North America

Costa Rica’s legislative assembly on Monday approved the placement of up to $1.5 billion in bonds in coming months as the Central American country struggles to reduce its mounting debt burden, Reuters reported. Over the past 10 years, public debt in Costa Rica has doubled and now stands at about 53 percent of gross domestic product. The first tranche of the dollar bond debt issue will be placed in international markets from August, said Rocio Aguilar, Costa Rica’s finance minister. The government will have a year to complete the bond issue.

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Canadian aerospace company Bombardier has announced the sale of its regional jet program to Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. for $550 million, the International New York Times reported on an Associated Press story. The company is seeking to exit the commercial plane market and focus on business jets and its large rail segment. Bombardier chief executive Alain Bellemare said Tuesday the sale signifies the completion of the transformation of its aerospace business.

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Barbados’ prime minister is butting heads with creditors over how to cut one of the world’s largest sovereign debt loads, creating a sticking point in the year-long negotiations to restructure the Caribbean nation’s defaulted dollar bonds, Bloomberg News reported. Talks with foreign creditors have dragged on since last June, when Prime Minister Mia Mottley said she would restructure the island’s “unsustainably high” debt burden. While both sides said they are open to continued negotiation, they appear far from consensus.

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Latin America is on the verge of suffering another lost decade. The region, still struggling to cope with the end of the commodities boom, has expanded only 0.7% a year on average during the past few years, Bloomberg News reported. That’s hardly enough to keep up with population growth, meaning that people are poorer today than they were in 2012, according to the International Monetary Fund. Now its biggest economies -- Brazil, Mexico and Argentina -- have contracted simultaneously for the second time in just over three years, causing yet another headache for policy makers.

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Seadrill Ltd. plunged to the lowest since it emerged from bankruptcy less than year ago after Carnegie Investment Bank AB recommended selling the shares and slashed the price target by 88% amid mounting recovery concerns, Bloomberg News reported. The offshore rig market recovery is “not happening fast enough” for Seadrill, Carnegie said in a note to clients on Monday. The investment bank cut its recommendation from a buy and lowered the target price to 25 kroner from 210 kroner.

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The number of Edmontonians who filed for bankruptcy in 2018 reached its highest point in the last nine years, according to the federal Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy, the Edmonton Journal reported. Edmonton’s 2018 consumer insolvency rate for residents over 18 tallied 4.4 per 1,000 people, show annual statistics released May 24.

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The number of insolvencies jumped 30 per cent in the Red Deer region in the first three months of the year compared with 2018, the Red Deer Advocate reported. Insolvency numbers jumped 15 per cent provincewide, and just a year ago, the trend was moving in the right direction. Alberta’s insolvency figures are bleaker than the nation’s as a whole, where such cases were up six per cent in the first quarter. MNP senior vice-president and insolvency trustee Donna Carson said last year’s numbers likely improved because workers laid off earlier in the slump were finding jobs.

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An associate professor of business at Carleton University in Ottawa says Newfoundland and Labrador is headed for trouble if it continues on its current spending path, VOCM reported. The province is mired in debt to the tune of over $15-billion. Interest costs are one of the largest expenditures in the budget. Ian Lee notes that the Parliamentary Budget Office, an arm of the federal government, crunched the numbers and found that all provinces except Quebec are in bad financial shape but that Newfoundland and Labrador is the worst of all.

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Canadian consumers filed the most insolvencies in eight years in March, an indication record debt levels may be catching up with an increasing number of households, Bloomberg News reported. The Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcies reported consumer insolvencies rose 5.7% to 11,963 in March, compared with 11,315 in the same month a year earlier. It was the highest volume of filings in any month since March 2011.

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When Parq Vancouver, a glimmering waterfront casino, opened amid much to-do in late 2017, few would’ve anticipated that a dirty money crackdown was about to throw the city’s roaring gambling business into turmoil, Bloomberg News reported. Vancouver-area casinos for years had been accepting millions of dollars in questionable cash from gamblers showing up with suitcases and hockey bags bulging with bills, according to British Columbia Attorney General David Eby. But new rules implemented last year to more tightly identify sources of funds have put a damper on that rollicking trade.

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