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Ukraine state debt to rise to 53 percent of GDP by year-end: Finance Minister

KIEV (Reuters) - Ukrainian state debt is likely to rise to 52.7 percent of Gross Domestic Product by the end of this year from 42.9 percent in January 2014, Ukrainian Finance Minister Oleksander Shlapak said on Wednesday. "Because of the rise in the dollar rate state debt could increase to 52.7 percent of GDP," Shlapak told reporters. (Reporting By Natalia Zinets; writing by Pavel Polityuk)

Lawmakers press Obama administration on Sallie Mae contract renewal

By Elvina Nawaguna WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. lawmakers on Thursday grilled an Obama administration official on the government's decision to renew a contract with student loan servicing company SLM Corp, the subject of numerous government investigations. Massachusetts Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren said during the hearing, before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, that the company had violated consumer protection laws but not held accountable.

US hails IMF support to 'stabilise' Ukraine

The White House on Thursday hailed the promise of an International Monetary Fund bailout for Ukraine, saying it was a key part of a package of aid to help political and economic transition in the former Soviet republic. "This represents a powerful sign of support from the international community for the Ukrainian government, as we help them stabilise and grow their economy, and move their democracy forward," spokesman Jay Carney said during US President Barack Obama's visit to Rome.

Nearly 250,000 debtors bailed out by state relief fund

SEOUL, March 27 (Yonhap) -- Nearly 250,000 debtors in South Korea have been bailed out via state debt relief programs in the past year, the financial regulator said Thursday, amid criticism that such assistance creates moral hazard. The Seoul government has helped some 249,000 debtors reduce their financial liabilities in the 12 months leading up to the end of March through the National Happiness Fund launched on March 29 last year, according to the Financial Services Commission (FSC).

Banks' lending rates fall in Feb.

SEOUL, March 27 (Yonhap) -- South Korean banks' lending rates declined in February after rising for three straight months as housing lending rates fell, the central bank said Thursday. The average rate for new loans to households and firms stood at 4.58 percent last month, down 0.04 percentage point from the previous month, according to the Bank of Korea (BOK). The BOK froze the key interest rate at 2.5 percent for the 10th straight month in February after making its first rate cut in seven months in May last year.

Mexico backs Argentina's U.S. legal battle with "vulture funds"

Mexico City, Mar 26 (EFE).- Mexico is supporting Argentina in its long-running legal dispute with "vulture funds" that hold the South American country's defaulted debt, filing an amicus curiae brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of Buenos Aires' motion to overturn lower-court decisions favoring the bond holdouts. The decision to file the friend-of-the-court brief was "due to the implications the rulings questioned by Argentina could have for international sovereign debt markets," Mexico's finance ministry said.

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Standard & Poor's cut Brazil's credit rating Monday by one notch, citing the government's unclear policy signals as it faces a weaker fiscal situation and slower growth. S&P put Brazil's rating at BBB-, the lowest level for investment grade debt, and called the outlook stable. S&P said the rating cut reflects "slippage" in the government's fiscal balance and the prospects that slow growth over the coming years will leave the government less able to strengthen the balance.

Heavy debtors' liabilities edge up in 2013

SEOUL, March 23 (Yonhap) -- The average liabilities held by South Korea's heavy debtors edged up on-year in 2013, data showed Sunday, casting further clouds over the country's economy amid mounting household debts. South Koreans who have borrowed money from more than three financial firms saw their average debt reach 96.2 million at end-2013, gradually expanding every year since the 88.3 million won posted in 2010, the data compiled by the Bank of Korea (BOK) showed.

Brazil, Mexico, France to back Argentina in bonds case in U.S. court

By Lawrence Hurley WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Brazil, France and Mexico are expected to file papers in the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday backing Argentina in its legal battle with bondholders who refused to take part in debt restructurings from the country's 2002 default, according to a source familiar with the litigation.

Lower UK gilt issuance reflects new pensioner bond, says debt agency head

By Ana Nicolaci da Costa LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's plans to sell fewer bonds than forecast in the coming financial year partly reflects the introduction of a new pensioner bond, the head of the country's debt agency said on Wednesday. The UK Debt Management Office said earlier that Britain would sell 128.4 billion pounds ($213 billion) of government bonds in the 2014/15 fiscal year, down from 153.4 billion pounds in 2013/14 and below a forecast of 150.5 billion pounds in a Reuters poll.
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