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The decision by Moody’s Investors Service to downgrade the ratings of Australia’s largest banks has focused attention on the risks lurking in the country’s A$1.51 trillion ($1.15 trillion) of mortgage loans. “The resilience of household balance sheets and, consequently, bank portfolios to a serious economic downturn has not been tested at these levels of private sector indebtedness,” Moody’s said in the statement accompanying the downgrade of Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd., Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank Ltd. and Westpac Banking Corp. The banks are already bracing themselves for anRead More
Sometime later this year, Hong Kongers may be able to pay for the privilege of living in apartments so small they’re comparable to prison cells. Then, a local developer is due to start signing tenants for a project in the Happy Valley district where most flats could have a “usable floor area” of about 61 square feet, or 5.7 square meters, according to a pre-construction filing with the Buildings Department. That’s slightly less space than Stanley Prison, a 30-minute drive across the Hong Kong island, affords its inmates. Cramped living spaces inRead More
India’s central bank plans to use insolvency laws against more corporate defaulters to speed up resolution of the country’s bad loans that have swelled to $180 billion. “The clock’s already ticking — some cases are already before the National Company Law Tribune,” said Sanjeev Sanyal, principal economic adviser to the finance ministry. “More lists will be out in the next few months.” Cleaning up India’s stressed loans is the biggest priority of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, Sanyal said in an interview in New Delhi. The Reserve Bank of IndiaRead More
Temporary jobs in two-tier labor market leave many far behind South Korea’s 3.6 unemployment rate, while enviable on the surface, masks a two-tier labor market that is fueling inequality and stirring anger and resentment. No wonder then that South Korean President Moon Jae-in has emphasized jobs and wages during the recent election campaign and in his first month in office, describing pay and wealth disparities as obstacles to the creation of an “economic democracy.” About a third of all Koreans in the labor force are relegated to “non-regular” status, holdingRead More
India, which vies with China as the world’s top consumer of bullion, is working on new policies to improve transparency and help expand its $19 billion gold jewelry industry, according to people with knowledge of the matter. The plans being worked out by the finance and commerce ministries along with industry groups should be finalized by the end of March, the people said, asking not to be identified because they aren’t authorized to speak publicly. D.S. Malik, spokesman for the finance ministry, didn’t answer calls to his cellphone. A spokeswomanRead More
India’s banks have been ordered to use the country’s courts to resolve bad loans totaling about 2 trillion rupees ($31 billion) issued to 12 large debtors. The Reserve Bank of India told the banks to use insolvency laws to find a solution for the debtors, which account for a quarter of the country’s total bad loans, before moving on to resolve the other problem accounts within six months, according to a statement posted on the central bank’s website late Tuesday. Indian banks have among the world’s worst stressed-asset ratios withRead More
HONG KONG (June 14): Hong Kong just set another property-price record. This time, it was for a parking space. A 188-square-foot space on Hong Kong island sold for HK$5.18 million (US$664,300), or HK$27,500 a square foot, last month, newspaper Ming Pao reported Wednesday, citing land registration records. The car park cost more than some Hong Kong homes: Centaline Property data shows a HK$4.2 million sale of a 284-square-foot, two-bedroom home in Sha Tin, in the New Territories, in April. Property prices keep soaring higher in Hong Kong despite the government’s efforts toRead More
As the Union Jack fluttered over Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour for the last time on June 30, 1997, home prices were hovering near record highs and sellout crowds at new projects were the norm. Twenty years on, property price have hit fresh records and buyers are still thronging to buy new apartments. This time around, the boom has been accompanied by demand from another source: mainland developers. Chinese companies have dominated Hong Kong’s land sales this year, adding to a spate of acquisitions since the beginning of 2016. HNA Group, the firmRead More
Two weeks ago, in our latest comparison of Bitcoin and its up and coming competitor, Ethereum, we said “step aside bitcoin, there is a new blockchain kid in town.” Actually, we said that for the first time back in February when Ethereum was still trading in the low teens (the return on ETH since then is roughly 3000%), but the most recent glance provided some perspective on where the competition between the two largest cryptocurrencies may culminate, because according to at least two venture capitalists, the market cap of Ethereum – currently roughly $35Read More
Mining references generally evoke images of picks and shovels. For advocates of bitcoin and the other cryptocurrencies surging in value, the gold may be in the shares of the companies that produce the computer processors and chips used to create the digital currencies in the process that’s become known as mining. Digital coins can only be created by using computers to solve complex mathematical problems. The difficulty increases as more of the problems get solved, prompting the miners to require even more powerful hardware. With digital coin prices soaring, demand forRead More