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SOUTH KOREA, E.U. LAUNCH HIGH-LEVEL TRADE TALKS

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 19, 2009

1130 PST, Monday, January 19, 2009

The International News

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE INTERNATIONAL NEWS’ (Pakistan)

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE INTERNATIONAL NEWS’ (Pakistan)

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Posted in BANKING SYSTEMS, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FOREIGN POLICIES, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, MACROECONOMY, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, SOUTH KOREA, THE EUROPEAN UNION, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS | Leave a Comment »

IMPORTADORA GARANTE ENTREGAS DE VEÍCULOS DA SsangYong NO BRASIL (South Korea/Brazil)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 13, 2009

12/01/2009 – 19:18

Valor Online

PUBLISHED BY ‘VALOR ECONÔMICO’ (Brazil)

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PUBLISHED BY ‘VALOR ECONÔMICO’ (Brazil)

Posted in AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY, BALANÇA COMERCIAL, BRASIL, COMÉRCIO - BRASIL, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIA - BRASIL, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, EXPANSÃO ECONÔMICA, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FLUXO DE CAPITAIS, FOREIGN POLICIES, INDÚSTRIA AUTOMOTIVA, INDÚSTRIAS, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, O MERCADO IMPORTADOR, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, SOUTH KOREA, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS | Leave a Comment »

CORÉIA DO SUL EMPRESTA US$ 3 BI A BANCOS EM CRISE – NOVE ENTIDADES BANCÁRIAS DO PAÍS PARTICIPARAM DE LEILÃO (South Korea)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 13, 2009

13/01/2009 – 03h40min

EFE

PUBLISHED BY ‘ZERO HORA’ (Brazil)

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PUBLISHED BY ‘ZERO HORA’ (Brazil)

Posted in BANKING SYSTEMS, CENTRAL BANKS, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, PUBLIC SECTOR AND STATE OWNED ENTERPRISES, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, RESTRUCTURING OF PRIVATE COMPANIES, SOUTH KOREA, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS | Leave a Comment »

LG ELEC WON’T CUT INVESTMENT DUE TO ECONOMY

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 8, 2009

7 Jan 2009, 2307 hrs IST

REUTERS

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE ECONOMIC TIMES’ (India)

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a href=”http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/” target=”_blank”>PUBLISHED BY ‘THE ECONOMIC TIMES’ (India)

Posted in COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, DIGITAL INDUSTRIES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ELECTRIC / ELECTRONIC INDUSTRIES, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, RECESSION, SOUTH KOREA, STOCK MARKETS, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS | Leave a Comment »

GLOBAL TRENDS DRIVE ‘LAND GRAB’ – ACTIVISTS

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on January 5, 2009

Monday, January 05, 2009

Agence France-Presse

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE MANILA TIMES’ (Philippines)

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE MANILA TIMES’ (Philippines)

Posted in AGRICULTURE, CRIMINAL ACTIVITIES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ENVIRONMENT, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FOOD INDUSTRIES, FOREIGN POLICIES, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, MACROECONOMY, MALAYSIA, PHILIPPINES, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, SOUTH KOREA, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE UNITED NATIONS, VIETNAM | Leave a Comment »

CITIBANK TO RAISE CAPITAL FOR SOUTH KOREA UNIT

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 27, 2008

26 Dec 2008, 11:15 hrs IST

Reuters

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE ECONOMIC TIMES’ (India)

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE ECONOMIC TIMES’ (India)

Posted in AFRICA, BANKING SYSTEMS, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRIES, RECESSION, SOUTH KOREA, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS | Leave a Comment »

IMPORTED GOODS TO FACE TOUGHER SCRUTINY (South Korea)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 27, 2008

Dec.26,2008 12:11 KST

Arirang News

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE CHOSUN ILBO’ (South Korea)

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE CHOSUN ILBO’ (South Korea)

Posted in COMMERCE, COMMERCIAL PROTECTIONISM, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FOOD INDUSTRIES, FOOD PRODUCTION (human), FOREIGN POLICIES, HEALTH SAFETY, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, SOUTH KOREA | Leave a Comment »

WE SHOULD BE WARY OF FICKLE OIL PRICES (South Korea)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 27, 2008

Dec.26,2008 11:33 KST

by Lee Jun – Chosun Ilbo In-house Columnist

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE CHOSUN ILBO’ (South Korea)

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE CHOSUN ILBO’ (South Korea)

Posted in COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ENERGY INDUSTRIES, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, PETROL, RECESSION, SOUTH KOREA | Leave a Comment »

POSCO EMITE BÔNUS PARA ASSEGURAR OPERAÇÃO EM MINA BRASILEIRA (Brazil)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 26, 2008

Quinta-feira 25 de dezembro de 2008 10:38

Agence France-Presse

PUBLISHED BY ‘PORTAL UAI – O ESTADO DE MINAS’ (Brazil)

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PUBLISHED BY ‘PORTAL UAI – O ESTADO DE MINAS’ (Brazil)

Posted in AS INDÚSTRIAS DE MINERAÇÃO, BRASIL, COMMODITIES MARKET, ECONOMIA - BRASIL, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, EXPANSÃO ECONÔMICA, EXPANSÃO INDUSTRIAL, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FLUXO DE CAPITAIS, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, JAPAN, METALS, METALS INDUSTRY, MINING INDUSTRIES, MINISTÉRIO DAS MINAS E ENERGIA, O PODER EXECUTIVO FEDERAL, RECESSION, RELAÇÕES COMERCIAIS INTERNACIONAIS - BRASIL, SOUTH KOREA, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS | Leave a Comment »

S.KOREA TO SPEND $4.1 BILLION TO STABILISE JOB MARKET

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 25, 2008

December 24, 2008

Reporting by Miyoung Kim – Editing by Jacqueline Wong – Reuters

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE BOSTON GLOBE’ (USA)

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE BOSTON GLOBE’ (USA)

Posted in BANKING SYSTEMS, CENTRAL BANKS, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FOREIGN WORK FORCE - LEGAL, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, NATIONAL WORK FORCES, RECESSION, SOUTH KOREA, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE WORK MARKET, THE WORKERS | Leave a Comment »

