Chaori Solar default is a test case for China's markets
Not big news for most countries, but China has had the first ever default of a corporate bond today.
Chaori Solar, a solar equipment maker, can't afford to pay 89.9 million RMB ($14.7m) in interest due on an one billion RMB bond issued in March 2012. It's the first default of publicly traded debt in China since the government started regulating in 1999. Although small, it could send tremors through not just China but global markets.
The company said this on Tuesday and issued a warning last summer so there are no surprises.
Normally when a company warns that it can't afford a payment, it's viewed as a worrying development. For China, though, attitudes are sanguine as this is viewed as a test case for how the government will deal with what should be a normal procedure.
That's because in China, it's not what normally happens. But as the country develops its financial sector, defaults and bankruptcies are part of the usual course of how markets operate.
Test for new market
The shadowy threat from China’s lenders
Wenzhou juts out from China's eastern coast in Zhejiang province. Its wide, tree-lined streets, dominated by huge modern buildings, give no hint of the turmoil that has gripped its economy in the past couple of years.
Wenzhou has been at the forefront of China's experiments with private industry since reforms began over 30 years ago. As a result, its average income is double that of China.
Beneath the surface of China's growth plans
On the surface, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang's speech at the annual meeting of the National People's Congress reiterates a growth target of 7.5% and inflation at 3.5%.
But there are subtle changes in emphasis that suggest that China may still be relying on credit to grow, despite the risks.
Ukraine on edge
As the situation in Ukraine deteriorates, political turmoil could lead to default, which looks likely, according to one of the major rating companies, S&P.
Another rating firm, Fitch, has downgraded the country from B to CCC, a pre-default level.
The curious case of China's falling yuan
The Chinese currency has had its biggest one-day fall, down nearly 1%, and has fallen 1.5% for the past week and a half. It is the biggest decline since 2005 when it introduced its new currency regime and moved away from a tight peg against the US dollar.
Dropping to 6.1 yuan to the dollar, the currency has broken a long-term trend of appreciation. Recall that it had been around 8 yuan to the dollar in 1994 when the exchange rate was set up.
Why on earth buy a football club?
The quip goes that it is relatively easy to take out £1m by being the owner of a football club. All you have to do is first put in £2m.
Since the English Premier League was formed in 1992, football finances have boomed to the extent that £1m is now small change. However, it is still the case that buying a football club is unlikely to yield much of a return. Despite the significant TV and other commercial revenues, football clubs in England's top flight still struggle to break even. This is ironic, given the goal of setting up the Premier League was to stabilise club finances.
The cost of making UK banking safer
To avoid another Icesave and taxpayer bank rescue, the Bank of England (BoE) is proposing new rules that negatively affect competition. The estimated effect is marginal but it's coming at a time when the UK needs more business lending in particular.
Since the financial crash, there have been two main goals in Britain's banking sector - to make banks safer, and to increase lending, partly by increasing the number of banks offering loans. So, is there a trade-off?
When will the global and UK economies recover?
When will the global and UK economies recover? Crucially, when will it feel like it and how sustainable is it? I decided to find out for The Editors, a programme that sets out to ask challenging questions.
The world economy is recovering, with the International Monetary Fund expecting growth of 3.7% this year, and Britain's growth is the highest since the crash.
The fashion business
We know that clothing is big business, but it may be surprising just how big.
The fashion industry's contribution to the British economy is an estimated £26bn - that's twice the size of the car industry's and nearly as big as the contribution from housing, according to the British Fashion Council.