Business & Finance

Heavily indebted Global Crossing was scheduling meetings next week to try to win over its lenders for an attempt to raise $2 billion in new equity funding, the Financial Times reported. The Bermuda-based telecommunications giant is nearing completion of a worldwide fiber-optic network but has been struggling to generate enough revenue in a down market to meet its obligations on more than $10 billion in debt and convertible preferred stock. The Financial Times said Global Crossing has told employees it has enough cash to continue operating at least through the end of 2002. But a bankruptcy filing, if one became necessary, would be the industry's largest to date.

A new, six-month cut in oil exports is expected to be announced today by OPEC following an emergency meeting in Cairo. The drop, likely in the range of 1.5 million barrels a day, would take effect Jan. 1 and would attempt to push futures prices for crude back above $20 while at the same time discouraging the buildup of surplus stockpiles by importing nations in the second quarter of 2002.

After spending Christmas briefing political leaders on his plans to jump-start the Argentine economy, caretaker President Adolfo Rodriguez Saa was to announce them in full to the public as the Monitor went to press. Central to his strategy is the introduction of a new third currency, the Argentino, with which he expects to pay for 1 million extra government jobs that will help lower the nation's 20 percent unemployment rate. The Argentino is intended to circulate alongside the peso and the US dollar beginning early next month, although critics see it as little more than a quick fix for an economy now in its fourth straight year of recession. Rodriguez Saa has said he intends to preserve the longstanding one peso-to-$1 convertability ratio, however. And international lenders already have warned that any attempt to shift the government bonds they hold into a currency other than the dollar would be unacceptable.

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