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UN rejects demand to leave I.Coast

In Uncategorized on December 19, 2010 at 8:27 am

UN chief Ban Ki-moon rejected a demand that UN peacekeepers leave Ivory Coast, heightening the international confrontation with contested leader Laurent Gbagbo.


Gbagbo had earlier ordered UN and French peacekeepers out of the country, accusing them of backing rebel fighters supporting his rival Alassane Ouattara.


The demand for their “immediate” departure reflected the growing anger of Gbagbo’s nationalist supporters, and came as his most notorious lieutenant urged young Ivorians to make ready to fight for their sovereignty.


But Ban condemned attacks on UN troops in the West African nation and warned of “consequences” for those behind such action.

A supporter of Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo attends a demonstration in central London. UN chief Ban Ki-moon rejected a demand that UN peacekeepers leave Ivory Coast, heightening the international confrontation with contested leader Laurent Gbagbo

The UN mission, UNOCI, “will fulfil its mandate and will continue to monitor and document any human rights violations, incitement to hatred and violence, or attacks on UN peacekeepers,” Ban was quoted as saying in a statement.


The United Nations, United States, European Union and Ivory Coast’s west African neighbours all demanded that Gbagbo cede power to Ouattara after both men claimed to have won last month’s presidential election.


But the veteran strongman retains control of the official armed forces and his backers have vowed to fight on, turning their anger on UN peacekeepers, former colonial power France and Ouattara’s own Ivorian supporters.


“The president of the Republic of the Ivory Coast has just asked for the immediate departure from Ivorian territory of UNOCI and the French forces that support it,” Education Minister Jacqueline Lohoues-Oble said on Saturday.


As tension mounted between the two camps, Gbagbo’s supporters accused the United Nations’ 10,000-strong force and France’s 900 troops in Ivory Coast of supporting pro-Ouattara rebel fighters.


The spokeswoman repeated these claims and accused the UN mission of broadcasting rebel propaganda on its radio station to destabilise the country.


Ban said: “The international community has spoken with one voice regarding Mr. Gbagbo’s attempt to hold onto power.”


He added that statements of support for Ouattara by the West African regional bloc, ECOWAS, and the African Union “have shown that the African continent is united in its commitment to respect the democratically expressed will of the Ivorian people.”


About 800 UN forces are protecting Ouattara’s government headquarters in an Abidjan hotel, while Gbagbo retains the presidential palace and the loyalty of the Ivory Coast army.


Ban “is deeply concerned about the attacks on a UN patrol and sentries at UNOCI HQ perpetrated by elements of the Ivorian security forces apparently loyal to Mr. Gbagbo, and an attack on UN military observers by Young Patriots on Saturday, 18 December, which left two military observers wounded.”


The Young Patriots also back Gbagbo.


Ban warned: “There will be consequences for those who have perpetrated or orchestrated any such actions or do so in the future.”


The UN leader reaffirmed a warning made on Friday that “any attack on UN forces will be an attack on the international community and those responsible for these actions will be held accountable.


“Any continued actions obstructing and constricting UN operations are similarly unacceptable.”

Guillaume Soro, Ouattara’s choice for prime minister and the leader of the New Forces former rebel movement, dismissed Gbagbo’s orders as having no authority.

“In any case, this decision can’t be put into effect as Mr Gbagbo is no longer president, so we don’t need to be concerned with it. We find this act of a beaten president entirely ridiculous…,” he told AFP.

France has said in recent days that its contingent, known as “Licorne”, could be used to ensure the safe departure of the 15,000 French civilians living in Ivory Coast if the situation turns dangerous.

The UNOCI mission deployed in 2004 to help end a civil war between Gbagbo’s southern forces and northern rebels dubbed the New Forces. The rebels now back Ouattara and Gbagbo’s order will increase fears of a new conflict.

“Play time is over,” declared Charles Ble Goude, Gbagbo’s minister for youth, who has been under UN sanctions since 2006 for “acts of violence by street militias, including beatings, rapes and extrajudicial killings”.

