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Vietnam’s stock markets drop most since August after Moody’s lowers rating

In Uncategorized on December 16, 2010 at 10:06 am

Vietnam’s benchmark VN-Index, which tracks 271 companies and five mutual funds listed on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange, slumped on December 16 due to bad news on financial markets.

Moody’s Investors Service downgraded Vietnam government’s bond rating to B1 from Ba3, citing the risk of a balance of payments crisis and a drop in foreign reserves as inflation accelerates and the nation’s currency weakens. Along with this decision, the credit rating agency also cut long-term foreign-currency rating of six Vietnamese banks to B2 from B1.

The gauge tumbled the most since August, slashing 2.69 percent, or 13.26 points, to close at 480.21 points.

Among the index members, 28 advanced, 208 retreated, while 40 remained unchanged.

Trading volume stayed on high level as around 80.79 million shares worth VND1.9 trillion changed hands.

Tan Tao Investment Industry Corporation (ITA) led the list of most active shares by volume with 5.54 million shares changing hands.

It was followed by Saigon Securities Inc. (SSI), the country’s largest brokerage, with 5.29 million shares traded.

Saigon Thuong Tin Commercial Bank or Sacombank (STB) ranked third with 3.24 million shares.

Tan Binh Import – Export Joint Stock Company (TIX) nosedived for five straight days, giving up 5.05 percent to VND39,500. The company will pay dividends for the second term of this year in cash at a ratio of 20 percent to its current shareholders on December 30.

Other losers on the city bourse included Binh Dinh Minerals Company (BMC), Southern Rubber Industry Joint Stock Company (CSM), and Dien Quang Joint Stock Company (DQC).

Among a few gainers, seafood producer Vinh Hoan Corporation (VHC) accelerated 4.83 percent to VND30,400.

Mirae Joint Stock Company (KMR) rebounded 4.76 percent to VND8,800.

Viet Nam Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Industry and Trade or Vietinbank (CTG) advanced the fifth day, enhancing 4.72 percent to VND22,200.

The Hanoi’s HNX-Index plummeted 4.29 percent, or 5.17 points, to close at 115.43 points. Trading volume dropped to 57.7 million shares worth VND1.1 trillion.

Meanwhile, the UPCom-Index tripped by 1.02 points to 41.14 points this morning. A total of 123,200 shares changed hands at a value of VND1.31 billion.

Source: SGGP

Tokyo shares at lowest level since November

In Uncategorized on August 17, 2010 at 11:21 am

Japanese shares fell 0.38 percent to an almost nine-month low on Tuesday on investor fears over the strong yen and amid thin trade during the summer holiday season, analysts said.

 TOKYO, Aug 17, 2010 (AFP) – Japanese shares fell 0.38 percent to an almost nine-month low on Tuesday on investor fears over the strong yen and amid thin trade during the summer holiday season, analysts said.

The benchmark Nikkei index of the Tokyo Stock Exchange dropped 34.99 points to 9,161.68, the lowest close since November 27. The Topix index of all first-section shares fell 0.22 percent, or 1.85 points, to 826.78.

“The current downward trend (in stocks) will likely be snapped only after shares go another stage lower in a high-volume market,” Hisatsune Kobayashi, senior market analyst at Nikko Cordial Securities, told Dow Jones Newswires.

He added that multiple catalysts are necessary for the Nikkei to rebound, such as monetary easing from the Bank of Japan and additional stimulus measures from both the Japanese and key trade partner China.

Japanese Minister of Economy and Fiscal Policy Satoshi Arai said Tuesday that Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s cabinet would start discussing a possible fresh stimulus package later this week.

“Our prime minister will hold hearings on August 20 from ministries and agencies concerned on the present economic situations,” Arai said.

News reports also said that Kan and Bank of Japan Governor Masaaki Shirakawa are expected to meet on Monday to discuss the recent yen rise.

A man walks in front of a share price board in Tokyo on August 17, 2010

The dollar fell to 85.29 yen in Tokyo afternoon trade, from 85.34 yen late Monday in New York. Dealers said the dollar remains under pressure, and there were rumours Japanese authorities may intervene in the currency market.

“It has become easier for the Bank of Japan to take action following weak GDP figures released yesterday,” said Yoshinori Nagano, senior strategist at Daiwa Asset Management.

Japan said Monday its economy grew at the slowest pace in three quarters during April-June, sharply missing forecasts as exports and consumption cooled off.

Technology exporters were generally lower, with digital camera maker Olympus slipping 2.03 percent and electronic parts maker TDK down 1.31 percent.

