04 May 2007 02:05 [Source: ICIS news]
Asahi Shimbun, Japan (online edition) ?xml:namespace>
Rising crude oil prices, falling yen push up costs at gasoline stations
The cost of gasoline is rising again nationwide following a recent hike in crude oil prices.
Oil refiners and distributors raised wholesale prices Tuesday by about yen (Y) 5 (4.15 cents) per litre, and some gas stations have already passed on this increase to their customers.
Setagaya election winner caught out
Manabu Mori, who won a seat in the Setagaya Ward assembly election last month, was thrown on the defensive Wednesday after it was learned he misrepresented his work history in an official election bulletin.
Mori, 38, said he once held the post of first secretary at the Japanese Embassy in Luxemburg, but his actual post was that of third secretary. Mori blamed a slip in memory for the error.
Business & Industry
Dodge coming back to Japan
Dodge, a core brand of DaimlerChrysler AG's North American Chrysler division, will be reintroduced in Japan.
Bringing back the Dodge means DaimlerChrysler will soon have three separate Chrysler brands sold on the Japanese market. The Jeep and the Chrysler are already sold here.
Plan eyed to avert Asia currency crisis
Finance ministers from Japan, China, South Korea and 10 Southeast Asian countries meeting in Kyoto this weekend are expected to agree to start negotiations on ways to avert a recurrence of the currency crisis that plagued the region in 1997-98.
Largest oilfield in 4 decades discovered
China's newly found oilfield in Bohai Bay has a reserve of 1bn tonnes, or about 7.35bn barrels, the largest discovery in the country over four decades, announced the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) Thursday.
The oilfield lies in the Nanpu block of the CNPC's Jidong Oilfield in Caofeidian in Tangshan City, north China's Hebei Province, said the company.
China to reduce and forgive Iraqi debts
Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi announced in Egypt on Thursday that the Chinese government is ready to substantially reduce and forgive the debts owed by Iraq while giving a grant of yuan (CNY) 50m ($6.49m) to Iraq in 2007.
The grant will be used to provide assistance in Iraq's public health and education, Yang said at a ministerial meeting of the International Compact with Iraq (ICI) opened in the day at this Egyptian Red Sea resort.
Business & Industry
Service sector to grow 20%
China's service trade is expected to grow by more than 20% annually by 2010, according to senior official with the Ministry of Commerce.
Trade in services would be a priority for China's economic development, said Hu Jingyan, head of the ministry's department of service trade.
Holidays 'worth more than gold'
About 1.6bn travellers! More than CNY670bn ($86bn) contributed to the economy. And boom time for airlines, railways and bus operators, tourism and trade, and restaurants and hotels!
The ongoing May Day Golden Week holidays, for instance, will see an estimated 150m people travelling across the country.
DPP debate highlights issue of nationhood
The four candidates vying for the Democratic Progressive Party's presidential nomination exchanged fire on national identity positions in a final debate last night, but all called for unified support for the final nominee in the general election against the Kuomintang nominee and former chairman Ma Ying-jeou.
CEPD plans to connect THSR, downtown areas
The country's top economic planning agency is considering ways of improving the transportation network in major cities to incorporate the new high-speed rail system, an official said yesterday.
According to a representative of the Cabinet-level Council for Economic Planning and Development, passengers traveling on bullet trains face the problem of not being able to easily connect between the high-speed rail stations, which are located mostly in suburban areas, to the more populated areas of the cities.
Business & Industry
Increasingly wealthy Asia seen posing next challenge to ADB
Perhaps the Asian Development Bank is doing its job too well. With the vast majority of Asia projected to escape poverty in 15 years, a development bank chartered four decades ago to end poverty is now struggling to stay relevant.
TI plans to spend US$1bn on Manila operation expansion
Texas Instruments of the US said yesterday it will spend $1bn to expand its Philippines-based operations in what is believed to be the biggest single investment of its type in the country.
Analysts said the announcement was a vote of confidence in the country's economic outlook, which has been improving over the past few years, and something of a coup given the attractions of China for such investment.
Prosecutors raid GNP leader's office
Prosecution investigators on Wednesday raided Grand National Party leader Kang Jae-sup's office in his constituency of Daegu over allegations that one of his aides paid fines on behalf of 12 party members convicted of violating the election law in 2005.
The widening investigation came as Kang is trying to quell an internal feud triggered by the party's recent electoral debacle in the wake of a series of corruption scandals.
3 Daewoo workers abducted in Nigeria
An armed group in Nigeria abducted 12 workers including three South Koreans at a South Korean oil company's power plant construction site in Port Harcourt, the Foreign Ministry here said yesterday. This is the second time this year Koreans have fallen victim to rampant kidnapping by militant groups in the politically-unstable country.
Business & Industry
FTC approves POSCO's Hankook Core acquisition
The Fair Trade Commission has granted POSCO permission to acquire Hankook Core, on condition that the steel maker does not give the company priority in receiving supplies.
The FTC said yesterday that it has given POSCO operating guidelines concerning its acquisition of the controlling shares in Hankook Core, the country's leading producer of magnetic cores for electric motors. POSCO, the world's fourth-largest steelmaker, is the country's only producer of laminated silicon steel, which is required in manufacturing motor cores.