KOREAN FIRM EYES MEDICAL EQUIPMENT PLANT AT CLARK (Philippines)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 24, 2008

12/24/2008

The Daily Tribune (Philippines)

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE DAILY TRIBUNE’ (Philippines)

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE DAILY TRIBUNE’ (Philippines)

Posted in ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRIES, FOREIGN POLICIES, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, PHILIPPINES, RECESSION, SOUTH KOREA, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS | Leave a Comment »

CORÉIA DO SUL ANUNCIA PACOTE PARA O SETOR IMOBILIÁRIO (South Korea)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 23, 2008

22/12/2008

Jornal Cruzeiro do Sul

PUBLISHED BY ‘JORNAL CRUZEIRO DO SUL’ (Brazil)

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PUBLISHED BY ‘JORNAL CRUZEIRO DO SUL’ (Brazil)

Posted in BANKING SYSTEMS, COMMERCIAL PROTECTIONISM, CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRIES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, MACROECONOMY, NATIONAL WORK FORCES, RECESSION, SOUTH KOREA, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS | Leave a Comment »

WE MUST ALL PITCH IN TO HELP RECOVER FROM THE ECONOMIC CRISIS (South Korea)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 16, 2008

Dec.16,2008 12:55 KST

Editorial

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE DIGITAL CHOSUNILBO’ (South Korea)

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE DIGITAL CHOSUNILBO’ (South Korea)

Posted in ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, RECESSION, SOUTH KOREA | Leave a Comment »

SKOREA, CHINA, JAPAN SHOW UNITY AT FIRST SUMMIT

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 14, 2008

Published: Dec 13, 2008 06:00 AM – Modified: Dec 13, 2008 07:06 AM

by Eric Talmadge – Associated Press Writer

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE NEWS&OBSERVER’ (USA)

FUKUOKA, Japan – The leaders of Japan, China and South Korea said Saturday that Asia must be the engine of growth to counter Japan's Prime Minister Taro Aso, center, delivers a speech as Lee Myung-bak, South Korea's president, sitting right, Wen Jiabao, China's premier, sitting left, isten at the start of dinner after their meeting at the Kyushu National Museum in Dazaifu, southern Japan, on Saturday, December 13, 2008. (AP Photo/Tomohiro Ohsumi, POOL)global financial turmoil and vowed to rev up their economies with infrastructure projects and bolster domestic demand.

Tokyo and Seoul also criticized North Korea for stalling denuclearization talks.

The Asian nations – which together make up 75 percent of the east Asian economy – were holding their first-ever three-way summit, with Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao attending.

The global financial slowdown was atop their agenda.

“The current financial crisis continues to spread,” Wen said at a joint news conference. “We are important economic players in Asia and the world, and we must strive to respond to this once-in-a-century crisis.”

In a joint statement, the leaders said they believed Asia must be a center of growth to counter the sliding world economy. They said they would push domestic demand and infrastructure projects while refraining from raising new barriers to investment or trade over the next 12 months.

“The three leaders shared the view that efforts need to be strengthened to minimize the negative impacts that the current financial turmoil could have on the world economy,” the statement said. “Asian countries are expected to play a role as the center of world economic growth.”

Meeting ahead of the summit, Aso and Lee welcomed a deal reached the night before to increase a bilateral currency swap arrangement to the equivalent of $20 billion. The Bank of Korea also announced a deal with the People’s Bank of China worth about $26 billion.

“This is very meaningful,” Lee said of the currency swap arrangement. “We translated cooperation into action.”

Swaps generally entail one central bank borrowing a currency from another and offering an equivalent amount of its own as collateral.

Seoul has seen its own currency reserves dwindle and feared that without the swap arrangements it could suffer a foreign exchange crisis because of the global financial turmoil. The South Korean won has declined 32 percent this year amid record selling of South Korean stocks by foreign investors.

Aso and Lee also criticized North Korea for its lack of cooperation at nuclear disarmament talks and stressed the importance of continuing to push together for progress.

Four days of negotiations in Beijing ended in stalemate Thursday with North Korea refusing to put into writing any commitments on inspection, making it impossible to move forward on a disarmament-for-aid agreement reached last year.

“We have made progress but it has been slow,” Lee said. “We must have patience and hope.”

The three leaders said they planned to make the trilateral summit an annual event and strengthen ties through increased political and cultural exchanges.

“Politically and economically, we have a very significant presence in the region,” Aso said. “We should have had this kind of a summit sooner.”

Though their countries are often at odds over the legacy of Japan’s militarist past, solidarity was the word of the day.

Officials said the summit was intended to be a show of unity in the face of the global economic downturn and was an important step toward better relations overall between the three neighbors.

Left off the table was lingering animosity over Japan’s pre-1945 colonization of Korea and its often brutal aggression on the Asian mainland in the first half of the last century. Such issues have frequently flared up in the past and continue to be a thorn in relations.

Japanese officials said it was “significant” that the three countries were putting such issues behind them and trying to approach the summit with a more forward-looking stance.

Other sensitive issues remain, however.

In a meeting with Wen, Aso expressed concern over the entry of Chinese vessels earlier this week into waters Tokyo claims near disputed southern islands known as the Senkaku in Japanese and the Diaoyu in Chinese.

Japan lodged a protest with Beijing on Monday after the ships spent nine hours near the islands, which are claimed by Japan, China and Taiwan.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE NEWS&OBSERVER’ (USA)

Posted in ASIA, BANKING SYSTEMS, CENTRAL BANKS, CHINA, COMMERCE, CURRENCIES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FOREIGN POLICIES, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, JAPAN, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, SOUTH KOREA, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS | Leave a Comment »

NO ROOM FOR WISHFUL THINKING – THE SLUMP IS HERE WITH A VENGEANCE (USA)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 9, 2008

Saturday December 6 2008

by Larry Elliott, Economics Editor – The Guardian

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE GUARDIAN’ (UK)

The shocking jobs data from the US yesterday should remove the last doubt about the potential of the current crisis to turn into the most serious economic shock to the global economy since the 1930s.