Among positive performers, electronics maker Sharp was up 0.93 percent and brewer Kirin Holdings rose 0.76 percent as hopes for higher beer demand due to a hot summer offset its poor first quarter earnings reports, dealers said.

Source: SGGP

Medvedev in first visit to Abkhazia since Georgia war

In Uncategorized on August 8, 2010 at 11:21 am

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Sunday made an unannounced visit to Abkhazia, his first trip to the breakaway Georgian region since Tbilisi’s war with the region two years ago.

Medvedev held talks with Abkhazia’s rebel leader Sergei Bagapsh and toured the sea embankment of its main city Sukhumi on the two year anniversary of the conflict with Georgia, an AFP correspondent reported.

In the wake of the August 2008 war, Moscow recognised Abkhazia and fellow rebel region South Ossetia as independent states — a move so far followed by only a handful of countries and condemned by the West.

“It was not a simple decision,” Medvedev said. “But time has shown that it was the right decision. The existence of the peoples of South Ossetia and Abkhazia was under threat.”

“If that decision had not been taken, the situation now would be completely different,” he added.

The August 2008 war saw Russian forces pour into the two breakaway regions of Georgia after Georgia attacked  South Ossetia, and later Abkhazia, prompting the worst post-Cold War crisis between Russia and the West.

Russian official news agencies confirmed that the visit was the first by a Russian president since Moscow recognised Abkhazia’s independence.

Georgia, which along with most of the international community insists the region is an integral part of its territory, reacted with exasperation to the visit.

Abkhaz separatists waged a civil war with Georgia in the 1990s after the break-up of the Soviet Union that killed several thousand people and left 250,000 people, mostly ethnic Georgians, as refugees.

Since Moscow’s declaration of its independence, Abkhazia has been boosted by significant Russian aid and visits by large numbers of Russian tourists. But its economy remains stricken by the lack of international recognition.

The two breakaway regions say that they have the right to announce their state independence because the International Justice Court has just affirmed the independence annoucement of the Serbia’s breakaway region of Kosovo is lawful. 

Source: SGGP

BP halts Gulf oil flow for first time since April

In Uncategorized on July 16, 2010 at 8:46 am

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana, July 15, 2010 (AFP) – British energy giant BP says it has temporarily stopped oil flowing into the Gulf of Mexico for the first time in three months as it began key tests hoping to stem the spill for good.

Shortly after BP engineers shut down the last of three valves on a giant new cap placed on the blown-out well at around 2:25 pm (1925 GMT) Thursday, senior vice president Kent Wells announced no oil was leaking into the sea.

AFP/BP — This still image from a live BP video feed shows apparently no oil leaking in the Gulf of Mexico.

“I’m very excited to see no oil flowing into the Gulf of Mexico,” Wells told reporters, but cautioned it was only the start of a painstaking testing process set to last 48 hours to analyze the condition of the underground wellbore.

The announcement was the first sign of real hope for desperate coastal residents who have had their livelihoods ravaged by the worst environmental disaster in US history, now in its 13th week.

Teeming fishing grounds have been closed and tourists have been scared away — two vital economic lifelines for the southern region still struggling to recover from the 2005 Hurricane Katrina.

Endangered wildlife has also been increasingly threatened by huge ribbons of oil fouling the shores of five states — Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. The costly, massive clean-up is likely to last years.

US President Barack Obama, whose administration has led pressure on BP to stop the oil flow, welcomed the news of the capped well as “a positive sign,” but cautioned: “We’re still in the testing phase.” He said he would address the issue again Friday.

BP’s chief operating officer Doug Suttles also warned it was not yet time to celebrate, saying more time was needed as the tests are completed.

“I think it’s an encouraging sign. In a couple of more days it may even be more encouraging, but no celebrations,” Suttles told reporters. “If you go talk to these people that live here, celebration is the wrong word.”

The tests are intended to determine whether the wellbore, which stretches 2.5 miles (four kilometers) below the seabed, was damaged during an April 20 explosion on the BP-leased Deepwater Horizon rig, which sank two days later.

BP is hoping to choke off the oil flow from the well, estimated at between 35,000 to 60,000 barrels a day. But doing so from the top could force oil out in new leaks if the wellbore was damaged.

During the test, engineers will take multiple readings from the 30-foot (nine-meter) capping stack placed on top of the wellhead on Monday to monitor the pressure inside.

