In Friday's Asia papers

13 July 2007 02:00  [Source: ICIS news]

Asahi Shimbun, Japan (online edition)

Front page

 

Politicians and voters have different ideas about how to run the country

Major disparities have emerged between the policy priorities of Upper House election candidates and the concerns of ordinary voters, according to a survey by The Asahi Shimbun and the University of Tokyo.

Asked to name the most important issue in the July 29 election, ruling Liberal Democratic Party candidates were split along three main lines: 31% chose social security, while 15% each picked education and regional development.

 

Survey: 10% of workers at small, medium-sized companies think about suicide

At least 10% of workers at small and medium-sized businesses in Tokyo had thought about committing suicide in the past year, a recent survey found.

The survey also showed that more than 25% of the respondents can be considered in a state of depression as a gloomy mood may be spreading over corporate society as a whole, experts warn.

 

Business & Industry

 

Seven-Eleven overtakes McDonald's in number of outlets around world

Seven-Eleven Japan Co on Wednesday said the convenience store giant has overtaken McDonald's Corp. as the world's largest chain operator in terms of outlet numbers.

Seven-Eleven was tops in the world as of March 31, when it was operating 32,208 outlets in 17 nations and regions around the world, the company said.

 

BEVERAGES: Beer consumption at lowest since '92

Shipments of beer and beer-like beverages with a lower malt content fell to their lowest level since 1992 in the six months through June, industry statistics showed Wednesday.

The nation's five major brewers shipped 226.29m cases of regular beer, happoshu low-malt beer and so-called third-beer products, down 1.9% from a year earlier.

 

China Daily, China (online edition)

Front page

 

Unit by unit,energy use improving

Energy consumption per unit of GDP last year fell for the first time since 2003, according to official figures - in a clear signal that conservation measures are beginning to pay off.

Despite 11.1% GDP growth last year, energy consumption per unit of GDP fell by 1.33% for the whole year, compared to a 0.8% rise in the first half. Energy usage was 9.61 percent higher than in 2005.

 

Govt increases funds for flood relief

The government allocated a further CNY95m ($12.5m) yesterday to fund disaster-relief work in flood-hit Anhui, Henan, Hubei, Sichuan and Shaanxi provinces, a spokesman for the Ministry of Civil Affairs said.

The government had already earmarked CNY232m on Wednesday for these areas.

 

Business & Industry

 

Boosting home demand key to curbing trade surplus

Expanding domestic demand is key to curbing China's soaring trade surplus, according to a report published by People’s Daily today.

China's trade surplus continues to grow in absence of a series of tightening measures.

 

June FDI rises 21.91% to $6.63b

China, the fastest-growing major economy in the world, saw actual foreign direct investment (FDI) hit $6.63bn in June, an increase of 21.91% year-on-year, the Ministry of Commerce said.

In May, actual FDI reached $4.90bn, up 8.65% compared with the same period last year, the ministry said. FDI rose 12.2% in the first half of this year to $31.9bn from a year earlier.

 

Taiwan News, Taiwan (online edition)

Front page

 

Major airport rail projects to start soon, bureau says

All major construction work on the Taoyuan Airport Rail Line will begin by mid-November, the Bureau of High Speed Rail said on Wednesday.

Bureau Director-General Pang Chia-hua said this included construction work on three overpass sections and two underground sections.

 

MEPs call for EU support for Taiwan

MEPs have backed calls for any future Chinese ‘threat’ to Taiwan to be closely monitored.

Beijing currently has nearly 1,000 missiles targeted at its small Asian neighbour and the European parliament this week heard that Taiwan lives under constant fear of military attack.

 

Business & Industry

 

Strong gold price outlook

A jump of nearly 10% in average gold prices is expected this year.
A weaker dollar outlook, less aggressive sales by central banks and physical demand should boost investor interest according to analysts and traders around the world.

 

US dollar continues its downward spiral

The US dollar has weakened to a record low against the euro.
Growing fears surrounding the US subprime mortgage and credit sectors are keeping the dollar down.

 

 

Korea Herald, South Korea (online edition)

Front page

 

KOSPI breaks 1,900 level

The current stock market rally is giving rise to widespread investment hype among average individual investors. The stock boom is making a number of market experts best-selling authors, causing brokerages to hold record numbers of corporate information and investment sessions, and raising the number of brokerage accounts to an unprecedented level.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index jumped more than 31.8% this year, rising to yet another new high yesterday. It closed at 1,909.75, breaching the 1,900 mark for the first time ever.

 

'Yongbyon shutdown should go smoothly'

Moves toward shutting down and sealing North Korea's nuclear facilities will go smoothly but the prospects of a fully denuclearised North Korea are not good, the visiting U.N. nuclear watchdog chief said yesterday.

"I expect (this) to move smoothly because we already have an agreement on how to go about it," International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Mohamed ElBaradei said in a press conference. He added the process is "not complicated."

 

Business & Industry

 

Consumers burned by high gas prices

Unyielding to rising calls from civic groups and political circles to cut fuel taxes, senior government officials yesterday reconfirmed their steadfast position not to reduce them.

And while consumers have been hurting at the pump, Korea’s oil refineries have enjoyed eye-popping profits. According to the market consensus posted by FN Guide, in the second quarter of this year, SK Energy - the nation’s No. 1 refinery - is estimated to have seen a 25% increase in its operating profit, totaling W3,830bn ($4.2bn), and revenue of W6,450bn compared to a year earlier.

