Japan mulls taxation
Japan is looking at ways to tax Bitcoin transactions, a report said yesterday, in the wake of the spectacular failure of the Tokyo-based Mt. Gox bitcoin exchange following a theft of about US$500 million. The Japanese Ministry of Finance and National Tax Agency are studying possible rules that could govern transactions in the digital currency, the Yomiuri Shimbun said. Authorities believe purchases made with bitcoin can be subject to consumption and corporate taxes, the paper said.
Inflation rose last month
Consumer prices rose 1 percent last month, as stable farm produce prices helped keep inflation in check, official data showed yesterday. The on-year increase in the consumer price index compared with the 1.1 percent inflation posted in January, Statistics Korea said. It was the 16th straight month that the inflation rate has stayed below the Bank of Korea’s target of 2.5 to 3.5 percent. The core inflation rate rose 1.7 percent year-on-year last month after increasing at the same pace in January.
Qantas reform bid stymied
The Australian government yesterday said there would be “no blank checks” to bail out national carrier Qantas, which admitted that a plan to repeal legislation restricting foreign ownership was destined to fail. The Cabinet of conservative Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Monday evening said it would move to change a section of the Qantas Sales Act limiting foreign ownership of the carrier to 49 percent to free up capital for the struggling airline. However, with the Labor Party and other minor opposition parties making clear that they will oppose the legislation in the Australian Senate’s upper house over fears that it will send jobs offshore, the proposal is effectively redundant.
JPMorgan, Syncora settle
JPMorgan Chase agreed to pay US$400 million in cash to settle litigation filed by Syncora Guarantee Inc over mortgage-backed securities, the bond insurer said. Syncora said it would drop cases against JPMorgan in exchange for US$400 million, according to Syncora’s financial statement for last year filed on Friday last week. The securities sold to Syncora originated from Bear Stearns, which JPMorgan acquired in 2008 amid the financial crisis.
Caesars shuffles casinos
Caesars Entertainment Corp, the largest casino owner in the US, is to sell four properties to an affiliate for US$2.2 billion, freeing up cash as the company works to restructure US$24.5 billion in debt. Caesars is selling the Bally’s, Quad and Cromwell casino hotels in Las Vegas, as well as Harrah’s New Orleans, to affiliate Caesars Growth Partners LLC, according to a statement issued on Monday. The transaction leaves Caesars Entertainment Operating Co, the company’s largest subsidiary, with more than US$3 billion in cash, some of which will go to debt reduction.
S African miners to march
The hardline South African union leading a six-week-old strike that has halted most production at top platinum mines on Monday announced plans to march on Pretoria tomorrow. The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, whose tens of thousands of members launched the strike seeking higher wages on Jan. 23, plan to hand a message to South African President Jacob Zuma in the capital.