Monthly Archives: February 2016

2016
02/29

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‘K’ Line, MOL credit ratings reviewed as profits slide

Two of Japan’s big three shipping lines sailed into the crosshairs of Moody’s ratings agency, with the outlook of Mitsui OSK. Lines being reviewed to negative and K Line heading for a downgrade as weaker than expected profitability clouded their 2016 prospects.

2016
02/28

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Credit Ratings

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S&P’s Cuts BHP Billiton’s Credit Ratings

Samp;Ps Cuts BHP Billitons Credit Ratings

(RTTNews.com) – BHP Billiton (BHP.AX, BLT.L, BBL, BHP) noted the announcement, 1 February 2016, by Standard amp; Poors that it has lowered the credit ratings of BHP Billiton Limited and BHP Billiton Plc from A+ to A.

The rating on BHP Billitons senior secured notes has been lowered from A+ to A and subordinated notes from A- to BBB+.

Standard amp; Poors noted that it recently lowered its price assumptions for iron ore, oil, and copper, reflecting very challenging market conditions and increased demand uncertainty over the coming years. It now forecasts that global diversified miner BHP Billiton could see its ratio of funds from operations to debt fall to 30%-40% over 2016 and 2017, well below threshold for an A+ rating.

2016
02/28

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Credit Ratings

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North Sea oilfield services company Proserv takes heavy credit ratings hit

North Sea oilfield services company Proserv takes heavy credit ratings hit

Samp;P says the companys creditworthiness is significantly deteriorating

2016
02/27

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Credit Cards

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Police find equipment used to skim credit cards after pulling man over for speeding

GREENE COUNTY , Ind. – State troopers found equipment used to skim credit cards after pulling over a man for reckless driving on I-69.

On Tuesday afternoon, police conducted a traffic stop of a vehicle traveling 105 miles per hour.

During the course of the traffic stop, troopers observed numerous indications that led them to believe the driver was involved in criminal activity.

Things just didnt add up, State Police Sgt. Rich Myers said.

It was discovered the vehicle was a rental, and the two occupants were not authorized to drive the car. The vehicle was impounded and an ISP K9 handler and his K9 partner were called to the scene.

After obtaining a search warrant for the vehicle, troopers located a compartment that contained a loaded firearm and equipment used to skim credit cards from gas pumps. Troopers also located four master skeleton keys used to unlock gas pump doors.

Jacob Smith, 20, of New Mexico, was taken into custody and the United States Secret Service was contacted regarding the located equipment.

Smith told officers the equipment was used to skim credit cards from gas pumps. Smith stated that once the skimmer on the gas pump is installed, information recorded on it can be retrieved by simply pulling into the parking lot and connecting via Bluetooth.

Smith was arrested and taken to the Greene County Jail without incident. He has been charged with possession of a skimming device, a level 6 felony, possession of a handgun without a permit, Class A misdemeanor, and reckless driving, Class B misdemeanor.

To be charged with a federal offense, a “skimming” case must reach a specific monetary or number of victims threshold.  Troopers will continue working with the US Secret Service regarding the amounts and victims related to this case.

Earlier this week, CBS4 spoke to Bloomington Police about the first card skimmers found inside gas pumps in the area. Those skimmers, found at two Bloomington Circle K stations and a Circle K in Bedford, were similar in style. Martinsville Police also reported a skimmer found at a Circle K back in late December.

Bloomington Police and Indiana State Police are working together to figure out if the skimmers belonged to Smith.

2016
02/27

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Credit Ratings

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Moody’s says Axiall’s ratings not impacted by Westlake bid; potential credit positive

New York, February 08, 2016 — Moodys said that Axiall Corporations ratings and outlook are not
immediately impacted by the announcement that it received and rejected
an unsolicited bid by Westlake Chemical Company to acquire Axiall for
$2.9 billion.

For more information, please refer to the Issuer Comment on moodys.com.

Axiall Corporation (Axiall, formerly known as Georgia Gulf Corporation)
is an Atlanta, Georgia (US)-based manufacturer of commodity
chemicals and building products.

This publication does not announce a credit rating action. For
any credit ratings referenced in this publication, please see the
ratings tab on the issuer/entity page on www.moodys.com
for the most updated credit rating action information and rating history.