The fact that the world’s biggest economy shed 533,000 jobs last month smacks of a slump. While it is unlikely to prove as long and as deep as the Great Depression, more jobs were lost last month than at any time since 1974, when the decision by Opec to turn off the oil taps brought the postwar boom to a shuddering halt.

To make matters worse, the jobless figures for September and October were revised sharply higher so that payrolls were down by 1.25 million over the latest quarter.

Some analysts saw hope in the fact that the unemployment rate rose only modestly from 6.5% to 6.7%. But that was because more than 400,000 people left the labour force altogether last month, presumably on the grounds that there was no prospect of finding work.

Nor was this a temporary shakeout precipitated by the collapse of Lehman Brothers. Revisions to the back data show payrolls were down by more than 400,000 in September, before the escalation in the financial crisis had any effect.

Apart from any impact on shares, bonds and the dollar, yesterday’s woeful jobs data will have three consequences. If 1.25 million people suddenly stop earning a wage, there will be an impact on consumer spending. And if consumers are not spending, companies are not going to invest – even assuming that they can get the finance. We are likely to see output contract at an annual rate of about 4% in the fourth quarter – and it could be even worse. And what happens to America matters to everybody else, especially the big exporting nations: China, Germany, South Korea, Japan.

The second effect will be social. America does not have the generous welfare nets enjoyed in Europe, so unless those made jobless can quickly find work, there will be hardship, poverty and the threat of disorder.

The need to put people back to work leads to the third consequence. There will be further interest rate cuts by the Federal Reserve and other “unconventional” measures to drive down long-term rates. There will be suggestions that America can’t wait for the $500bn fiscal stimulus the president-elect is planning. And there will be help for the motor industry. One of the few Americans likely to have found hope in yesterday’s report will be Rick Wagoner, the boss of General Motors.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE GUARDIAN’ (UK)

Posted in AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY, BANKING SYSTEM - USA, BANKRUPTCIES - USA, CENTRAL BANKS, CHINA, COMMERCE, CONSUMERS AND PSYCHOLOGICAL FACTORS, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, EUROPE, FINANCIAL CRISIS - USA - 2008/2009, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FOREIGN POLICIES, GERMANY, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION - USA, INDUSTRIES - USA, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, JAPAN, MACROECONOMY, NATIONAL WORK FORCES, RECESSION, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, SOUTH KOREA, STOCK MARKETS, THE EUROPEAN UNION, THE LAST DAYS OF GEORGE WALKER BUSH - 2008/Jan. 2009, THE WORK MARKET, THE WORKERS, USA | Leave a Comment »

QATAR LOOKS TO GROW FOOD IN KENYA -THE GULF STATE HAS JOINED A GROWING LIST OF RICH COUNTRIES THAT WANT TO GROW FOOD IN POOR COUNTRIES

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 5, 2008

Tuesday December 2 2008 16.58 GMT

Xan Rice in Nairobi – guardian.co.uk

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE GUARDIAN’ (UK)

Qatar has asked Kenya to lease it 40,000 hectares of land to grow crops as part of a proposed package that would also see the Gulf state fund a new £2.4bn port on the popular tourist island of Lamu off the east African country.

The deal is the latest example of wealthy countries and companies trying to secure food supplies from the developing world.

Other Gulf states, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, have also been negotiating leases of large tracts of farmland in countries such as Sudan and Senegal since the global food shortages and price rises earlier this year.

The Kenyan president, Mwai Kibaki, returned from a visit to Qatar on Monday. His spokesman said the request for land in the Tana river delta, south of Lamu, in north-east Kenya was being seriously considered.

“Nothing comes for free,” said Isaiah Kabira. “If you want people to invest in your country then you have to make concessions.”

But the deal is likely to cause concern in Kenya where fertile land is unequally distributed. Several prominent political families own huge tracts of farmland, while millions of people live in densely packed slums.

The country is also experiencing a food crisis, with the government forced to introduce subsidies and price controls on maize this week after poor production and planning caused the price of the staple “ugali” flour to double in less than a year.

Kibaki said that Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani was keen to invest in a second port to complement Mombasa, which serves as a gateway for goods bound for Uganda and Rwanda and is struggling to cope with the large volumes of cargo.

By building docks in Lamu, Kenya hopes to open a new trade corridor that will give landlocked Ethiopia and the autonomous region of Southern Sudan access to the Indian Ocean. Kabira said that if the financing was agreed, construction of the port would begin in 2010.

Qatar, which has large oil and gas revenues, imports most of its food, as most of its land is barren desert and just 1% is suitable for arable farming. It has already reportedly struck deals this year to grow rice in Cambodia, maize and wheat in Sudan and vegetables in Vietnam.

Much of the produce will be exported to the Gulf. Qatar’s foreign ministry in Doha did not return calls today, but Kabira said that its intention was to grow “vegetables and fruit” in Kenya.

The area proposed for the farming project is near the Tana river delta where the Kenyan government owns nearly 500,000 hectares (1.3m acres) of uncultivated land.

But a separate agreement to allow a local company to grow sugarcane and build a factory in the area has attracted fierce opposition from environmentalists who say a pristine ecosystem of mangrove swamps, savannah and forests will be destroyed.

Pastoralists, who regard the land as communal and rear up to 60,000 cattle to graze in the delta each dry season, are also opposed to the plan.

“We will have to ensure that this new project is properly explained to the people before it can go ahead,” said Kabira.

The sudden rush by foreign governments and companies to secure food supplies in Africa has some experts worried. Jacques Diouf, director general of the UN’s food and agricultural organisation (FAO), recently spoke of the risk of a “neo-colonial” agricultural system emerging.

The FAO said some of the first overseas projects by Gulf companies in Sudan, where more than 5 million people receive international food aid, showed limited local benefits, with much of the specialist labour and farming inputs imported.

