United States

The COVID pandemic has added $24 trillion to the global debt mountain over the last year a new study has shown, leaving it at a record $281 trillion and the worldwide debt-to-GDP ratio at over 355%, Reuters reported. The Institute of International Finance’s global debt monitor estimated government support programmes had accounted for half of the rise, while global firms, banks and households added $5.4 trillion, 3.9 trillion and $2.6 trillion respectively.
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Satellite operator Intelsat SA said on Friday it has filed a restructuring plan backed by some of its creditors, in a bid to reduce debt and emerge from bankruptcy in the second half of the year, Reuters reported. The plan aims to reduce debt by more than half to $7 billion and has the support of holders of about $3.8 billion of its debt, the company said. It has sought a hearing on Mar. 17 for a court approval to solicit votes on the plan.

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Offshore drilling rig contractor Seadrill has filed for bankruptcy protection at a U.S. court, it said on Wednesday, the second time in four years the company has entered into a chapter 11 restructuring, Reuters reported. The Oslo-listed group controlled by Norwegian-born billionaire John Fredriksen returned to court along with several subsidiaries after failing to win consent from bank lenders to postpone payments on $5.7 billion of debts. Its total debts and liabilities stood at $7.3 billion at the end of the third quarter of 2020.

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Seadrill Ltd, the rig operator controlled by billionaire John Fredriksen, filed for bankruptcy protection for its Asian units after the economic downturn triggered by the coronavirus pandemic worsened a crisis in offshore oil drilling, Bloomberg News reported. The filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of Texas is the second within four years by the driller that was once the industry’s largest by market value. The filing covers Seadrill GCC Operations, Asia Offshore Drilling Ltd., Asia Offshore Rig 1 Ltd., Asia Offshore Rig 2 Ltd.

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U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has called for China to condemn the military coup in Myanmar and warned Beijing that Washington will work with its allies to hold the People’s Republic accountable for what he described as its efforts to threaten international stability particularly in the Taiwan Strait, CNBC.com reported. Blinken spoke with his counterpart Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi late Friday in the first conversation between senior U.S. and Chinese officials since President Joe Biden took office. The top U.S.
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Services companies in the U.S. and Asia gained ground in January, while a continued contraction in the eurozone threatened a double-dip recession, surveys of purchasing managers showed, the Wall Street Journal reported. The eurozone economy shrank in the final three months of last year amid high Covid-19 infection rates and related restrictions posed the risk of a double-dip recession. Surveys compiled by data firm IHS Markit released Wednesday showed the eurozone’s service sector fell to 45.0 from 46.4 in December.
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Government debt around the world shot up last year to approach levels last seen in the aftermath of World War II, as nations stepped up spending to fight the Covid-19 pandemic and its economic fallout, the International Monetary Fund said yesterday, the Wall Street Journal reported. Public debt as a share of global gross domestic product surged to 98% by the end of December from 84% at the end of 2019, before the pandemic struck, the IMF said in an update to its semiannual Fiscal Monitor report.

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A decade ago, Joseph R. Biden Jr. strode into a reception room in Athens for a meeting with the president of Greece, a country then drowning in debt and locked in tense negotiations with the European Union. “This man represents the Treasury Department,” a deadpan Mr. Biden said to his host as he gestured to a gray-suited member of his delegation. “He’s brought hundreds of millions of dollars.” The room broke up in laughter: It was clear the vice president hadn’t come with a briefcase of cash to pay off Greece’s debts.

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The European Union and the incoming administration of U.S. President-elect Joe Biden should suspend a trade dispute to give themselves time to find common ground, France’s foreign minister said, Reuters reported. “The issue that’s poisoning everyone is that of the price escalation and taxes on steel, digital technology, Airbus and more particularly our wine sector,” Jean-Yves Le Drian told Le Journal du Dimanche in an interview. He said he hoped the sides could find a way to settle the dispute. “It may take time, but in the meantime, we can always order a moratorium,” he added.

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Toronto-Dominion Bank will defend itself in a trial starting in a Canadian court on Monday in which liquidators of the collapsed Antigua bank of former Texas financier Robert Allen Stanford are seeking $5.5 billion in damages, Reuters reported. The joint liquidators of Stanford International Bank (SIB) allege “negligence and knowing assistance” by TD, Canada’s second-biggest lender, in allowing SIB to maintain correspondent accounts, according to a statement filed with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in 2019.
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