“We are going to defend the sovereignty of our country until the last drop of our sweat. I urge all Ivorians to make themselves ready for this combat. We are going to totally liberate our country,” he told AFP.

On Friday, France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy called for Gbagbo to stand down, warning he and his powerful wife Simone face individual international sanctions, including an EU visa ban and asset freeze.

“If Sarkozy plans military intervention, he’d better be ready to kill a lot of Ivorians,” Ble Goude warned at his rally.

On Thursday, street clashes between pro-Gbagbo security forces and Ouattara supporters left between 11 and 30 people dead, and the Red Cross has treated almost 550 wounded since the start of the stand-off.

The UN Security Council is to discuss the Ivory Coast crisis on Monday and take a scheduled vote on whether to extend its current mandate which ends on December 31.

Source: SGGP

Yearend dollar demand piles up pressure on local importers

In Uncategorized on December 16, 2010 at 10:05 am

Surging demand for the US dollars at yearend pushed the dollar/Vietnam dong exchange rate up to the highest ever of VND21,570 on the unofficial market on December 1st, which will hurt local importers badly.

(Photo: Minh Tri)


The surge usually come at the end of every year, when local businesses buy more shipments to prepare for the Lunar New Year season and foreign firms need to transfer dollars to their home. It’s also the due dates of other businesses, who have to pay US dollar debts.


Many commercial lenders are indirectly selling the greenback at higher rates than the State Bank of Vietnam’s regulated one by charging foreign currency transactions fee and cash counting fee and payment fee, many importers said. 


Local importers have to accept to pay those extra fees as they have no other choice, said Vietnam Young Business Association chairman Vo Quoc Thang.


They need to pay their foreign suppliers in time, so they are willing to buy dollars at high prices, he said. With purchase orders’ prices remaining unchanged, these extra fees generate big losses to the importers.


Do Duy Thai, general director of the steel maker Thep Viet, said commercial banks sell the greenback at the exchange rate of VND21,550 per one US dollar. “Both bank interest rate and the US dollar/Vietnam dong exchange rate are on a rise, leaving local businesses struggling to pay their imported shipments,” Thai said.


A director of a Ho Chi Minh City-based lender, who wanted to be unnamed, said banks bought dollars from exporters, who tried to take profits from the dollar’s surging demand by selling at high prices.


Therefore the lenders will incur losses if they sell dollars at the regulated rate, the director said.


The State Bank of Vietnam earlier announced it would continue to sell dollars to essential-product importers, but commercial banks said the supply didn’t meet the demand.


Dr. Tran Du Lich, member of the National Monetary Policy Consulting Council, recommended that the central bank should name the importers, who are allowed to buy dollars, so they don’t have to purchase at the unofficial market.


This move will also prevent local businesses from importing luxury products, which will widen the trade gap. Lich said. The central bank also has to strictly forbid illegal foreign currency exchanges, which are taking place at the so-called black market, he said.


Nguyen Hoang Minh, deputy director of  the State Bank of Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City branch, noticed speculators pushed the dollar/Vietnam dong exchange rates on the unofficial market up to cash in the rising demand.


Statistics of the branch shows that the amount of US dollar deposits reached VND188.2 billion (US$9 million), rising 12 percent so far this year. The amount of US dollar loans rose 35.4 percent to VND184.880 billion, according to the central bank’s HCMC branch.

Source: SGGP

Yearend dollar demand piles up pressure on local importers

In Uncategorized on December 16, 2010 at 10:05 am

Surging demand for the US dollars at yearend pushed the dollar/Vietnam dong exchange rate up to the highest ever of VND21,570 on the unofficial market on December 1st, which will hurt local importers badly.

(Photo: Minh Tri)

The surge usually come at the end of every year, when local businesses buy more shipments to prepare for the Lunar New Year season and foreign firms need to transfer dollars to their home. It’s also the due dates of other businesses, who have to pay US dollar debts.


Many commercial lenders are indirectly selling the greenback at higher rates than the State Bank of Vietnam’s regulated one by charging foreign currency transactions fee and cash counting fee and payment fee, many importers said. 


