IMF raises Korea’s 2010 growth forecast to 5.75%
(SEOUL) The International Monetary Fund (IMF) yesterday raised its growth forecast for South Korea for this year to 5.75 per cent, pointing to an impressive recovery from the global crisis.
NZ recovery ‘may be stalling’: survey
(WELLINGTON) New Zealand’s export-led recovery may be stalling, according to a business-confidence survey released yesterday.
Philippine inflation signals steady rates in Q3
(MANILA) Philippine inflation unexpectedly slowed to a seven-month low in June, reinforcing expectations a week before a central bank review that the key policy rate will be held at a record low at least until the fourth quarter.
EU court upholds blocking of Aer Lingus takeover
(LUXEMBOURG) The European Union’s general court barred no-frills airline Ryanair from taking over Aer Lingus yesterday but said that Ryanair could keep a minority stake in its Irish rival.
Jakarta to spend over 1t rupiah to expand Bali airport terminal
(JAKARTA) State airport operator PT Angkasa Pura I has allocated more than one trillion rupiah (S$153 million) in new investment to finance the expansion of the international terminal at Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali, The Jakarta Post quoted an executive as saying yesterday.
Reports of planes denied refuelling ‘false’, says Iran
(TEHERAN) Iran said yesterday that claims made by some Iranian officials that its passenger planes were being denied refuelling by airports in Britain, Germany and the United Arab Emirates are ‘false’. ‘The refuelling of our planes is continuing,’ foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast told reporters.
Macquarie cuts ratings of Taiwan’s airlines
(TAIPEI) Taiwan’s airlines industry was downgraded to ‘underweight’ from ‘overweight’ at Macquarie Group Ltd which cited a risk of slower cargo demand growth and a possible decline in fares on cross-strait flights next year.
US long overdue in meeting Taiwan’s F-16 request: ex-official
(WASHINGTON) The United States is ‘way past due’ to meet Taiwan’s request for updated F-16 fighter jets to help plug a growing gap with China, said a former US official overseeing Air Force programmes designed to help the self-governing island keep up its defences.
China reserves agency defends asset strategy
(BEIJING) The managers of China’s hoard of currency reserves defended their investment record yesterday, saying that they had avoided big losses during the global crisis and voicing confidence they could achieve stable long-term returns.
China set to become No1 IPO market in 2010: PwC
(SHANGHAI) China is on track to become the world’s biggest initial public offering (IPO) market this year in terms of both the number of new listings and funds raised, according to business advisers Pricewaterhouse-Coopers (PwC).
Sucrogen will help Wilmar’s Indonesia push
WILMAR International bought Australia’s Sucrogen to kickstart sugar cultivation in Indonesia, where it has secured a 200,000ha concession in Irian Jaya, chief executive officer Kuok Khoon Hong said yesterday.
Hotel Grand Central buys hotel at Surfers Paradise for A$47m
SINGAPORE-listed Hotel Grand Central has signed conditional agreements to buy an Australian hotel and its business for A$47 million (S$55.1 million).
Temasek report may reveal extent of asset shift, succession
SINGAPORE wealth fund Temasek Holdings is expected to show the extent of its portfolio shift towards the resources sector and may provide clues about leadership changes when unveiling its annual report for 2009/10 this week.
Golden Agri unit rebuts Greenpeace
THE battle between Golden Agri-Resources and Greenpeace over the conservation group’s allegations that the company has continued to carry out what it regarded as unsustainable deforestation has yet to see closure.
Etika buys noodle firms for $2.9m
ETIKA International Holdings has agreed to acquire two Indonesian companies – PT Sentrafood Indonusa (PTSF) and PT Sentraboga Intiselera (PTSB) – for $2.9 million.
SingTel makes shopping breezier via 3 mobile apps
SINGAPORE Telecommunications launched three mobile applications yesterday that could make shopping in Singapore more convenient for consumers on the move.