Doosan Group closer to creating holding company
Doosan Group, one of the oldest family-run conglomerates in the country, said yesterday it has terminated the long-held circulatory shareholdings among affiliates, moving a step closer to adopting a holding company structure.
The family that owns Doosan Group has bought a total of 8.4% stake in Doosan Corp., the group's controlling firm, from its two affiliates - Doosan Infracore and Doosan Engine, the company said through a press release.
After the tough talk, the olive branch
Two months after cracking the whip on cement producers and iron ore exporters to cool rising prices, Finance Minister P Chidambaram today relaxed partly the excise duty on cement and the export tax on iron ore.
Replying to the debate on the Finance Bill in the Lok Sabha, Chidambaram said the specific excise duty of Indian rupee (Rs) 600 ($14.70) per tonne on cement sold at more than Rs190 a bag (of 50 kg) would be replaced with an ad valorem duty of 12%. This, he said, will reduce the incidence of excise by Rs7 a bag.
Wockhardt pays $265m for French buy
In the third-largest overseas acquisition by an Indian pharmaceutical company, Mumbai-based Wockhardt has announced that it is buying the entire equity of Paris-based Negma Laboratories for $265m (Rs10.87bn) in an all-cash deal.
Negma, which raked in $150m (Rs6.15bn) as turnover last year, holds 172 patents and sells three patented drugs in France.
Economy & Policy
Evasion, sops hit excise mop-up, admits FM
Finance Minister P Chidambaram today blamed tax evasion and exemption for the lower growth in excise duty collections.
Excise revenues have grown 8.1%, 12.6% and 5.9%, respectively, in the last three years and have not kept pace with the growth in the manufacturing sector.
HC restrains RIL from selling gas
The Bombay High Court has restrained Reliance Industries, India’s largest non-state company, from selling gas from its field off the country’s east coast to any company other than Reliance Natural Resources.
Reliance Industries plans to appeal, the company said in an e-mailed statement today. Reliance is slated to start producing gas from the field in Krishna Godavari basin in June 2008. The restriction on Reliance Industries may benefit Reliance Energy, which plans to build the world’s largest gas-fired power plant in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.
Unit trusts pull in net S$1.17bn in first quarter
Asset flows into unit trusts in Singapore perked up in the first quarter, as strong equity markets boosted net inflows to the strongest level yet since analysis company Lipper began to track fund flows in the first quarter of 2006.
Between January and March, the unit trust sector saw a net increase of Singapore dollar (S$) 1.17bn ($768.7m), compared to just S$83.9m in the preceding quarter. In the whole of 2006, the highest quarterly net inflow was about S$884m in the first quarter.
Russian group jostles for ST Telemedia's stake in Indosat
Some light has been shed on the recent media and public siege on ST Telemedia over its stake in Indosat, Indonesia's second-largest telecommunications company.
According to various sources, the Singapore company may be the target of a pressure campaign by parties keen to edge it out of Indonesia's lucrative telecom turf.
Business & Industry
PM Lee urges US to build up trade links with S-E Asia
Singapore wants the US to build up its trading links with South-east Asia and continue to engage in the region, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong told US Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez yesterday.
Key Singapore economic barometer dips
After 12 months of continuous expansion, Singapore's manufacturing economy contracted for the first time in April due to lower new orders and declining production levels, although some economists and industry watchers expect the decline to be short-lived.
The closely watched Singapore Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) posted a reading of 49.7 in April, a 1.4-point fall over March. A reading above 50 indicates that the manufacturing economy is generally expanding, while a reading below 50 signals a general decline.
Sitthichai challenges 'bully' Google
The Information and Communications Technology Ministry will sue YouTube.com for running a video clip offending the monarchy, and accused the Internet operator of lying when it claimed it could not remove the clip. Google opened an office in Singapore.
Minister Sitthichai Pookaiyaudom told a meeting of webmasters yesterday that he would proceed with court action as suggested by the forum.
KRC predicts IP trade problems
Forget the soothing assurances from government and industry, a leading think tank said on Thursday. The decision by the United States to put Thailand on its "priority watch list" for intellectual property piracy will directly affect trade and investment in this country.
Business & Industry
ICT minister calms fears ahead of ruling
The information and communications technology minister is reassuring mobile-phone operators and their creditors that it will be business as usual and their concessions will not be terminated, as the ruling on their concession extensions by the Council of State nears. ICT Minister Sitthichai Pookaiya-udom met yesterday with Advanced Info Service executives, led by chairman Somprasong Boonyachai. Also invited were representatives of the major holders of AIS bonds (the Government Pension Fund and the Social Security Fund) as well as a number of its creditor financial institutions.
PTT pushes forward with investment plan
PTT Plc, the state-owned oil-and-gas conglomerate, is committed to moving ahead with a huge investment of baht (Bt) 500bn-600bn ($15.2bn-18.3bn) in many key petroleum-based projects over the next five years despite the uncertain economic and political outlook. President Prasert Bunsumpun said that although businesses today were facing several hurdles, investment by PTT and its subsidiaries would continue as planned since most were long-term ventures and could help spur economic growth.
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