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Puerto Rico dodges debt bullet

Debt-laden Puerto Rico successfully issued $3.5 billion worth of bonds Tuesday in an effort to stave off default long enough for the US territory to right its finances. But the fresh fundraising came at a high cost, with the bonds sold at a yield of 8.727 percent, reflecting market concerns the Caribbean island will still struggle to turn around its situation. The Government Development Bank said it had increased the offering by $500 million due to strong demand, with bids from investors totaling $16 billion.

Spain struggles to pull together multibillion euro highway bail-out

By Sonya Dowsett and Jose Elías Rodríguez MADRID (Reuters) - The Spanish government is working against the clock to reach a deal with builders over a multibillion euro bail-out for nine bankrupt motorways which could directly hit the country's deficit. Talks that have dragged on for months were abandoned at the end of last year, but have now resumed in the hope of finding a solution before the first of the companies starts liquidation proceedings in about a month.

Hope vs. Death:Alberta legislature to resume with existential debate on debt

EDMONTON - Alberta politicians return to work Monday at the legislature to resume what is becoming an annual political-existential debate over the definition of debt. Is debt the destroyer of worlds, a "trap" that "has proven the death of countless dreams" as Alison Redford told the legislature in her maiden speech as premier in October 2011? Is it a "parochial" issue when set against the visionary quest to build a dynamic province, as Redford told reporters last March, a day before her government announced it was taking on $17 billion in debt?

Italy PM Renzi wins confidence vote, pledging tax cuts, reform

By James Mackenzie and Naomi O'Leary ROME (Reuters) - Prime Minister Matteo Renzi won his first confidence vote in parliament, pledging to cut labour taxes, free up funds for investment in schools and pass wide institutional reforms to tackle Italy's economic malaise. Facing parliament for the first time, the 39-year-old Renzi who is Italy's youngest premier, sketched out an ambitious program of change in an hour-long speech delivered in his trademark quickfire style interspersed with occasional jeers from the opposition benches.

National debt surpasses 1,200 tln won: FKI

SEOUL, Feb. 25 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's national debt, including that of public companies, reached 1,218 trillion won (US$1,135 billion) in 2012, or roughly 95 percent of the country's GDP, the country's largest federation of business groups said Tuesday. The findings released by Korea Economic Research Institute, the research arm of the Federation of Korean Industries (FKI), showed that the total debt size is 2.7 times larger than the government debt that stood at 443.1 trillion won for the one-year period.

National debt surpasses 1,200 tln won: FKI

SEOUL, Feb. 25 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's national debt, including that of public companies, reached 1,218 trillion won (US$1,135 billion) in 2012, or roughly 95 percent of the country's GDP, the country's largest federation of business groups said Tuesday. The findings released by Korea Economic Research Institute, the research arm of the Federation of Korean Industries (FKI), showed that the total debt size is 2.7 times larger than the government debt that stood at 443.1 trillion won for the one-year period.

Fake bills fall 58.4 pct in 2013

SEOUL, Feb. 24 (Yonhap) -- The number of counterfeit South Korean banknotes declined 58.4 percent in 2013 from a year earlier due to increased public awareness and crackdown efforts by authorities, the central bank said Monday. The number of counterfeit bills reported to the central bank reached 3,585 last year, compared with 8,627 the previous year, according to the Bank of Korea (BOK). Currently, the 50,000 won (US$45) note, first issued in June 2009, is the country's highest denomination, followed by 10,000 won, 5,000 won and 1,000 won notes.

Business Highlights

___ Olympians tiptoe around sponsorship ban SOCHI, Russia (AP) — Want to see the glasses and goggles that aerials skier Lydia Lassila and snowboarder Lindsey Jacobellis wore at the Sochi Olympics? Too bad. Manufacturer Bolle's website blurs out the faces of competitors at the Sochi Games. It is part of an extreme application of regulations meant to make sure that companies, like Bolle, that are not sponsors of the Olympics don't get free advertising from the games.

S. Korea's public sector debt totals 821.1 tln won in 2012: gov't data

SEJONG, Feb. 14 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's public sector debt amounted to more than 820 trillion won (US$768.9 billion) in 2012, government data showed Friday, renewing worries over the financial health of public organizations. According to the data provided by the finance ministry, the public sector debt owed by central and provincial governments and non-financial state-run enterprises came to 821.1 trillion won as of end-2012. The amount represents 64.5 percent of the country's gross domestic product.

Canada headed for budget surplus in 2015 election

Canada's conservative government pegged its re-election hopes Tuesday on a return to a budgetary surplus, while unveiling spending for a bridge, car manufacturing and pipelines to boost exports. Prime Minister Stephen Harper must defend their parliamentary majority next year and he hopes to campaign as leader of the first G7 power to balance its books since the global slump. But, with an economy that is largely export-driven, any stumble in the global recovery could jeopardize this goal.
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