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Mar 26, 2015

Puerto Rico’s PREPA meets creditors; new financing offered

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Puerto Rico’s electric power authority
PREPA is trying to persuade creditors in a meeting on Thursday
to give it more time to overhaul its business, as some
bondholders push PREPA to accept new financing to avoid a
default, according to sources familiar with the negotiations.

At a meeting in New York, PREPA will argue that creditors,
who hold over $9 billion of its debt, should extend a
forbearance agreement that expires on March 31. Once the
agreement expires creditors have the right to accelerate their
claims, potentially forcing the utility into insolvency.

Mar 23, 2015

Puerto Rico hires former IMF staffers to boost disclosure

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Puerto Rico’s government has tasked former IMF employees to help move the U.S. territory to more rigorous financial disclosure standards typically used by sovereign nations to make them more appealing to buyers of emerging-market debt.

Investors have been calling for consolidated financial reporting across all government entities, including the shaky pension system, that would give a more accurate picture of Puerto Rico’s liabilities and cash needs. The U.S. commonwealth is expected to sell $2.95 billion of bonds in May.

Mar 18, 2015

Key regulator shows no sign on budging on muni bank rule

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A key U.S. regulator said on Wednesday
it supports banks making prudent investments in the U.S.
municipal bond market but showed no indication it would soften
its stance on refusing to allow banks to include muni bonds as
liquid assets.

Regulators in September issued rules that banks must hold
enough easy-to-sell assets in case of a crisis. Municipal bonds,
used by U.S. localities to fund infrastructure investments and
other spending, were not included in the buffer.

Mar 13, 2015

Suspension of a Treasury facility seen slowing municipal refunding

NEW YORK, March 13 (Reuters) – The U.S. Treasury confirmed
on Friday that it had indefinitely shuttered a key facility used
to refinance debt in the $3.7 trillion municipal bond market in
a move set to slow a surge of new bond issuance that has
inundated the market this year.

The suspension of the issuance of State and Local Government
Series (SLGS) securities, known as the “slugs window”, as of
noon on Friday was ordered by the Treasury as a temporary
extension to the U.S. government’s borrowing limit expires on
Sunday with little sign Congress will act to extend it promptly.

Mar 11, 2015

Wall St. bonuses rise to $28.5 billion; jobs up for first time since 2011

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The Wall Street bonus pool rose to $28.5 billion last year, and the industry added jobs for the first time since 2011 even as profits in the securities sector fell, New York state’s budget watchdog said on Wednesday.

This was a 3 percent increase compared with $27.6 last year. According to the state comptroller, the average bonus on Wall Street was up 2 percent to $172,860. Bonuses rose as pretax profits at the broker-dealer operations of New York Stock Exchange member firms fell 4.5 percent to $16 billion.

Feb 24, 2015

Puerto Rico residents sue power authority, allege fraud

NEW YORK, Feb 24 (Reuters) – Local residents and businesses
sued Puerto Rico’s Electric Power Authority (PREPA) in federal
court on Tuesday, alleging fraud in the fuel oil procurement
process that plaintiffs said resulted in island residents being
overcharged by more than $1 billion.

The lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Puerto Rico accuses
PREPA, one of the largest U.S. public utilities, of taking
kickbacks to accept millions of barrels of fuel oil from
suppliers that did not meet contract requirements or federal
environmental standards.

Feb 19, 2015

Connecticut governor proposes $753 million in budget cuts

NEW YORK, Feb 18 (Reuters) – Connecticut’s governor
announced a budget on Wednesday that slashes state spending by
$753 million over the next two years, delays scheduled tax cuts
and closes tax loopholes for corporations.

The budget proposal highlights the continued struggles
Connecticut faces after five years of disappointing economic
recovery. The state’s performance has been among the worst in
the nation with slow revenues and high fixed costs putting a
strain of the state’s coffers.

Feb 11, 2015

Puerto Rico may delay bond deal of at least $2 bln to early Q2 -GDB

NEW YORK, Feb 11 (Reuters) – Puerto Rico may push back a
planned bond sale of at least $2 billion until early in the
second quarter as lawmakers amend legislation governing the
deal, president of the U.S. commonwealth’s Government
Development Bank said on Wednesday.

One amendment that removes an interest rate cap for
investors was passed on Tuesday, and lawmakers are considering
another amendment to link the oil tax backing the bonds to
inflation. The amendments are needed to make the sale, which had
been expected to be completed in March, more attractive to hedge
fund investors.

Feb 9, 2015

Puerto Rico to appeal restructuring law ruling

SAN JUAN/NEW YORK, Feb 9 (Reuters) – Puerto Rico said on
Monday it would appeal a U.S. ruling that voided the island’s
restructuring law, saying it left the U.S. commonwealth in legal
limbo and struggling to find a way to manage its debt load.

Late on Friday, a federal judge ruled that Puerto Rico’s
so-called Recovery Act, which made some of its agencies eligible
for court-supervised debt restructuring, violated the U.S.
constitution by allowing a state government to modify municipal
debt.

Feb 9, 2015

Puerto Rico GO bonds fall, PREPA rallies after court ruling

NEW YORK, Feb 9 (Reuters) – Puerto Rico’s benchmark general
obligation bonds hit a record low in early trading on Monday,
while the island’s power authority bonds rallied after a federal
court struck down a law enabling the commonwealth’s public
corporations to default.

The ruling late on Friday by a U.S. District Court dealt a
blow to Puerto Rico’s efforts to ring-fence the government from
debt of around $20 billion in several large public corporations
covered under the so-called Recovery Act.

    • About Edward

      "Ed Krudy leads a team covering the U.S. equity market from New York, where he has been since 2009. Prior to that he set up Thomson's new bureau in Budapest, where he initiated coverage of economic, political, market and company news."
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