 

Manufacturing likely to be key issue for EU FTA

Opening up the manufacturing sector will likely be the main preoccupation of Korea and the European Union in their current free trade negotiations, as opposed to issues over liberalizing the agriculture sector, a senior Korean government official said yesterday.

The manufacturing sector would most likely be the source of contention rather than agriculture in the Korea-EU FTA talks, since European companies are very competitive in the areas of autos, chemicals, machinery and electronics, said Vice Commerce Minister Oh Young-ho during a meeting with business groups including the Federation of Korean Industries.

 

 

Business Standard, India (online edition)

Front page

 

Sops unveiled for exporters

Partially meeting the demands of the commerce ministry, the finance ministry today announced a set of measures aimed at cushioning exporters from the impact of the strengthening rupee.

The package will cost the government Rs14bn ($347.6m), of which interest rate reductions on pre- and post-shipment credit will cost Rs8bn and higher duty drawback rates between Rs5bn and Rs6bn.

 

Essar Stelco bid shortlisted

Essar Global, the overseas investment arm of the Essar Group, has been shortlisted along with two other bidders for the acquisition of North American steel maker Stelco. The other two companies in the race are Metinvest of Ukraine and Russian steel maker OAO Severstal.

Sources close to the development said senior executives of these three companies recently visited the facilities of Stelco, which was put on the block last month. Going by its stock price, the acquisition of Stelco could cost over $700m

 

Economy & Policy

 

Kerala HC tells govt to follow law in Tata row

The Kerala High Court today said it was up to the government to take action strictly in accordance with the law against Tata Tea, to recover any land which was found to have been trespassed.

The order in this regard was issued by Justice K M Joseph while disposing a petition by Tata Tea, challenging the eviction notice issued by the government.

 

Manufacturing slows IIP growth to 11.1%

The impact of hardening interest rates showed in a significant deceleration in manufacturing growth — especially consumer durables — which saw overall industrial growth decline marginally to 11.1% in May 2007 from 11.7% in May 2006.

Accompanying this decline was a downward revision of the data for April by the Central Statistical Organisation from 13.6% to 12.3%.

 

Business Times, Singapore (print edition)

Front page

 

IMF board agrees on process to select new head

WASHINGTON - The International Monetary Fund (IMF) board on Thursday agreed on a process for selecting the next head of the IMF and said any member country could nominate a candidate for the job, which has only been held by Europeans.

“The nomination period will commence immediately and will close on 31 August 2007,” the board said in a statement, saying the successful candidate must have a record in economic policymaking and have managerial and diplomatic skills.

 

Core inflation best gauge of price gains: Fed’s Yellen

ANCHORAGE - So-called core inflation, which removes food and energy costs, is a better way of forecasting future price pressures, San Francisco Federal Reserve President Janet Yellen said on Thursday.

Ms Yellen, in response to questions following an address to a community leaders' lunch, acknowledged that consumers care about overall, or headline, inflation but added that effective monetary policy must concern itself with future risks to price stability.

 

Business & Industry

 

Developers passing more risk to market

(SINGAPORE) As the property market boom here gathers steam, developers are raising funds for new projects through more innovative means, some of which pass on the risk to the wider capital markets.

The burden of financing such projects has fallen more heavily on the developers' shoulders with the growing popularity of deferred payment schemes.

 

OKP bags $40m Jurong civil works contract

A S$40m ($26.3m) civil works contract announced yesterday for new petrochemicals storage on Jurong Island - which BT understands is for ExxonMobil - has sent yet another strong signal that the world's largest oil company will give the investment go-ahead very soon for a second multibillion-dollar petrochemical complex here.

Sesdaq-listed OKP Holdings said it had clinched the contract for civil works, including roads, drainage and underground electrical facilities, for “new polymer storage” for a petrochemical project on the island, but did not name the client.

 

Bangkok Post, Thailand (online edition)

Front page

 

Bangkok goes IThai-lian
Pizza and pasta prove popular with Thais. 'Easy-going' Italian food is now one of the capital city's favourite foreign cuisines.

With Italian restaurants on almost every corner in Bangkok, the popularity of the Mediterranean country's cuisine among Thais needs no further proof. In fact, food experts say Italian is one of the country's favourite foreign cuisines.

 

No middle road: Charter or chaos
People should accept the draft constitution or face the protracted political unrest that would otherwise follow, Constitution Drafting Committee chairman Prasong Soonsiri said on Thursday.

Rejecting the draft charter at the Aug 19 referendum would allow the Council for National Security (CNS) to pick any one of the past constitutions and promulgate it, he said.

 

Business & Industry

 

Thaksin is eliminated from Forbes Asia billionaires list

Chaleo Yoovidhya, Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi and Dhanin Chearavanont are the only dollar billionaires in Thailand in the latest rankings by Forbes Asia of the country's wealthiest individuals. Former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, ranked fourth in last year's poll, saw his ranking drop to 14th with a net wealth of $300m. Forbes noted that the Assets Scrutiny Committee last month froze $1.84bn held by Mr Thaksin and his family.

 

Four billion in inflows to SET propel Thai baht to new heights

Capital inflows of $4bn into the stock market since the beginning of the year have been the main factor driving the baht's rapid rise, according to the Bank of Thailand. But pressure on the currency should ease in the second half as business sentiment improves, resulting in higher private investment and imports of capital goods, according to central bank governor Tarisa Watanagase.


By: Staff Reporter
+44 20 8652 3214



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