A deal struck last month by Daewoo Logistics and Madagascar to grow crops on 1.3m hectares of land also attracted strong criticism. While the South Korean firm has promised to provide local jobs and will have to invest in building roads and farming infrastructure, it is paying no upfront fee and has a 99-year lease.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE GUARDIAN’ (UK)

Posted in 'DOHA TALKS', AGRICULTURE, BANKING SYSTEMS, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRIES, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ENVIRONMENT, FARMING SUBSIDIES, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, FOOD PRODUCTION (human), FOREIGN POLICIES, FRUITS AND FRESH VEGETABLES, INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION, INDUSTRIES, INTERNATIONAL, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, KENYA, MACROECONOMY, NATIONAL WORK FORCES, QATAR, REGULATIONS AND BUSINESS TRANSPARENCY, ROAD TRANSPORT, SOUTH KOREA, THE ARABIAN PENINSULA, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, THE UNITED NATIONS, THE WORK MARKET, THE WORKERS, TRANSPORT INDUSTRIES, WATER | Leave a Comment »

ASIAN MARKETS MIXED ON OUTLOOK FOR CHINA, US

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on December 1, 2008

1 Dec 2008, 1220 hrs IST, AGENCIES

PUBLISHED BY ‘THE ECONOMIC TIMES’ (India)

SEOUL, South Korea: Asian stock markets were mixed on Monday as investors digested signs that the U.S. holiday shopping season got off to a tepid start over the key Thanksgiving weekend.

While Japan’s market fell, stocks in Hong Kong and mainland China rose on expectations of further measures by the Chinese government to boost the economy after last month’s big interest rate cut and multibillion dollar stimulus package.

“These are the appetizers of a full meal, “said Winson Fong, managing director at SG Asset Management in Hong Kong, which overseas about $3 billion in equities in Asia, referring to those earlier measures. “It’s not the end.”

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was up 297 points, or 2.1 per cent, to 14,185.8, continuing its rally from last week, when it rose nearly 10 per cent. China’s Shanghai Composite index was up 0.4 per cent to 1,879.66.

India’s benchmark Sensex index also rose, climbing 2.4 per cent to 9,305.94, reflecting at least some investor confidence in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, where the stock exchange is located, that left at least 174 people dead.

Stocks in Australia, Singapore and South Korea also fell. Early reports from the U.S. showed modest gains in retail sales on Black Friday, the traditional start of the American holiday shopping season, but business appeared to fall off during the remainder of the weekend, considered one of the most important of the year for U.S. retailers. Also, sales gains seemed to come at the expense of profits as companies slashed prices to lure shoppers.

‘We don’t know if it’s driven by sales or if U.S. consumers are getting their confidence back,’ said Fong.

Investors around the world are paying close attention to the weekend sales figures for clues on the strength of the American economy, a vital export market.

According to preliminary figures released Saturday by ShopperTrak RCT, a research firm that tracks total retail sales at more than 50,000 outlets, sales rose 3 per cent to $10.6 billion on Friday from the same day a year ago. A more complete sales picture of how the Thanksgiving shopping weekend fared won’t be known until Thursday when the nation’s retailers report November same-store sales, or sales at stores opened at least a year.

Stocks in Thailand rose, led by energy stocks, amid hopes that the country’s political crisis will be resolved soon. Anti-government protesters have occupied Bangkok’s two main airports for nearly a week, cutting off air freight, stranding tourists and causing millions of dollars in lost sales. The benchmark SET index was up 0.8 per cent at 405.09.

In Tokyo, the benchmark Nikkei 225 stock average lost 123.34 points, or 1.5 per cent, to 8,388.93, retreating after advancing 7.6 per cent last week. Investors sold exporters as the yen strengthened, which erodes exporters’ overseas earnings.

‘Despite a rise on Wall Street last Friday, sentiment was downbeat as investors were bracing for weak U.S. manufacturing data due out later in the day,’ said Kazuhiro Takahashi, an equity strategist at Daiwa Securities SMBC Co. Ltd., referring to the Institute for Supply Management’s report for November.

Wall Street advanced for a fifth straight session Friday, the first time the Dow Jone industrial average to accomplish that feat since July 2007. For the week, the Dow climbed 9.7 per cent for the week and the broader Standard & Poor’s 500 index jumped 12 per cent.

U.S. stock futures were down, suggesting Wall Street would open lower Monday. Dow futures were up 59 points, or 0.7 per cent, to 8,763, and S&P futures were up 6.8 points, or 0.8 per cent, to 888.5.

Oil prices fell to near $53 a barrel after OPEC declined to cut production at an informal meeting in Cairo on Saturday. Light, sweet crude for January delivery was down $1.13 to $53.30 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange by midday in Singapore.

In currencies, the dollar declined to 95.22 yen from 95.48 yen in New York late Friday. The euro was little changed at $1.2685.

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PUBLISHED BY ‘THE ECONOMIC TIMES’ (India)

Posted in CHINA, COMMERCE, COMMODITIES MARKET, CONSUMERS AND PSYCHOLOGICAL FACTORS, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, ECONOMY - USA, ENERGY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, HONG KONG, INTERNATIONAL, OPEC, PETROL, SOUTH KOREA, STOCK MARKETS, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS, USA | Leave a Comment »

BLIND LEADING THE ONE-EYED

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 17, 2008

Nov 18, 2008

by Chan Akya

My worst fears about the weekend gathering in Washington of world leaders to discuss the financial THE PARABLE OF THE BLIND - painting by Bruegelcrisis were realized overnight when the statement after their meeting was released. It contained a host of generic fluff and very little mention of the specific actions required to tackle the gargantuan economic problems of today.

The statement accompanying the meeting, held under the Group of 20 (G-20) banner, could have been put together by a bunch of first-year economics students. It probably was, but that’s not what worries me about the initiative. In the opening part of the statement, the following section seemed positive: “Our work will be guided by a shared belief that market principles, open trade and investment regimes, and effectively regulated financial markets foster the dynamism, innovation, and entrepreneurship that are essential for economic growth, employment, and poverty reduction.”

After paying lip service to the idea of free market principles in the introduction, every aspect of the statement from then on relates to market, fiscal and monetary intervention on an epic scale by the assembled bureaucrats. In the next section on “root causes of the current crisis” is the following gem:

Major underlying factors to the current situation were, among others, inconsistent and insufficiently coordinated macroeconomic policies, inadequate structural reforms, which led to unsustainable global macroeconomic outcomes. These developments, together, contributed to excesses and ultimately resulted in severe market disruption.

