from Monday, as the company seeks to transform into an Asia-focused coal-trading business following a $3.5 billion debt restructuring deal, Reuters reported. Singapore-listed Noble said last week it had obtained the required approvals, including getting a go-ahead from courts for its restructuring and payment to creditors, clearing the final hurdle to completing its controversial debt-for-equity swap.

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