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Daily Dispatches – The countdown begins to the US debt default

D-Day for US debt ceiling looms

D-Day for US debt ceiling looms

Politicians in Washington failed to reach a solution to the impasse that has frozen the US budget in the past two weeks, despite expectations that a deal would be reached yesterday on Capitol Hill.

Talks between the warring Democrats and Republicans over funding for ‘Obamacare’, the President’s universal health care plan, will continue today. A resolution on raising the debt ceiling needs to be reached today, otherwise the US will go into default on Thursday. What this means, in reality, is that investors holding US$120 billion in US Treasury bills that mature tomorrow will not be paid, as the US government will only have about US$30 billion to cover its obligations.

In the meantime, however, Asia has been doing quite well out of the political fracas. with Bloomberg reporting that the benchmark stock index traded near a five-month high.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index added 0.1% to 141.50 in early trading in Tokyo.

JPMorgan settles the whale debacle

The beleagured bank is apparently set to announce that it will shell out US$100 million to settle what has come to be known as the ‘London Whale’ issue – trades by employee Bruno Iksil, called the London Whale because of the size of bets that are the subject of a number of investigations.

Bloomberg says the discussions around the deal are still confidential, but this could bring the bank’s total settlements in the episode to more than US$1 billion. 

Meanwhile the Wall Street Job Report says that the bank is spending more on paying fines than it does on salaries,with legal expenses taking up nearly 40% of revenue in current period.

Banks bash Osborne’s Chinese courtship

The Financial Times says that UK Chancellor George Osborne’s recent China roadshow has fallen foul of UK lawyers and US bankers who have attacked his new light-touch regulatory regime proposed for Chinese banks in the City on Tuesday.

Osborne has proposed to boost the UK’s status as an offshore Chinese financial centre by, amongst other measures, a plan for Chinese banks to operate via branches rather than full-blown subsidiaries. 

ICBC takes on Hong Kong retail banks

ICBC Asia, the second-largest Chinese mainland bank subsidiary in Hong Kong, is looking to boost new deposits as the first step to competing with the city’s more established retail rivals, according to a report in the South China Morning Post.

Insurance expansion gets a boost

The Asia Business review reports that Taiwan’s Financial Supervisory Commission and China’s Insurance Regulatory Commission are scheduled to meet tomorrow to discuss easing regulations for life insurance companies to expand business across the Taiwan Strait.




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