Right there you have the prevailing notion that government intervention is what will help the global THE PARABLE OF THE BLIND - by the Greenwich Workshopeconomic system recover; indeed it was the absence of dialogue between these super-smart folks that led us to the current swamp. In related news, pigs were seen flying over Washington all day, but I digress.

Discussing “Actions taken and to be taken”, the statement goes on to say the following, laying the grounds for justifying pretty much any action by any government anywhere in the world but more importantly also bringing in the widely discredited multilateral agencies such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) back into the global picture: “As immediate steps to achieve these objectives, as well as to address longer-term challenges, we will:

– Continue our vigorous efforts and take whatever further actions are necessary to stabilize the financial system.

– Recognize the importance of monetary policy support, as deemed appropriate to domestic conditions.

– Use fiscal measures to stimulate domestic demand to rapid effect, as appropriate, while maintaining a policy framework conducive to fiscal sustainability.

– Help emerging and developing economies gain access to finance in current difficult financial conditions, including through liquidity facilities and program support. We stress the International Monetary Fund’s important role in crisis response, welcome its new short-term liquidity facility, and urge the ongoing review of its instruments and facilities to ensure flexibility.

– Encourage the World Bank and other multilateral development banks (MDBs) to use their full capacity THE PARABLE OF THE BLIND - A Belgian stampin support of their development agenda, and we welcome the recent introduction of new facilities by the World Bank in the areas of infrastructure and trade finance.

– Ensure that the IMF, World Bank and other MDBs have sufficient resources to continue playing their role in overcoming the crisis.”

Right here we have the makings of a return to the world economic order of yore, namely for the governments of the Group of Seven (G-7) leading industrialized nations to continue their spendthrift ways banking on the savings of emerging countries, while the latter remain happy in their role as supplicants to the global economy rather than assuming a leading role as is warranted by current fundamentals.

The return of international finance’s Terrible Twins is further proof of a hankering for the orthodoxy of export-oriented emerging economies securing access to financing as arranged by these shoddy bankers. It is amazing to me that countries like South Korea, Brazil and India signed up to this nonsense despite the very real structural problems created by these very programs in the recent past for these countries by the IMF.

Against these ideas there is an alternative of emerging countries floating their currencies and relying on internal consumption, which would predicate increased capital inflows for emerging countries at the cost of increasing capital costs for G-7 members. This option was apparently never even brought up in the meeting.

Secondly, the idea that emerging countries face multiple tariff barriers that keep millions in poverty was also not sufficiently discussed in the Washington meeting. To wit, Europe’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is singularly responsible for the poverty, starvation and malnutrition of millions of people in Africa and Latin America, yet there was not a mention of this unfair trade barrier in the Washington meeting. Instead, the idea of circling back to the status quo in one form or another appears to have taken precedence.

Reforming financial markets

Something must have gone wrong in Washington because the next section of the statement relating THE PARABLE OF THE BLIND - by Shannon Larrattto financial system reforms actually makes sense in places. I am guessing this was simply an oversight by the assembled officials; actual implementation will probably fail to follow any of the principles laid down. Paragraph 9, which details the common principles of reform, has the following five guiding headlines:

1. Strengthening transparency and accountability.

2. Enhancing sound regulation.

3. Promoting integrity in financial markets.

4. Reinforcing international cooperation.

5. Reforming international financial institutions.

I am really happy to note in this section that European attempts to reduce disclosure on financial assets by banks have come to naught. The 2009 leadership of Brazil, the United Kingdom and Korea to implement a series of recommendations will coordinate the G-20 Finance Ministers Group. Personally, I found that trio an odd choice, with only Brazil having a functioning financial system not overwhelmed by near-term liabilities. Then again, finding countries with relatively unstressed financial systems is a fairly difficult matter and perhaps the assembled leaders wanted to have people with sufficient experience of pain – for example the UK – participating in the recovery plans. That seems fine overall. The specific areas of recommendations being laid out are as under:

“Mitigating against pro-cyclicality in regulatory policy.

Reviewing and aligning global accounting standards, particularly for complex securities in times of stress.

Strengthening the resilience and transparency of credit derivatives markets and reducing their systemic risks, including by improving the infrastructure of over-the-counter markets.

Reviewing compensation practices as they relate to incentives for risk taking and innovation.

Reviewing the mandates, governance, and resource requirements of the IFIs [international financial institutions].

Defining the scope of systemically important institutions and determining their appropriate regulation or oversight.”

The next section on Open Global Economy isn’t worth reading, containing as it does platitudes about the World Trade Organization, the Doha round and so on without any substantive discussion on handling current conflicts on tariff barriers and capital flows.

The rest of the document deals with specific recommendations relating to the implementation of the five principles of reform as laid out previously. Of these, the move towards accounting standardization will help resolve a number of capital flow constraints, regulatory arbitrage and other egregious misuses of fiduciary principles in the financial markets.

Another welcome initiative in the financial market section is the reform of the over-the-counter market for credit default swaps (CDS), which will almost surely move to an exchange-traded or electronic trading format in the next few months. The need for this market is paramount more now than ever before, and I am happy that the G-20 has understood the rationale for a continued broadening of this market, rather than a reversal or even a shutdown as was suggested by a number of government officials in the US and Europe of late.

Missed opportunity

Overall, the G-20 meeting strikes me a missed opportunity for discussing a broadening of the world’s economic engine by inculcating stronger measures towards consumption in emerging countries and moving them away from the IMF-orthodoxy of remaining suppliers of cheap goods to developed countries.

Failures in the financial system need to be addressed, but the root cause of a misallocation of capital ONE-EYED ILLYfrom high-growth areas to lower-growth areas, that is from savers in countries like China, Brazil and India to the overextended consumers and pensioners of the US and Europe, was not discussed let alone addressed.