RIVERSTONE Holdings said that the US District Court Northern District of Georgia has dismissed the suit between Tillotson and some defendants including its Malaysian unit, Riverstone Resources Sdn Bhd.
DBS’s IT fiasco: a delayed baptism of fire for Gupta
UNDER guidelines for Singapore banks on Internet banking and technology risk management, it is noted that ‘users of Internet banking services expect to be able to access the online systems 24 hours every day of the year, tantamount to near-zero system downtime’.
Service sector’s expansion in June less than forecast
(WASHINGTON) Service industries in the United States expanded in June at a slower pace than forecast, indicating the economy was beginning to cool entering the second half.
Aussie trade surplus swells to 14-month high
(SYDNEY) Australia’s trade surplus swelled to the third highest on record in May as exports of gold, wheat and coal all surged, a dramatic turnaround that should help insulate domestic growth from headwinds in the global economy.
N Korea economy seen shrinking further
(SEOUL) North Korea’s economy is expected to continue shrinking this year after South Korea cut off most trade in protest at the sinking of a warship, a report said yesterday.
A balancing act
MARKETS seem to be emerging from a bad patch of turbulence but it may still be too early to turn off the seatbelt sign. The past two months have seen wild swings across global financial markets that would have unsettled even the most seasoned of investors. Things have calmed down somewhat in the past few weeks, but clear skies may yet be some distance away. While Europe may have averted disaster, its sovereign debt problems are far from over. In China, the yuan is finally unshackled from the dollar but it remains to be seen how far it will be allowed to gain on the greenback – itself dogged by fresh concerns about US growth prospects.
Property bonds slump sets off default fears
(NEW YORK) Bonds sold by real-estate companies are performing the worst compared with the rest of the market since March 2009 on concern the slowing economic recovery will cause more defaults.
Capital curbs won’t deter HSBC’s bond buying in Asia
(HONG KONG) Indonesian and South Korea measures to control capital inflows are ‘sensible’, said the Asia fixed-income head of HSBC Global Asset Management, and won’t deter the firm from buying bonds from these two countries.
Monsoon rains fall all over India ahead of schedule
(NEW DELHI) India’s annual monsoon rains, a key factor that drives its economy, have covered the vast country after a sluggish spell, a top weather official said yesterday, boosting the outlook for farm products and rural income.
Greenpeace slams Sinar Mas over deforestation
(JAKARTA) Greenpeace yesterday levelled new accusations of rainforest destruction against Indonesian agribusiness giant Sinar Mas and urged retailers Carrefour and Walmart to stop buying their products.
Wrangling hits M’sian kampung’s redevelopment
THE enormous potential of the enclave notwithstanding, the proposed redevelopment of a Malay settlement located in the shadows of the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur may take a while to materialise as the settlement has become another political football.
Budget will set pace for economy: Najib
(KUALA LUMPUR) The 2011 Budget, which will be tabled on Oct 15, will set the pace to transform Malaysia into a developed and high-income economy by 2020, said Prime Minister Najib Razak.
M’sia mulls raising rates for the third time: poll
(KUALA LUMPUR) Malaysia’s central bank may raise rates for the third time in five months after strong economic growth in the first half, but it could be a close call, with many analysts believing it will keep rates on hold due to fears of a global slowdown.
BMW powers into third place
(SINGAPORE) BMW has powered ahead to overtake traditional rival Mercedes- Benz at half-time, based on estimated sales figures.
Toyota starts recall of Lexus, Crown cars
(TOKYO) Toyota started a global recall over engine defects in its Lexus and Crown models, moving to repair more than 95,000 vehicles in Japan and South Korea over the latest trouble for the car maker beset with quality problems.
Toyota and Kia tie for S’pore’s top model
SINGAPORE’S top model is a tie between a mature Japanese unit and a younger and prettier Korean. From January to June this year – among authorised distributors – sales of the Toyota Corolla Altis and Kia Cerato Forte were identical at 1,242 units.