Local importers have to accept to pay those extra fees as they have no other choice, said Vietnam Young Business Association chairman Vo Quoc Thang.


They need to pay their foreign suppliers in time, so they are willing to buy dollars at high prices, he said. With purchase orders’ prices remaining unchanged, these extra fees generate big losses to the importers.


Do Duy Thai, general director of the steel maker Thep Viet, said commercial banks sell the greenback at the exchange rate of VND21,550 per one US dollar. “Both bank interest rate and the US dollar/Vietnam dong exchange rate are on a rise, leaving local businesses struggling to pay their imported shipments,” Thai said.


A director of a Ho Chi Minh City-based lender, who wanted to be unnamed, said banks bought dollars from exporters, who tried to take profits from the dollar’s surging demand by selling at high prices.


Therefore the lenders will incur losses if they sell dollars at the regulated rate, the director said.


The State Bank of Vietnam earlier announced it would continue to sell dollars to essential-product importers, but commercial banks said the supply didn’t meet the demand.


Dr. Tran Du Lich, member of the National Monetary Policy Consulting Council, recommended that the central bank should name the importers, who are allowed to buy dollars, so they don’t have to purchase at the unofficial market.


This move will also prevent local businesses from importing luxury products, which will widen the trade gap. Lich said. The central bank also has to strictly forbid illegal foreign currency exchanges, which are taking place at the so-called black market, he said.


Nguyen Hoang Minh, deputy director of  the State Bank of Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City branch, noticed speculators pushed the dollar/Vietnam dong exchange rates on the unofficial market up to cash in the rising demand.


Statistics of the branch shows that the amount of US dollar deposits reached VND188.2 billion (US$9 million), rising 12 percent so far this year. The amount of US dollar loans rose 35.4 percent to VND184.880 billion, according to the central bank’s HCMC branch.

Source: SGGP

Japan firms profit from emerging economy demand: report

In Uncategorized on October 31, 2010 at 11:11 am

Demand for accounting/finance personnel remains “hot”

In Uncategorized on October 19, 2010 at 8:11 pm




Demand for accounting/finance personnel remains “hot”


QĐND – Tuesday, October 19, 2010, 22:14 (GMT+7)

Accounting/finance ranked third amongst the top five functions with the highest demand for executive positions during the first three quarters of 2010, reported Navigos Group.


Of the total demand for accounting/finance manpower, 25 percent was for finance managers and directors, 4 percent for finance controllers and demand for chief accountants and accountants was a substantial 38 percent and 33 percent respectively, according to a recent research carried by the leading and largest recruiting firm in Vietnam.


Navigos Group’s Managing Director Nguyen Thi Van Anh said, “The most recent monetary downturn was witness to the growing influence and control that chief finance officers and finance leaders have in guiding businesses through troubled times.”


“No longer just bookkeepers for their firms, accounting and finance professionals are regarded as business partners, skilled in areas of divesting and restructuring businesses, developing financial models and analysing financial forecasts, as well as developing back office transaction processes that support cast flow and drive efficiencies in so many areas,” the director said.


Le Thi Hong Len, Country Manager of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), added that changes in the roles of professional accountants and the finance function itself are partly a consequence of the downturn, and partly an outcome of a growing recognition of the value that the finance function and professional accountants can add to an organisation.


Len quoted the findings of an intensive survey conducted by ACCA in 105 countries last March, in which nearly 70 percent of respondents considered it very important for organisations to have a formal programme to develop the best financial talent.


Up to 75 percent of the respondents suggested that talent management was an important component in addressing financial skills shortages prevalent in many organisations.


Navigos Group and ACCA jointly hosted a seminar “Accounting/Finance Talent in 2010” in Hanoi on October 19 to update the most current trend and how best to recruit and develop accounting/finance talent in Vietnam .


The seminar brought together approximately 200 chief executive officers (CEOs), chief finance officers (CFOs), human resources directors and managers from domestic and multinational corporations.


A similar seminar will be held in the southern largest economic hub of Ho Chi Minh City on October 21.