Benjamin Nelson
Vice President – Senior Analyst
Corporate Finance Group
Moodys Investors Service, Inc.
250 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10007
USA.
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

Brian Oak
MD – Corporate Finance
Corporate Finance Group
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

Releasing Office:
Moodys Investors Service, Inc.
250 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10007
USA.
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

Moodys says Axialls ratings not impacted by Westlake bid; potential credit positive

2016
02/26

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Credit Cards

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LVIA traveler halted when screener finds 16 credit cards, cops say

A mans trip to Milwaukee has been delayed after screeners at Lehigh Valley International Airport found credit cards and drivers licenses belonging to other people in his luggage, police said.

Daniel Estevez, 36, of Corona, New York, is charged with 16 counts each of forgery and access device fraud. Estevez was sent to Lehigh County Jail in lieu of $150,000 bail, where he remained Wednesday afternoon.

Therapy dogs now on duty at LVIA terminal

The Lehigh Northampton Airport Authority police said Estevez was going through security Monday afternoon at the Hanover Township airport, when the X-ray machine detected liquids in his bags. Estevez was booked for a flight going from LVIA to Charlotte, then to Milwaukee.

A Transportation Security Administration agent checking the bag for the liquids also found the credit cards — four Visas and 12 Mastercards — and the drivers licenses, police said.

Sarah Cassi may be reached at scassi@lehighvalleylive.com. Follow her on Twitter @SarahCassi. Find lehighvalleylive.com on Facebook.

2016
02/26

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Credit Ratings

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Ecopetrol Takes Out Additional Financing, Sees Credit Ratings Downgraded

Colombian petroleum company Ecopetrol (BVC:ECOPETROL, NYSE:EC, TSX:ECP) announced Friday that it opened a $175 million USD ($578 billion COP) line of credit with The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ,Ltd. (NYSE:MUFG, TSE:MUFG) The loan was approved by Minhacienda, Colombia’s finance and public credit ministry by Authorization Resolution 168 of January 28,2016.

The credit line has a term of five years, amortizable for 2.5 years, with interest and principal payments to be made biannually (twice a year) at LIBOR+145 basis points. The terms are similar to the loan taken out by Ecopetrol in February of last year.

Meanwhile, Moody’s Investors Service downgraded Ecopetrol’s credit rating from Baa2 to Baa3 and placed the company’s outlook under review. While Ecopetrol remains investment grade under the new rating, the downgrade reflects a persistent environment of low oil prices, which will continue to negatively affect the company’s cash flow and financial indicators, said Moody’s. Ecopetrol’s baseline credit assessment was downgraded from Baa3 to ba3, and does not include implicit government support, said Moody’s.  While Ecopetrol is publicly traded, the government of Colombia maintains a controlling majority of shares in the company.

Standard amp; Poors has downgraded its outlook on Ecopetrol from stable to negative, yet the firm maintains Ecopetrol at a steady BBB credit rating. Ecopetrols stand-alone credit profile, which does not include the governments implicit support, was downgraded from bbb- to bb. This decision was based on the expectation that the companys credit metrics will likely be weaker because of lower hydrocarbon price assumptions by the rating agency.

Standard amp; Poors credited Ecopetrol for austerity and cost efficiency measures the company has taken to reduce the effects of the current low oil price environment. In a report, Standard amp; Poors observed that because of Ecopetrol’s importance, the company could likely count on backing from Colombia’s national government.

According to Standard amp; Poors, Ecopetrol’s liquidity resources for the next 12 months should be adequate, estimating that the sources of liquidity will exceed their uses by 1.2 times and as indicated by the Bank of Tokyo financing, should continue to have good access to market based financing resources.

2016
02/26

Category:
Credit Cards

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5 Credit Cards to Help You Pay Off Your Holiday Balances

By Jocelyn Baird, NextAdvisor.com

Its easy to go overboard during the holidays, especially when it comes to buying gifts and making travel-related purchases. Whether youve been preparing all year to purchase that big-ticket item or simply got a little too into the holiday spirit, you might find yourself needing a little extra time to pay it all off. Moving your balances to a card with a long 0% intro APR period can give you the time you need to pay them down without spending a small fortune on interest with your old, high-interest cards. While you may have to pay a balance transfer fee of about 3% or 5% of the total to complete the transfer, that one-time fee is nothing compared to the amount youre saving in interest. It should be noted that our top-rated balance transfer credit card, Chase Slate (detailed below), has a $0 intro balance transfer fee that allows you to pay no fee for transfers completed in the first 60 days. Whats more, many of these cards have extra perks, such as no annual fee — which is true for all the cards detailed below — or the ability to earn rewards for every purchase you make. Weve narrowed down the best options for balance transfer cards that holiday shoppers can take advantage of now for a great start to their new year.