Taxis prove cheaper than rides on Greece’s bloated railroads
(ATHENS) Railroads in Greece lose more money than anywhere else in Europe, underlining the magnitude of the task facing Prime Minister George Papandreou as he tries to rescue his country from the debt crisis that threatens the viability of the euro project.
Toyota to make Etios engines in India
(TOKYO) Toyota Motor Corp yesterday said it would invest about nine billion yen (S$143 million) to produce engines and transmissions for the Etios compact car in India developed for the local market.
Nissan’s Infiniti to come with hybrid system, 2 clutches
(YOKOHAMA) Nissan is readying a new hybrid system for its Infiniti luxury model, which is set to go on sale later this year, while revamping technology for regular gas engines to send a green message.
Anchor Ship may use fund to buy dry-bulk vessels
(TOKYO) Anchor Ship Investment Co, Japan’s largest ship-fund manager, said it may invest part of a planned 200 billion yen (S$3.16 billion) fund on its first dry-bulk vessels in anticipation of a rebound in Chinese iron-ore demand.
Keppel on track with FPSO conversion
(SINGAPORE) Keppel Shipyard is on track to complete the conversion of a floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel for Maersk, a long-time customer. In a naming ceremony on Saturday at Keppel Shipyard, sponsor Eva Ruud named the vessel Maersk Peregrino.
State of shipping: mixed messages
RECENT press releases landing on my desk have carried decidedly mixed messages about the economic state of health of the shipping industry.
Bargain-hunting gives STI a lift
SINGAPORE’S stock market enjoyed a lift yesterday as investors, inspired by the rise in Asian markets, went on a hunt for bargain stocks.
BG Group on the lookout for more LNG deals
SINGAPORE’S appointed LNG buyer, BG Group, which has just secured its first non-power customer – an oil refining and petrochemicals operator here – is talking with a number of other players from that sector, as well as others in general manufacturing and pharmaceuticals.
C Kunalan to spearhead Sports Alumni
SINGAPORE’S best-known athlete, former sprinter C Kunalan will spearhead the Sports Alumni, a newly formed association for ex-state sporting representatives and other illustrious names from the sporting world next month onwards.
Crackdown on lorry drivers flouting the law
THE Land Transport Authority (LTA) and traffic police intensified enforcement against errant lorry drivers for two weeks from June 22 to July 6.
Trade with EU expected to rise this year
TRADE between the European Union and Singapore is expected to increase this year despite worries over the impact of Europe’s debt woes, head of the EU Delegation to Singapore Holger Standertskjold said yesterday. Ambassador Standertskjold also said yesterday that negotiations for an EU-Singapore free trade agreement (FTA), launched in March, are progressing well and could conclude by as early next year.
UOL, CDL to release condos for preview this week
AT least two new condos are expected to be released this week – 368 Thomson and The Terrene Bukit Timah.
Better business seen by most in H2: survey
MOST companies here expect business to keep growing for the rest of the year despite headwinds from the world’s largest economies, according to a survey by recruitment firm Ambition.
Customer driven innovation
THE service innovation strategies employed by businesses are shifting from a focus on products, to centre on customers instead, say marketing academics.
Focus on customer-centric strategies
CUSTOMER-DRIVEN innovation will be one of several approaches discussed at the Global Conference on Service Excellence later this month.
Germany looking to blitz goal-shy Spain
MOST football purists would agree that a meeting between Germany and Spain would grace any major final.
Statistics point to some ‘home’ advantage
SINCE the start of the 1990 World Cup in Italy, football’s world governing body Fifa has systematically designated a ‘home’ and ‘away’ team well ahead of every match.
German angst as psychic octopus picks Spain to win
(BERLIN) The cries of despair from all around Germany could probably be heard in South Africa as a ‘psychic’ octopus named Paul tipped Spain to beat Germany in tonight’s football World Cup semi-final.
Downtime nightmare could cost DBS dearly
(SINGAPORE) As the inquest into the breakdown of DBS Bank’s network continues, it appears that the bank’s showing fell short of the reliability benchmarks laid out by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).
