AIG pays US Nan Shan cash
American International Group Inc (AIG) paid the US federal government US$2.15 billion this week after selling off a life insurance subsidiary, trimming its financial bailout balance to about US$51 billion. The US Department of the Treasury said on Thursday that the repayment comes from AIG’s sale of Nan Shan Life Insurance Co (南山人壽) in Taiwan. AIG has now paid back US$11.4 billion of the US$68 billion in bailout funds it received from the US government at the height of the 2008 financial crisis. The government sold 200 million AIG shares in May. That cut the government’s stake in the company from 92 percent to 77 percent.
Outlook less optimistic
Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee member Martin Weale said the UK is unlikely to be hit by a double-dip recession, the Press and Journal newspaper reported, citing comments made by Weale in Dundee, Scotland. Weale was less optimistic about growth prospects for the UK economy than he had been, the newspaper said. It is “very unlikely” that the UK base rate will be cut to 0.25 percent, the newspaper quoted Weale as saying. If more stimulus is needed to help the economy, it is more likely to come from more quantitative easing, he said.
Governor warns on debt
Bank of Korea Governor Kim Choong-Soo yesterday issued a fresh warning over the country’s growing mountain of personal debt, a day after local banks suspended most loans to individuals. His remarks came a day after local banks temporarily suspended the extension of fresh personal loans and mortgages, yielding to pressure from the country’s financial watchdog. Alarmed by the threat of possible punishment from monetary authorities, South Korean banks stopped not only loans for houses, but other credit lines, including loans guaranteed against financial assets and credit cards.
Watchdog goes after Sky
Britain’s Competition Commission set out measures to make the pay-TV movie market more competitive and break Sky’s stranglehold, a further blow to the broadcaster that is struggling to placate investors after News Corp’s bid fell through. The regulator said yesterday that Sky’s large subscriber base gave it an advantage that meant potential rivals found it difficult to bid successfully for the rights to first-run Hollywood movies. This, in turn, meant that consumers found little alternative to Sky Movies for new blockbuster films, it said. The regulator said it was inviting responses to possible remedies that would be intended to enable more firms to secure pay-TV rights from the six major Hollywood studios.
Volkswagen upbeat on H2
Volkswagen AG says it made a promising start to the year’s second half, with global deliveries of all its brands rising 16.3 percent on a year-on-year basis last month. Volkswagen, whose other brands include Audi, Skoda and SEAT, said yesterday that it delivered 665,600 vehicles last month — up from 572,100 a year earlier. Board member Christian Klingler said the company is “maintaining its growth trajectory.” Sales over the year’s first seven months were up 14.4 percent over last year at 4.75 million. Volkswagen said year-to-date sales rose 10.2 percent in Europe, where it delivered 2.2 million vehicles. Sales in China rose 16.4 percent to 1.29 million and US deliveries were up 20.5 percent at 249,500.