Top credit cards for transferring your holiday balances

Chase Slate
Not only does Chase Slate offer a generous 15-month 0% intro APR period, plenty of time to chip away at your holiday debt, but you also wont pay a balance transfer fee if you transfer your balance within the first 60 days of card ownership. Additionally, no penalty APR means you wont see your interest go up if youre late on a payment — great for those of us who occasionally forget when their payment is due. Dont have excellent credit? No worries, Chase Slate accepts cardholders with merely good credit.

Citi Simplicity
Need as much time to pay your balance as possible? The Citi Simplicity card (a NextAdvisor advertiser) offers a 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for a whopping 21 months! There is a balance transfer fee ($5 or 3% of the total transferred, whichever is greatest), but youll still be saving plenty with no penalty fees or late fees to pay.

Discover it
If you want a card that earns cash back rewards combined with a generous 0% intro APR, then youll want to look into the Discover it (a NextAdvisor advertiser) credit card. Not only does this card offer users 5% cash back in quarterly rotating categories and 1% cash back on all other purchases, but right now Discover will double your earned cash back at the end of the year. So, if you earn $100 cash back during the year, at the end youll get it doubled to $200. And of course, this card is great for transferring your high balance thanks to a 16-month 0% intro APR on balance transfers (plus, you get a 6-month 0% intro APR on purchases). As with most cards, you will need to pay a balance transfer fee, which is 3% of the total transferred in this case.

BankAmericard
Looking for a simple yet convenient-to-use credit card with a long balance transfer intro APR? The BankAmericard (a NextAdvisor advertiser) offers just that with an 18-billing cycle 0% intro APR for balance transfers made within the first 60 days of card ownership. There is a balance transfer fee of 3% or $10, whichever is highest.

Chase Freedom
Another great choice for those who want to earn rewards and pay no interest for an extended period of time is Chase Freedom (a NextAdvisor advertiser). Theres a fantastic 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months (with a balance transfer fee of 3% or $5, whichever is greater), and you can earn a $150 bonus if you make $500 in purchases during your first 3 months of card membership. As far as cash back goes, users will earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 of combined purchases in rotating categories as well as unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. Top it off with a required credit rating of good and you have one well-rounded card.

Also, be sure to check out our balance transfer calculator to see how much these cards can actually save you.

Consider whether a personal loan may be a better alternative

If youve gotten yourself in deep with more than one card (or just have a hefty balance on one), a balance transfer might not be enough to protect you from high interest charges. After all, the longest you can hope for when it comes to 0% APR on balance transfers is 21 months. While a year and a half might be good enough for most, it might not work for some. Thats where a personal loan might come in handy, and you can learn about the differences between a personal loan versus a balance transfer by reading this blog post.

Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are authors alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This content was accurate at the time of this post, but card terms and conditions may change at any time. NextAdvisor.com may be compensated through the credit card issuer Affiliate Program.

This blog post was originally published on NextAdvisor.com.

2016
02/25

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Credit Cards

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Coronado’s new ‘smart’ parking meters accept credit cards

CORONADO, Calif. — Downtown Coronado is getting a street side update with electronic solar-powered parking meters replacing old, quarter-only meters.

For years, the city has been dealing with faulty meters that were either in need of repair or out of service.

“With these new meters, we shouldn’t have any issues with them not accepting coins, not operating properly,” Coronado Police Lt. Kevin Shank said.

Shank says once the smart meters are installed, users won’t have to worry their last bit of change will get swallowed up.

“If somebody says, ‘I put a quarter in the meter,’ we can actually verify that they put in a quarter in the meter and it lets us know the amount of coins they put in, if they try to use a credit card, those types of things,” Shank said.

The new meters have sensors that reset the time when someone leaves, prevent meter feeding and accept credit cards.

The nice thing about these meters is we’ve been relying on the public — with the old meters — to let us know the meters are not functioning properly. These meters will actually send us a message telling us it’s not working,” Shank said.

The last of the meters will be installed by late Thursday. Hourly rates will remain the same at 25 cents an hour. There will be a 35 cent charge for credit card payments.

Once the meters are in place, everybody will notice a significant difference in the reliability of the meters and the convenience of being able to put your money in and park and take care of business,” Shank said.

