Wed, Nov 07, 2007 - Page 11 News List

Business Briefs

Staff writer , with Agencies

PetroChina shares fall

Chinese oil and gas giant PetroChina Co's (中石油) status as the first US$1 trillion company was short-lived.

A day after its debut in Shanghai, PetroChina Co shares fell 7.7 percent in early trading to 40.58 yuan (US$5.53) apiece.

PetroChina became the first company with a US$1 trillion market capitalization when its 4 billion shares nearly tripled in value on Monday over their initial public offering price. The IPO raised 66.8 billion yuan (US$8.94 billion) -- a record for a Chinese exchange.

The buying frenzy was brief, though, and limited to Shanghai.

Overnight on Wall Street, PetroChina's New York-listed shares fell US$32.96, or 13 percent, to close at US$222.10. In Hong Kong, where the company is also traded, share values at HK$17.54 were down 11 percent from Friday's close.

UMC Jiangsu plant approved

Taiwan's Investment Commission on Monday approved United Microelectronics Corp's (UMC,聯電) application to invest US$20 million in a Chinese printed circuit board (PCB) maker in Jiangsu Province.

The Chinese PCB manufacturer is an investment of Taiwanese PCB and IC carrier fabricator Unimicron Technology Corp (欣興電子), also a unit of UMC. This is the first Chinese investment application filed by UMC.

UMC made the investment for Unimicron, as Unimicron's Chinese investment is closer to 40 percent of its net value -- a China-bound investment cap set by the government.

Japan economic indicator falls

Japan's broadest indicator of the outlook for the economy fell to the lowest level in a decade, signaling growth may stall.

The leading index was zero percent in September, the Cabinet Office said yesterday in Tokyo. A reading of below 50 indicates the economy may slow in three to six months.

The world's second-largest economy may stall after industrial production slid in September from a record and summer bonuses dropped for the first time in three years.

The Bank of Japan cut its forecast for economic growth in its semiannual outlook last week, in part because of a decline in housing starts caused by a change in building regulations.

"This is attributable to weakness in consumption-related indicators and in the production cycle," Tetsufumi Yamakawa, chief economist at Goldman Sachs Japan Co, said before the report was published.

Money laundering cases jump

China's central bank said that suspected cases of money laundering jumped 12-fold to 387 billion yuan (US$52 billion) last year as measures to monitor currency flows in the booming economy were tightened.

Police resolved more than 100 of 1,239 cases referred to them, involving 40 billion yuan, the People's Bank of China said in a report posted on its Web site yesterday.

In 2005, the central bank reported 32.8 billion yuan of suspect transactions to police.

The jump in suspicious movements reflects China's efforts to prevent money laundering from undermining an economy that grew 11.5 percent in the first nine months of this year. The government is cleaning up the banking industry after spending almost US$500 billion bailing out China's four biggest state-owned lenders hurt by bad loans, according to an estimate by Moody's Investors Service.

NT dollar gains slightly

The New Taiwan dollar yesterday gained a slight NT$0.005 to close at NT$32.4 against the US greenback. Turnover was US$1.04 billion.

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