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They can be issued by companies, banks or governments to raise money. BRIC An acronym used to describe the fast-growing economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China.

Bull market A bull market is one in which prices are generally rising and investor confidence is high.

Austerity can be achieved through increases in government revenues - primarily via tax rises - and/or a reduction in government spending or future spending commitments.

BBailout The financial rescue of a struggling borrower.

Assets Things that provide income or some other value to their owner.

Fixed assets (also known as long-term assets) are things that have a useful life of more than one year, for example buildings and machinery; there are also intangible fixed assets, like the good reputation of a company or brand.

It allows them to continue as a going concern, under supervision, giving them the opportunity to try to work their way out of difficulty.

Administration A rescue mechanism for UK companies in severe trouble.

If a bank writes off a loss on one of its assets - for example, if it makes a loan that is not repaid - then the bank must also write off a corresponding amount of its capital.

If a bank runs out of capital, then it is insolvent, meaning it does not have enough assets to repay its debts.

This means the lenders must accept that some of their loans will never be repaid, and the borrower is freed of its debts.

Bankruptcy varies greatly from one country to another, some countries have laws that are very friendly to borrowers, while others are much more friendly to lenders.