World govt debt 'seen to keep rising this year'
The US, China, Brazil and India are expected to keep world government debt rising this year, Standard and Poor's said, despite a small reduction in the annual global borrowing bill.
The rating agency released a new report saying the stock of global government debt was set to rise 2 per cent to US$42.4 trillion (S$59.4 trillion), with new borrowing of US$6.7 trillion set to continue to outstrip the amounts being repaid.
A number of major countries are behind the underlying trend. US borrowing is set to rise 8 per cent or US$163 billion year on year, while world No. 2 economy China is forecast to ramp its borrowing 18 per cent or US$51 billion.
Aussie central bank keeps rates steady
Australia's central bank held its policy nerve in the face of global easing and financial market upheaval that is frustrating efforts to shift the economy away from mining.
Yet it reiterated that limited price pressure provides scope to ease rates further.
Reserve Bank of Australia governor Glenn Stevens and his board left the cash rate at 2 per cent yesterday.
Two new power trading exchanges in China
China launched two power trading exchanges on Tuesday, in line with the government's efforts to free up electricity prices in the country, although some experts see the move as insufficient to reshape the sector.
China wants to eventually get its dominant grid operators - the State Grid Corp of China and China Southern Power Grid - to segregate their transmission and distribution businesses.
It has already launched pilot reform programmes in seven provinces that allow generators to make sales deals directly with consumers.
Small business borrowing in US down
US small business borrowing fell 13 per cent in January to the lowest level in more than a year, data released yesterday showed, a fresh sign that economic growth could weaken in the coming months.
The Thomson Reuters/PayNet Small Business Lending Index registered 118.2 in January, the lowest level since November 2014.
The PayNet index typically corresponds to US gross domestic product growth one or two quarters ahead.