The coming wave of Keynesian spending across the world will only intensify this misallocation of capital as emerging countries continue to hold nearly worthless pieces of government debt issued by G-7 countries in return for vacuous promises of continued economic growth.

Then again, perhaps it is not the G-7 countries that are to blame for suggesting ways of keeping themselves economically relevant; such moves after all reflect their self-preservation instinct. What galls me is that leaders of countries such as Brazil, China and India bought into this malarkey.

(Copyright 2008 Asia Times Online (Holdings) Ltd. All rights reserved.

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‘GAS TROIKA’ PLANS LNG JOINT VENTURE, PAPER SAYS

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 14, 2008

November 13, 2008

by Eric Watkins – Oil Diplomacy Editor

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 13 – Russia’s state-owned OAO Gazprom, Qatar Liquefied Gas Co. Ltd., and PETRON - GASOLINE STATION - FUEL - PETROLEUM - OIL - KEROSENE - DIESELNational Iranian Oil Co. plan to establish a joint venture to produce gas from Iran’s South Pars field and liquefy it at Qatar’s Ras Laffan.

Each founder will get 30% in the project and the remaining 10% will go to the trader, probably to China’s CNPC or Korean Kogas, according to a report in Moscow’s Kommersant newspaper.

Participation by Qatar—a key US ally in the region — will level political risks triggered by the sales of Iranian gas, experts told the paper.

The plans are to set up the gas production infrastructure in South Pars, lay a pipeline across the Persian Gulf to Qatar, and construct an LNG facility at Ras Laffan.

The Kommersant report came as a Russian delegation led by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin arrived in Doha, Qatar, for talks with Qatari and Iranian officials on cooperation in natural gas exports.

Ahead of the meeting, Putin sought to allay the fears of gas consumers who viewed a meeting in Tehran last month as the start of a process that would eventually lead to the formation of an OPEC-like group of natural gas exporters.

At the time, Alexey Miller, chairman of OAO Gazprom’s management committee, said their discussions “may contribute greatly to developing the agenda for the Gas Exporting Countries Forum…,” which could be rapidly transformed “into a permanent organization promoting steady and reliable fuel supplies around the globe (OGJ Online, Oct. 24, 2008).”

Following the announcement, the European Union — Russia’s biggest gas customer — warned it could reconsider its energy policy if Russia, Iran, and Qatar formed a “gas OPEC.”

Putin said Nov. 11 that there were “absolutely no grounds for such fears,” adding, “We are not establishing a cartel; we are not striking any cartel deals.”

Putin said, “Energy producers, as well as consumers, have the right to— and in my view must —coordinate their decisions, exchange information, and do their best to ensure uninterrupted hydrocarbon supplies on global markets.”

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

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ASIAN SHARES, OIL TUMBLE AS GLOBAL RECESSION FEARS MOUNT

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 13, 2008

November 13, 2008

by Rafael Nam

HONG KONG, Nov. 13 (Reuters) – Asian shares fell on Thursday to their lowest this month on A woman walks by an electric stock average index board in Hong Kong Thursday, Nov. 13, 2008. Hong Kong's stock index has plunged over 6 percent in early trade, tracking Wall Street's sharp losses overnight. The blue chip Hang Seng index fell 923.83 points, or 6.63 percent, to 13015.28 points in the morninguncertainty about whether the United States can succeed in its massive banking rescue and as Intel Corp.’s revenue warning stoked corporate earnings worries.

European markets also opened lower and were set for another rocky ride as the Germany announced its economy officially entered recession, contracting for a second straight quarter.

Japan’s Nikkei average dropped 6.3 percent. Other markets also took a beating: South Korea, Australia, and Hong Kong fell 5-6 percent each. Taiwan and Singapore dropped 3-4 percent each.

However, Shanghai gained 1.7 percent on hopes China’s spending plan would spur economic growth.

Evaporating confidence in the global economy led crude prices to hit a 22-month low of $ 55 a barrel, even after OPEC President Chakib Khelil indicated the oil-producing cartel may cut supply again. Metals such as platinum also dropped.

In London, oil prices steadied on Thursday after falling close to 50 dollars a barrel as the International Energy Agency warns of sliding energy demand around the globe.

With prices tumbling to the lowest levels in almost two years and down almost two-thirds in value compared to record highs of above 147 dollars a barrel in July, analysts said OPEC was certain to call an emergency meeting to announce further cuts to output.

Adding to the gloom was the forecast of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development that leading industrialized nations appear to be in a ‘’protracted’’ downturn, with the US, Japanese and eurozone economies likely to shrink next year.

The OECD predicted a return to modest growth in 2010 but warned that the United States, the world’s largest economy, would suffer a whopping 2.8 percent contraction in fourth quarter 2008.

It called for further government stimulus measures and steps to shore up financial markets but also warned against any move that would distort competition or threaten the operation of open markets.

The Japanese yen retreated against the euro and the dollar after soaring on Wednesday on a flight-to-quality. Other Asian currencies fell, while Australia’s central bank stepped in to support its tumbling Australian dollar.

The MSCI index of Asian stocks outside Japan dropped 5.7 percent after at one point hitting its lowest level since Oct. 30.

Asian shares followed Wall Street lower after the US Treasury on Wednesday backed away from using a $ 700 billion bailout fund to buy bad mortgage debt from lenders to focus instead on buying stakes in the US banks themselves.

The shift in focus not only created uncertainty, but came after a raft of recent gloomy economic data worldwide.

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SHIPPING’S PREMIER LEAGUE DEBATE THE IMPACT OF THE CREDIT CRUNCH (South Korea)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 12, 2008

Posted: 11.11.2008

Organised by the Korean Register of Shipping attended by around 150 leading industry representatives SHIPPING CONTAINERSfrom the owning, building and classification sectors, this event proved an ideal forum to debate the current issues facing the industry.

The impact of the current financial crisis topped the agenda at last week’s inaugural Seoul International Maritime and Shipbuilding conference.

Conference keynoter, Lee Jae-Gyoon, vice minister at the ministry of land, transport and maritime affairs, admitted that the current economic downturn had hit harder than forecast but that Korea was well prepared to weather the storm. Mr Lee outlined a number of upcoming government initiatives and activities for shipping that included plans to further advance the technical and design standards for ships, strengthening safety management systems, an enhanced focus on environmental issues, heightened collision damage compensation and actions to help reduce global piracy.