Best bet is productivity, not more foreign labour
(SINGAPORE) WHEN the property market heated up recently, the government took steps to cool it.
Cost of hosting YOG likely to touch $387m
(SINGAPORE) The government has projected that the cost of hosting next month’s inaugural Youth Olympic Games (YOG) will touch $387 million – more than three times its initial estimate of $122 million.
AgBank said to raise US$19.2b in share sale
(HONG KONG) Agricultural Bank of China Ltd (AgBank) is raising US$19.2 billion in an initial public offering (IPO) after setting a final price for shares on sale in Hong Kong and Shanghai, said five people with knowledge of the matter.
Parkway deems Seow ‘not independent’
(SINGAPORE) Parkway Holdings’ nominating committee (NC) has deemed vice-chairman Richard Seow unfit for the role of independent director, given his agreement with majority shareholder Fortis Healthcare.
Steady rise in Q2 electricity demand
(SINGAPORE) Electricity demand in Singapore continued to climb strongly in the second quarter reflecting the pick-up in economic activity here, just-released Energy Market Company data showed – explaining the spate of planned new investments by the generating companies (gencos) here.
Self-radicalised Singaporean detained under ISA
(SINGAPORE) The government has detained, under the Internal Security Act (ISA), a full-time Singapore Armed Forces national serviceman with links to Muslim radicals and a militant.
Australia raises bar to further rate hikes
(SYDNEY) The Reserve Bank of Australia signalled it’s prepared to refrain from further interest-rate increases in coming months as signs mount that economies around the world will slow.
Primus may have halted HLB’s EON bid
THROUGH representations in the High Court of Malaya yesterday, lawyers acting for Primus Pacific Partners may have effectively halted a takeover bid by Hong Leong Bank (HLB) for EON Capital.
AS the inquest into the breakdown of DBS Bank’s network continues, it appears that the bank’s showing fell short of the reliability benchmarks laid out by the Monetary Authority of Singapore.
Kan moves to the political centre
JAPAN’S Prime Minister Naoto Kan sees himself as pragmatic and decisive compared to his predecessor Yukio Hatoyama who was politically more ideological.
Will trade deal with China pay off for Taiwan’s Ma?
ONLY a week after Taiwan signed the equivalent of a free trade agreement (FTA) with China, the impact is already being felt across the region. A Taiwan official said 22 members of the World Trade Organization have asked for briefings on the agreement, known as the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement, or Ecfa.
It’s not the dollar-yuan rate that’s the problem
I’LL say it at the outset: focusing on the yuan-dollar rate is a serious distraction, and it’s time for the US to back off from bashing China over problems that are born mostly at home.
Will voters back DPJ again on Sunday?
SUMO and soccer events have been riveting Japan’s attention in recent weeks and only now that these events are over is the public gaze shifting to politics and to the Upper House parliamentary election due on Sunday.
Fossilised thinking more harmful than fossil fuels
THE oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico is probably the worst environmental catastrophe in American history. It will be remembered as a historical turning point and possibly even as the start of a post fossil era.
SEMBCORP Industries (SCI) announced that Cascal has withdrawn its previous recommendation that its stockholders reject the tender offer by SCI and instead expresses no opinion and remains neutral on the offer.
Australia $, euro rise with risk appetite
(NEW YORK) The Australian dollar rallied yesterday after an upbeat assessment of the global economy by the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) spurred appetite for high-yielding currencies, while rising risk demand also helped boost the euro.
UK economy grows strongly in Q2: survey
(LONDON) Britain’s services sector enjoyed its strongest growth for two years over the past three months and manufacturing grew strongly, but tougher times may be ahead as firms are gloomier about the future, a survey suggested yesterday.
Sarkozy linked to L’Oreal cash scandal directly
(PARIS) President Nicolas Sarkozy was directly linked for the first time to L’Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt’s murky finances yesterday, with claims that his presidential campaign received 150,000 euros (S$262,000) in cash.