High pressure readings would allow the three valves to remain shut and the well would effectively be sealed, but low readings could mean there is a hole somewhere in the casing of the well where oil is escaping.

After 48 hours, the engineers will open up the system again and begin capturing the oil through two surface vessels to allow a new seismic survey to be carried out, said the official in charge of the US response, Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen.

A final solution to the leak is not expected before mid-August, when crews will complete the first of two relief wells, allowing the oil reservoir to be permanently plugged in a “kill” operation.

The Gulf disaster has so far cost BP some 3.5 billion dollars (2.78 billion euros) and compensation claims from devastated residents of the region could reach 10 times that.

Local officials who have seen their coasts sullied by the oil were cautious but hopeful.

Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu described the stoppage as “the first piece of good news the Gulf Coast has received in three months.”

Still “it is too early to declare victory and there is still a lot more work that needs to be done. The next 48 hours will be critical as they test the pressure of the well and ensure the cap is working properly,” Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal cautioned.

“We have been fighting a war against this oil for months now and we know our battles don’t end even when the well is capped. Millions of gallons of oil are still in the Gulf and some estimates show that oil will continue to hit our shores for many more months or maybe even longer.”

Meanwhile the Financial Times reported Friday that BP is speeding up the sale of up to 20 billion dollars (15.5 billion euros) of assets in a bid to boost funds after the Gulf oil spill.

BP is seeking to build up a disaster fund of 20 billion dollars to cover the clean-up costs for the disastrous oil spill.

Source: SGGP

Japan’s economy posts strongest growth since 2007

In World on November 16, 2009 at 9:16 am

TOKYO, Nov 16, 2009 (AFP) – Japan’s economy grew at its strongest pace in more than two years in the latest quarter, smashing market forecasts and extending a recovery from the worst downturn in decades, data showed Monday.

Shoppers cross road at Tokyo’s Ginza district on November 16, 2009 (AFP photo)

The world’s second largest economy posted a second straight quarter of positive growth as it emerges from a severe year-long recession on the back of rebounding exports and the government’s massive stimulus spending.

The economy expanded 1.2 percent in July-September from the previous quarter — 4.8 percent on an annualised basis, the government reported. It was the best performance since January-March 2007 and about twice as fast as expected.

“Positive growth will continue in the fourth quarter,” said RBS Securities economist Junko Nishioka.

“As long as fiscal stimulus effects continue and overseas demand remains stable, we think the likelihood of a double-dip in the economy is low.”

Exports soared 6.4 percent quarter-on-quarter in July-September, while corporate capital expenditure rose 1.6 percent and household spending went up 0.7 percent.

The rebound follows a brutal contraction in Japan’s export-led economy, which suffered double-digit annualised contractions in both the last quarter of 2008 and the first quarter of 2009.

Analysts said the strong performance was also partly due to a temporary boost from corporate inventory restocking and warned the fourth quarter’s growth was unlikely to be so stellar.

“Although the GDP figure is really strong, we need to discount the positive contribution made by private inventories because it’s not sustainable,” said Kyohei Morita, chief Japan economist at Barclays Capital.

The upbeat report followed news Friday that Europe crawled out of recession in the third quarter.

Japan sank into recession in the second quarter of 2008 as the global economic downturn battered demand for its cars, electronics and other exports.

The economy returned to positive growth in April-June this year, expanding 0.7 percent quarter-on-quarter, but there are concerns the recovery could lose steam as the boost from the government’s pump-priming efforts fades.

With the ageing and shrinking population dimming the outlook for consumer spending, Japan remains as dependent as ever on foreign markets to drive growth, although the new government has pledged to stimulate domestic demand.

Renewed deflation is seen as a threat to the recovery, with the central bank predicting three straight years of falling consumer prices.

Most data, however, have painted a picture of an economy that is slowly getting back on its feet, with the unemployment rate falling to 5.3 percent in September and factory output rising for a seventh straight month.

“Global financial markets have increasingly been showing signs of improvement, and the global economy has started to pick up,” Bank of Japan governor Masaaki Shirakawa said in a speech to a financial forum Monday.

The BoJ announced last month it would wind down some of its emergency stimulus measures, but held its key lending rate at 0.1 percent and pledged to continue a highly stimulative monetary policy.

“Clearly, Japan will be the last major economy to raise interest rates,” said Societe Generale’s chief Asia economist, Glenn Maguire.

“It would be silly for the Bank to even consider raising rates over the course of 2010, unwise over the course of 2011, and most probably imprudent over the course of 2012,” he added.

Source: SGGP Bookmark & Share