Source: VNA


Source: QDND

Rice prices go up but enterprises commit to meeting domestic demand

In Uncategorized on October 19, 2010 at 8:10 pm




Rice prices go up but enterprises commit to meeting domestic demand


QĐND – Tuesday, October 19, 2010, 22:14 (GMT+7)

The information about the rice price increases in the world market has promptly pushed the domestic prices up. Meanwhile, enterprises have been told to get ready to stabilize the market, in case the “price fever”, the thing that once occurred in 2008, returns.


Sales agents in HCM City have raised the retail prices by 3,000-10,000 dong per kilo for every five-kilo bag. Especially, Thai sticky rice is now selling at over 30,000 dong per kilo, or 8,000 dong per kilo higher than previously. Scented sticky rice is being sold at 60,000 dong per kilo, an increase of 12,000 dong per kilo.


Huynh Cong Thanh, Director of Foocosa Company in HCM City, said that the domestic prices have increased because of the higher input materials. For example, first class rice (5 percent of broken rice), which was traded at 7,000-7,100 dong per kilo, is being sold at 7,450 dong. Meanwhile, it is now the time for Vietnamese exporters to deliver products to importers. Some countries are pushing up rice purchases, including Iraq (60,000 tons) and Cuba (200,000 tons).


Thanh said the demand has increased sharply recently. Previously, the shops of Foocosa chain sold 12-15 tons a day, while they sell 25 tons a day now.


Chair of the Vietnam Food Association Truong Thanh Phong said the world market seems to be stable but the imbalance in supply and demand can be seen in some regions. It is now clear that some countries plan to import rice in big quantities, namely Indonesia, the Philippines, Bangladesh and African countries.


The sharp rice price increases have raised the worry that the “rice fever” which once occurred in 2008, may return. At that time, people, fearing that the rice supply would become short since enterprises boost exports, rushed to purchase rice to store up. As the result, some big cities seriously suffered from the lack of rice, while enterprises could not carry rice from other provinces at once.


“You should learn the lesson from the 2008 rice price fever. Not only the enterprises in Hanoi and HCM City but also the ones in rural areas have to get ready to stabilize the market when troubles occur,” said Phong.


Thanh has reassured the public that Foocosa is still selling normal rice at no more than 8,000 dong per kilo as it has committed, while scented rice price is being at 10,500 dong per kilo. Foocosa still has 5,000 tons of rice in stocks to be provided to the shops in the city. If troubles occur, Foocosa will carry rice from other provinces to HCM City.


Nguyen Thanh Nhan, Deputy General Director of Saigon Co-op, said the prices of food and necessities available at Saigon Co-op chain remain stable. The prices of some products such as canned food, drinks have just increased slightly.


Le Ngoc Dao, Deputy Director of the HCM City Department of Industry and Trade, said the city’s authorities are following a plan to stabilize the market. To date, the prices of the most essential goods remain stable, while the supply remains profuse.


Source: VNN


Source: QDND

Cathay expands fleet as demand returns

In Uncategorized on August 4, 2010 at 11:20 am

HONG KONG, Aug 4, 2010 (AFP) – Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific on Wednesday announced plans to buy 30 new airplanes for almost eight US billion dollars, underlining the carrier’s expansion as it reported strong first-half profit.


In a statement to Hong Kong’s stock exchange, Cathay said the total catalogue price for the Airbus A350-900′ would be approximately 7.82 billion US dollars.

Travellers walk past a Cathay Pacific check-in barrier at Hong Kong international airport on August 4, 2010. AFP

The planes, powered by two new generation Rolls-Royce Trent XWB (Xtra Wide-Body) engines, will form the backbone of the airline’s future mid-size widebody fleet and can be used for non-stop flights to Europe and North America.


The carrier said it also intended to exercise existing purchase rights for six Boeing 777-300ER aircraft with a catalogue price of about 1.61 billion US dollars.


The news came as Cathay separately announced its net profit for the first half of 2010 had soared eight-fold to 6.84 billion Hong Kong dollars (880 million US) thanks to robust passenger and freight demand.