The impact of falling freight rates was a theme taken up by many of the conference speakers. Some thought that oil and commodity prices would stabilise in 2010 but that the growth of the world fleet would necessarily slow down as ship recycling started up again. The financial squeeze might, some said, make older ships more economic due to lesser financing requirements which could lead to a general shift in the age profile of the fleet. Others thought that it would be the older vessels that were more likely to be scrapped as global demand diminished.

The recent boom years had driven vessels and crews to work much harder but recently, according to some speakers, there had been a reduction in collisions, groundings and other human element induced incidents leading many to believe that these would continue to fall as the pressure eased. It was also argued that human error was the root cause of 80% of insurance claims and that these were also likely to reduce as less than scrupulous owners would no longer need to send ships to sea with ill-trained, inexperienced or undermanned crews. At the same time, more focus could be given to improving the working life of the seafarers including better on-board accommodation, improved shore access and measures to reduce crew fatigue.

Some owners, it was argued, had been guilty of overworking their vessels and had been less than diligent in sticking to maintenance schedules causing an increase in machinery and other failures. A lack of repair and dry-dock facilities were also thought to have been a contributory factor. But low freight rates would cause additional problems for the insurance sector as owners filed more claims in an attempt to cover maintenance and running costs.

Shipyards were facing similar issues. Plummeting freight rates and vessel values had reduced shipyard liquidity but those building high quality vessels would continue to prosper, particularly in the current environment of ever increasing regulation. Specific issues facing the Korean builders – and echoed in many yards across Asia – were highlighted. They were concerned with the 255% increase in the price of steel plate (since 2002) and a shortage of skilled workers. More than 119,000 skilled workers were employed in the main Korean yards and the requirement was growing year-on-year. Many yards were now relying on subcontractors, it was said.

Speakers at the conference included: Peter Swift – Intertanko, Roberto Cazzulo – RINA, Simon Stonehouse – Brit Insurance Holdings, Kwon Oh-Yoon – Korean Shipbuilders’ Association, Lee Jin-Bang – Korea Shipowners’ Association, Clifford Proctor – OCIMF, Roger Holt – Intercargo, Michael Grey – Lloyd’s List, Peter Hinchliffe – International Chamber of Shipping and Lim Chin-Soo – KMI,

Commenting on the event, KR chairman Mr Oh Kong-Gyun said “Korea remains the world’s premier shipbuilding nation and one of the top global ship-operating countries. The core role of the Korean Register is to ensure the safety of vessels at sea and the protection of the maritime environment and this important conference has provided a forum to advance those aims. It has allowed us to give a much stronger voice to the Asian shipping community and to bring together leading representatives from shipping companies, yards and class from both Asia and Europe. Such has been the success of this conference that I am pleased to announce that it will become an annual fixture in KR’s calendar”

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SOUTH KOREA INJECTS $11 BILLION INTO ECONOMY

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 4, 2008

Published: November 4, 2008

by Victoria Burnett and Bettina Wassener

South Korea announced a $11 billion stimulus package on Monday and the Spanish government unveiled a program to allow out-of-work homeowners to defer mortgage payments, the latest in a string of steps by governments seeking to prop up economic growth and cushion the effect of the financial crisis.

On Tuesday, Australia joined the trend when its central bank cut a key lending rate.

South Korea, which has been hit hard by U.S. and European consumers’ reluctance to spend money on goods like electronics and cars, and where the financial crisis has left local banks struggling to pay billions of dollars in short-term loans, has announced a series of emergency measures in recent weeks.

The South Korean president, Lee Myung Bak, announced measures that include an additional 11 trillion won in government spending and 3 trillion won in tax cuts, a total equivalent to $11 billion. These are aimed mainly at the real estate and construction industries.

The South Korean finance minister, Kang Man Soo, was quoted by Bloomberg News as saying, “Now is the time that a financial markets crisis is being transferred to the real sector, and we need to get down to start to manage the situation.”

The package is intended to raise economic growth next year by an additional one percentage point, to about 4 percent. It was announced as fresh data showed that South Korean export growth had slowed to its lowest levels in 13 months in October, further evidence that the downturn in the United States and Europe was spilling over into the export-driven economies of Asia.

Economists said the export figures were also likely to prompt the South Korean central bank to cut the cost of borrowing at its policy meeting Friday. That would be the second cut in two weeks, coming soon after the bank staged a surprise cut, of three-quarters of a percentage point at an emergency meeting last week.

The Spanish move came as other countries with troubled housing markets, including the United States, are debating steps to help people stave off foreclosure, but have yet to enact any direct measures.

Spain is grappling with an economy that is slipping into recession and has the highest unemployment rate in the European Union.

Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero told a news conference in Madrid that the package would also include incentives for employers to hire the jobless.

Under the mortgage relief program, unemployed homeowners and some retirees could postpone payment of half their monthly bill for two years starting in January — as long as the amount deferred each month was no more than 500 euros, or about $635. The offer would apply to mortgages of up to 170,000 euros and could affect about half a million people, Zapatero said.

The Spanish government will underwrite the deferred payments, which may be spread over 10 years, Zapatero said.

Spain had been a European leader in terms of job creation in the last decade, as well as in home building. But the economy has ground to a halt as the property bubble deflated and the global credit crisis hit home.

In an effort to persuade businesses to hire those now receiving benefits, Zapatero said the government would pay companies 1,500 euros a year for each job given to an unemployed worker supporting a family. He also said bonuses would be introduced for companies hiring people working in research and development and renewable energy.

The package is intended to bolster growth next year by an additional percentage point to around 4 percent, and was announced as fresh data showed export growth in October had slowed to its lowest pace in 13 months.

Weak economic data in Australia led that country’s central bank to reduce its key rate Tuesday. The cut was the third since Sept. 3.