2016
02/25

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Credit Cards

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5 Credit Cards You Can Use Virtually Anywhere in the World

Are you a world traveler? One of the incredible benefits of credit cards is their ability to be accepted wherever you go. Nevertheless, not all credit cards are ideal for international travel. For example, many cards impose a 3% foreign transaction fee on all purchases processed outside of the US Plus, there are still credit cards that dont yet have EMV chips, which protect against in-store fraud and have been widely used in Europe for years. (Keep in mind, cards best suited to world travel are those that are authorized via Chip-and-PIN, not Chip-and-Signature, which is whats now coming into use to authenticate transactions in the US)

Beyond worldwide acceptance, there are plenty of benefits good travel credit cards offer that are nice to have. For example, a good card for international travelers might feature access to a worldwide airport lounge or offer travel insurance policies. Here are five credit cards that you can use just about anywhere you go.

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1. Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard

Barclaycard is one of the few card issuers that offers Chip-and-PIN-enabled cards, which generally ensures the card gets accepted at unattended credit card terminals in Europe (think train stations, gas stations and toll booths). Furthermore, this card has no foreign transaction fees. It also offers new applicants 40,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 within the first 90 days of account opening, and double miles on all purchases. Miles are worth one cent as statement credits towards travel reservations. Finally, cardholders receive 5% of their miles back when they redeem them; these miles can be used on your next redemption. There is an $89 annual fee for this card that is waived the first year.

2. The Platinum Card From American Express

The Amex Platinum card comes with a standard EMV chip and has no foreign transaction fees. For every dollar spent, cardholders earn one point in the American Express Membership Rewards program. Points can be redeemed for merchandise, gift cards, travel reservations, airline miles and more. Cardholders also receive access to the airport lounges in the Delta Sky, Airspace and Priority Pass Select networks. You also get access to the American Express Centurion lounges. Other benefits include a $200 annual airline fee credit, a $100 credit towards a Global Entry or TSA pre-screening application and travel insurance policies. There is a $450 annual fee for this card. You can see a full review of the Platinum Card here.

3. Citi Prestige Card

Like any good travel rewards card, the Citi Prestige offers an EMV chip and has no foreign transaction fees. (Full Disclosure: Citibank, Barclaycard, American Express and Chase advertise on Credit.com, but that results in no preferential editorial treatment.) In addition, cardholders earn 50,000 bonus points after making $3,000 in purchases within three months of account opening. When used for spending, you earn three ThankYou points per dollar spent on air travel and hotels, double points for dining out and entertainment expenses and one point per dollar spent on all other purchases. Points can be redeemed for merchandise, gift cards and electronics, among other things. They can also be transferred to participating hotel and airline loyalty programs. There is a $450 annual fee for this card. (You read a full review of the Citi Prestige card here.)

4. BankAmericard Travel Rewards Credit Card From Bank of America

Not every world traveler needs a card with an annual fee. For backpackers, foreign students and other more frugal world travelers, the BankAmericard Travel Rewards credit card offers an EMV chip and no foreign transaction fees. It doesnt have an annual fee either. New cardholders earn 20,000 bonus points after making $1,000 in purchases within 90 days of account opening, which can be redeemed for a $200 statement credit towards travel purchases. Cardholders also earn 1.5 points per dollar spent on all purchases, and these points dont expire. Other benefits include mobile banking, account alerts and text banking.

5. Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

This card has an EMV chip and no foreign transaction fees. New cardholders earn 50,000 points after spending $4,000 within three months of account opening. Double points are earned on all travel and dining charges. You earn one point per dollar spent elsewhere. Points are earned in Chases Ultimate Rewards program, and they can be redeemed for cash back, travel reservations, gift cards and more, or transferred to participating airline and hotel programs. This card also offers trip cancellation/interruption insurance and rental car coverage. There is a $95 annual fee for this card that is waived the first year. You can see a full review of the Chase Sapphire Preferred card here.

Remember, its a good idea to read any terms and conditions carefully to find the credit card thats right for you. Also, you may want to check your credit before you apply. A good credit score opens the door to more credit options. Plus, youll want to be sure your credit can handle the hard inquiry generated by a card application. You can see where your credit stands by viewing your free credit report summary, updated each month, on Credit.com.

At publishing time, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite, American Express Platinum and Citi Prestige credit cards are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply and ultimately sign up for these cards. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.

Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.

More on Credit Cards:

  • Credit.com’s Expert Credit Card Shopping Tips
  • An Expert Guide to Credit Cards With Rewards
  • How to Get a Credit Card With Good Credit

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