“Our passenger and freighter schedules have been restored almost to their pre-downturn levels,” chairman Christopher Pratt said in a statement.


Cathay’s passenger business experienced a “marked improvement from the lows of 2009 with revenues returning to almost pre-financial crisis levels,” he said, noting a particularly sharp increase in demand for business travel originating in Hong Kong.


Pratt said Cathay would continue to strengthen its fleet by adding modern, fuel-efficient aircraft.


The airline is set to take delivery of 12 Boeing 777-300ER passenger aircraft between now and 2013, having added four planes of the same model to its fleet in the first-half of this year, he said.


Cathay has also added Milan and Moscow as its new passenger destinations this year.


Pratt said cargo business had been very robust for the whole of the first half.


“We will significantly increase the operational efficiency of our freighter fleet when we begin taking delivery of a total of 10 Boeing 747-8Fs in January next year.”


Cathay’s share price jumped 2.99 percent to 17.90 Hong Kong dollars following its earnings announcement.


Pratt said the company expected financial results to stay strong in the second half of 2010, subject to further increases in fuel prices or any return to recessionary economic conditions.


The airline swung back to profit in 2009 after suffering a massive net loss of 8.6 billion Hong Kong dollars in 2008 on the back of huge fuel hedge losses and falling cargo revenue amid the global financial crisis.

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Source: SGGP

Asian air travel demand boosts Boeing, Airbus at Farnborough

In Uncategorized on July 20, 2010 at 11:23 am

FARNBOROUGH, United Kingdom, July 20, 2010 (AFP) – Aircraft manufacturers awaited more orders Tuesday at the Farnborough Airshow, a day after it took off with rivals Boeing and Airbus netting 23 billion dollars in new contracts.


A rush of orders for 192 short- and long-haul passenger jets worth a total of 23.3 billion dollars (18 billion euros) marked the start of the show, as airlines and leasing firms sought to meet soaring Asian demand for air travel.


The biggest single order came from Dubai airline Emirates for 30 Boeing long-range 777 aircraft worth a combined 9.1 billion dollars.


General Electric’s aircraft leasing unit agreed to buy 40 single-aisle 737-800 planes worth 3.0 billion dollars from US aerospace giant Boeing.


GE Capital Aviation Services also bought 60 A320 single-aisle planes with a catalogue price of 4.5 billion dollars from Boeing’s fierce European rival, Airbus.


Airbus won a 4.4-billion-dollar order from new US group Air Lease Corporation (ALC) for 51 A320 jets while Russian airline Aeroflot confirmed it was buying 11 long-haul Airbus A330-300 carriers worth 2.3 billion dollars.

An Airbus Military A400M aircraft lands following an air display during the Farnborough International Airshow on July 19, 2010. AFP

“The leasing companies are looking, to not only an upturn in Western European and US markets, but they are also seeing the opportunity in emerging markets,” independent aviation analyst John Strickland told AFP.


“There’s strong demand for aircraft coming through from not only the Middle East but other parts of Asia and in particular China so getting those aircraft on the books now… really is placing them in a strong position to take advantage of that upturn and the growing economies in the years to come.”


Although the 192 planes ordered Monday are together worth more than 23 billion dollars, customers traditionally receive large discounts on the list price of each plane when the orders are of a certain size.


Emirates’ huge order came only a month after the airline agreed to spend 11.5 billion dollars on 32 Airbus A380 superjumbos — the biggest single contract in civil aviation history.


The Farnborough International Airshow near London is one of the aviation world’s biggest trade events and renowned for being an arena for major deal announcements.


Defence will also be in focus Tuesday at the event, which traditionally sees the announcement of orders for military jets. But with governments set to slash defence budgets to help reduce huge public deficits, major deals may be scarce.


Boeing will be hoping to secure more orders here for its mid-sized 787 Dreamliner — a fuel-efficient jet which will be on display in Farnborough after making its first flight outside of the United States on Sunday.


The plane, which can fly very long distances and seat up to 330 passengers, has been beset by production delays.


Jim Albaugh, chief executive of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said on Sunday the company hoped to deliver the first Dreamliner to launch client All Nippon Airways no later than January.


