JPMorgan returns US$600m
JPMorgan Chase has returned about US$600 million that was held at the bank when securities firm MF Global Holdings Ltd failed last fall, according to a news report. The Wall Street Journal also reported on Saturday that a bankruptcy trustee representing MF Global’s customers might pursue JPMorgan for several hundred million dollars in additional claims. The newspaper cited unnamed people familiar with the matter and with the investigation into MF Global’s collapse. MF Global failed in October last year after a calamitous bet on European debt spooked its investors, partners and clients. The collapse left an estimated US$1.6 billion hole in customer accounts. The recovered money will eventually be passed along to customers.
Policy to focus on growth
The nation will focus policy efforts more on boosting economic growth and allocate additional state funds to support small companies and exporters, Finance Minister Bahk Jae-wan said. “We need to make more effort to support economic growth as some progress has been made in terms of stabilization” of prices, Bahk told reporters in Seoul on Saturday. “We’re not in a situation where we need an extra budget, but we will try to use more state funds to support small firms and exporters.” Bahk reaffirmed the government’s commitment to draft a budget that will achieve fiscal balance by next year, reducing its fiscal deficit to zero.
Volkswagen looks to China
German carmaker Volkswagen moved on Saturday to strengthen its strategic focus to expanding sales in China, while reshuffling the leadership of its truck business. Volkswagen AG’s supervisory board approved the creation of a new position on its board of directors managing all business related to China. Europe’s biggest carmaker — which includes Volkswagen, Audi, Lamborghini, Porsche, Skoda and Bentley — said in a statement the move “reflects China’s importance as the world’s largest car market.”
Fisker expands Karma recall
Privately held Fisker Automotive is expanding a recall of its plug-in hybrid Karma because of potential problems with the electric car’s battery. The automaker initially recalled 50 of the US$100,000 cars in December last year. It said improperly installed hose clamps in the model’s battery pack could cause coolant to leak, potentially starting a fire. Fisker has added 19 cars to that recall, 10 of which it believes were delivered to customers. The Irvine, California-based automaker said no incidents have been reported.
PM touts eurobond solution
Prime Minister Mario Monti believes eurobonds, a contested tool proposed as a way to alleviate the eurozone crisis, will eventually become reality, he told a Greek newspaper yesterday. “I believe we will have eurobonds in some form or other, because our [European] Union is getting closer,” Monti told the daily journal To Vima. He also said that eurobonds were not a “licence to spend” or an alternative to cutting debt. However, in the same publication, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle reiterated Berlin’s opposition, saying eurobonds would “increase debt and reduce competitiveness.” Underwritten by all eurozone countries, eurobonds would allow troubled members such as Greece to raise funds at much less painful interest rates.