IMF sounds alarm over $164 trillion global debt pile

In its latest Fiscal Monitor, the Fund estimates that global debt now stands at 225 per cent of GDP, up from its previous peak of 213 per cent in 2009
The International Monetary Fund has returned to its warnings about global debt, highlighting in its latest report that leverage across the planet is now higher than it was before the global financial crisis.
In its latest Fiscal Monitor, the Fund estimates that global debt now stands at $164 trillion, equivalent to 225 per cent of GDP, up from a previous peak of 213 per cent in 2009.
Read more IMF boss warns trade protectionism will only hurt the world’s poorest UK economic growth for 2019 downgraded by IMF China’s debt boom is ‘dangerous’, warns IMF “Countries with elevated government debt are vulnerable to a sudden tightening of global financing conditions, which could disrupt market access and jeopardize economic activity,” it said.
The warning makes for a change of tone from the Fund’s report a year ago. At that stage, the Fund..

South Africa to Investigate 2 A.N.C. Officials in Farm Corruption Case

South Africa to Investigate 2 A.N.C. Officials in Farm Corruption Case Photo Ace Magashule, secretary general of the African National Congress, was the premier of the province of Free State from 2009 to this year. Credit Joao Silva/The New York Times JOHANNESBURG — A top corruption inspector in South Africa has announced that she will investigate two high-ranking African National Congress politicians in a case related to the abuse of public funds for a dairy farm — a rare sign that powerful members of the governing party could be held to account for endemic corruption under former President Jacob Zuma.
The inspector, Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane, said on Tuesday that the inquiry would focus on Ace Magashule, secretary general of the A.N.C, and Mosebenzi Joseph Zwane, the former minister of mineral resources — the two officials behind the dairy farm project in Vrede, in the province of Free State. Prosecutors describe the project, which was meant to help struggling black farmers,..

UK house prices rise 4.4% but economists warn property market slowdown is underway

Official measure of housing market health beginning to reflect the slowdown recorded in other closely watched statistics
Average UK house prices rose 4.4 per cent to £225,000, new official figures show, but economists warned a slowdown in the property market was underway.
Prices in London fell 1 per cent in the year to February 2018, continuing a slump, the Office for National Statistics revealed on Wednesday. Month-on-month, prices across the UK were up 0.2 per cent.
The official measure of house price growth has recently begun to reflect the slowdown recorded in other closely watched statistics. The ONS house price figures can lag other data by as much as a year because they reflect completed transactions, rather than mortgage offers or asking prices.
Read more UK house prices fall in February for first time since last May The Nationwide building society reported an average house price for March of £211,625, equating to an annual rise of 2.2 per cent, but prices have remained ..

Hammerson ditches £3.4bn Intu takeover amid bleak outlook for UK retail

Deal would have created the UK’s biggest property company with an international portfolio worth around £21bn
Shopping centre owner Hammerson has ditched its £3.4bn takeover of rival Intu as the outlook for the UK’s retail sector becomes increasingly bleak.
The Birmingham Bullring owner announced an all-share deal for Intu – which owns the Trafford Centre in Manchester – in December, but said on Wednesday that the proposed acquisition was no longer in the best interests of shareholders.
Hammerson’s shares were up almost 3 per cent in morning trading, while Intu’s slipped 4 per cent.
Read more Hammerson share price hammered after Klepierre drops takeover bid ​Hammerson said its own business had been resilient but “the equity market's perception of the broader UK retail property market has deteriorated since the start of the year”.
The company said this meant that its own share price was too low.
“This perception has been intensified by market concerns over the extended peri..