Airbus is working on a new long-haul plane of its own — the A350 XWB (Extra Wide Body).

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Source: SGGP

BP boss in hot seat as lawmakers demand oil spill answers

In Uncategorized on June 18, 2010 at 4:28 am

Angry US lawmakers skewered BP boss Tony Hayward Thursday, accusing him of stonewalling as he dodged a barrage of hostile questions seeking to lay bare the causes of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.


“I can’t pass judgement on those decisions,” Hayward told openly disbelieving members of a key House panel investigating the worst environmental disaster in US history. “I think it’s too early to reach conclusions.”


Just a day after BP won praise for bowing to White House demands to set up a 20-billion-dollar fund to pay compensation claims for Gulf residents facing economic ruin, the British energy giant’s CEO was back in the hot seat.


Protester Diane Wilson is escorted from the hearing room

Hayward said he would wait until BP finished its probe into the April 20 blast that killed 11 workers aboard the Deepwater Horizon drilling platform, sank the rig, and sent oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico’s waters.


“I wasn’t involved in any decision-making,” on how to drill, test, or secure the well, added Hayward, a 28-year oil industry veteran, drawing a charge from Democratic Representative Henry Waxman that he was “stonewalling.”


Hayward’s contrite opening remarks to the panel, and a vow that the British energy giant would repair the economic and environmental damage wrought on US southern shores, were quickly overshadowed as he declined to reveal specifics.


“Is today Thursday?” asked Cliff Stearns, a representative from oil-hit Florida, after Hayward repeatedly refused to give a straight “yes or no” answer as to what was to blame for the catastrophe.


Waving pictures of oiled birds, congressmen did not hide their frustration or derision in a piece of political theater before a barrage of media cameras.


Hayward, who has been dubbed the most hated man in America, offered an olive branch at the start of the day-long hearing, apologizing for the catastrophe.


“I know that only actions and results, not mere words ultimately can give you the confidence you seek. I give my pledge as the leader of BP that we will not rest until we make this right,” he said.


“We and the entire industry will learn from this terrible event and emerge stronger, smarter and safer.”


But in a sign of the tensions, a protestor with a blackened face and hands briefly disrupted the hearing. “You need to be charged with a crime, Tony,” she shouted. “You need to go to jail!”


Despite a massive mobilization, millions of gallons of crude are fouling the shorelines of four US states, closing down vital fishing waters and hitting the region’s lucrative tourist industry.


US experts believe between 35,000 and 60,000 barrels is spewing into the Gulf every day.


Hayward told lawmakers BP is now siphoning up an average of 20,000 barrels a day of oil to two processing ships on the surface.


And the US disaster coordinator, Admiral Thad Allen, said that by “sometime early next week” the company hoped to be containing 28,000 gallons — some of which will be burnt off by one of the surface ships.


In some good news, Allen said drilling on a relief well, seen as the only way of permanently capping the spill, was ahead of schedule.


“Mid-August was the target date, they’re actually ahead of schedule right now, but I’m not going to guarantee it will be earlier,” Allen said, citing the meticulous work needed in carrying out the work safely.

“We should be very wary about hard deadlines,” he cautioned.

On Wednesday BP agreed to set up a 20-billion-dollar escrow fund to pay compensation claims from thousands of Gulf businesses and residents, which it will pay into over the next four years.

The deal was struck after Hayward and BP chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg were summoned to the White House for talks with President Barack Obama.

News of the escrow fund deal with the US administration sent BP’s share price soaring almost 10 percent on Thursday, after days of falls sparked by uncertainty over its future.

The fund will be run by prominent lawyer Kenneth Feinberg, who managed compensation claims by victims of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, and will be overseen by a panel of three judges who can hear appeals.

BP will fund the account in four annual payments of five billion dollars, the White House said in a statement, adding it was “neither a floor nor a ceiling” on BP’s total liability for the disaster.

Source: SGGP

Developing the labour force to meet ASEAN’s demand

In Uncategorized on May 27, 2010 at 5:10 am