The moves have been intended to prop up the Australian economy, which is highly dependent on raw materials production and has suffered from falling prices for iron ore and copper in recent months. Data released Monday showed retail sales fell 1.1 percent in September, much more than had been expected, while house prices fell 1.8 percent during the third quarter.

China, which last week joined a flurry of interest rate cuts in the United States and elsewhere, over the weekend announced it was loosening limits on bank lending. Signs in China also indicate that economic growth is slowing.

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ASIAN MARKETS GAIN AS HANG SENG RISES 3 PERCENT

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 3, 2008

Nov 3, 3:56 AM EST

by Jeremiah Marquez – AP Business Writer

HONG KONG (AP) — Asian stock markets rose Monday, with Hong Kong’s benchmark advancing 3 percent, as investors appeared encouraged by government efforts to help the global economy weather the financial crisis.

Across the region, markets seemed to shrug of more dispiriting economic data and focus on fresh stimulus plans.

The Korea Composite Stock Price added 1.4 percent after the government unveiled nearly $11 billion in new spending measures to protect South Korea from sliding into recession.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 was up more than 5 percent despite troubling evidence of slowing manufacturing and retail sales, as traders anticipated a further interest rate cut from the country’s central bank on Tuesday.

India’s main stock index rose 4.6 percent after a central bank decision over the weekend to cut the nation’s key interest rate and release $8.1 billion into its financial system.

Hong Kong’s blue-chip Hang Seng Index was among the region’s top gainers, climbing 414, or 3 percent, to 14,382, Singapore’s key index also rose by about 4 percent.

“I don’t think it’s a massive change in direction, more a case of a little more confidence going forward in massively oversold stocks and … global organized attempts to deal with the issues,” said Miles Remington, head of Asian sales trading at BNP Paribas Securities in Hong Kong.

U.S. stock index futures were up modestly, suggesting that Wall Street would open higher. The Dow Jones industrial average added 144.32, or 1.6 percent, to close Friday at 9,325.01. Dow futures were up 0.9 percent, while S&P futures were up 0.7 percent.

Financials were sharply higher in many Asian markets. China’s ICBC gained 9.6 percent in Hong Kong, top Indian lender ICICI Bank Ltd. rose 8 percent, and leading Australian investment bank Macquarie Group Ltd. surged 12.4 percent.

Elsewhere, the prospect of interest rate cuts from the Philippine central bank buoyed the country’s market for the fourth straight session.

Shanghai’s benchmark, though, erased early gains to trade in negative territory amid reports suggesting Chinese manufacturing, the engine behind the country’s phenomenal growth, was contracting. The index closed down 0.5 percent.

Japanese financial markets were closed Monday for a public holiday and due to reopen Tuesday.

Global stock markets could take direction from the U.S. this week after the country’s presidential election on Tuesday helps fill in some blanks about how Washington might shape economic policy in the months ahead.

Analysts offered differing opinions of the election’s likely impact on markets.

Chelsea Dipasupil, head of research at RCBC Securities Inc., said the Philippine market appeared to be welcoming the possibility of Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama winning.

“Since it is Obama leading surveys, it might be that there is a renewed confidence in a new leadership,” she said. President George W. Bush and the Republicans “had become unpopular because of some of his policies and the current economic crisis,” she said.

CFC Seymour analyst Dariusz Kowalczyk said an Obama win might provide “economic policy clarity” but Democratic control of U.S. economic policy “would risk disincentivising entrepreneurship.”

That could weigh on the long-term outlook for productivity and growth, which could be “market-negative” in the medium term, the Hong Kong-based analyst said in a research note.

Investors will also keep an eye on U.S. reports due on manufacturing, the service sector and employment in the world’s largest economy amd major market for Asia’s exports.

October was a brutal month for Asian markets, but ended with tentative signs of recovery. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index shed about 23 percent during the month amid worries that the global financial crisis would erode corporate profits as investors dumped shares to meet redemptions back home. The benchmark dropped as low as 11,015.84 last Monday – its worst close since May 2004 – but has since bounced back.

The rise in Asian markets also lifted oil prices, which advanced 72 cents to $68.53 a barrel in Asian trade on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

The dollar gained 99.56 yen from 98.44 late Friday in New York, up sharply from the 13-year low of 91 yen touched Oct. 24. The euro was higher at $1.2867 from $1.2751.

AP Writer Hrvoje Hranjski in Manila contributed to this report.

© 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Copyright 2008 Associated Press

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Posted in ASIA, AUSTRALIA, BANKING SYSTEMS, CENTRAL BANKS, CHINA, ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE, ECONOMY, FINANCIAL CRISIS 2008/2009, FINANCIAL MARKETS, HONG KONG, INDIA, OCEANIA, SOUTH KOREA, STOCK MARKETS, THE FLOW OF INVESTMENTS | Leave a Comment »

KOREAN BANK CUTS RATES AGAIN AS SHAREMARKET SHEDS VALUE

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on October 28, 2008

4:00AM Tuesday Oct 28, 2008

SEOUL – South Korea’s central bank slashed its key interest rate yesterday for the second time this BANK OF KOREA IN SEOULmonth in a bid to boost the economy and stock market amid the global financial crisis.

The Bank of Korea said it had lowered its benchmark seven-day repurchase rate from 5 per cent to 4.25 per cent.

The decision came as South Korean markets suffer due to the world financial turmoil. The country’s benchmark stock index lost one-fifth of its value last week, its worst weekly performance on record. The won currency has fallen sharply.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index, which had fallen in early trading, rose as much as 2.9 per cent after the decision was announced.

Yesterday’s decision came at a rare interim policy meeting and follows acut of a quarter percentage point at a regular policy meeting this month.

It was the second unscheduled meeting for the bank since its current policy was established in 1998. The previous one came after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States when the bank cut its key rate by half a percentage point.

The bank announced on Friday that South Korean economic growth slowed in the third quarter to 3.9 per cent, as construction contracted and the global slowdown hit manufacturing and exports. It was the worst performance by Asia’s fourth-largest economy since the second quarter of 2005, when it expanded 3.4 per cent.

The slowdown comes as the global financial crisis sends shockwaves through world markets and threatens to drag major economies into recession.

– AP

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