Fri, May 02, 2008 - Page 11 News List

Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

??STEEL

Essar plans Esmark deal

Indian steelmaker Essar Steel said yesterday it planned to acquire US steel company Esmark, valuing the deal at US$1.1 billion, as it pushes ahead with an aggressive North American expansion drive. With the planned buy, Essar will have nearly 7 million tonnes of steelmaking capacity in the US and Canada, it said in a release. ??his is one more step in realizing our global steel vision of having world-class, low-cost assets, with a global footprint,??Essar Global chairman Shashi Ruia said in the statement. Essar said it was offering US$17 per share for West Virginia-based Esmark Inc.

??SEMICONDUCTORS

Q1 sales rise 3.8%

Global semiconductor sales rose 3.8 percent in the first quarter to US$63.4 billion from a year earlier as consumers bought more electronic devices, the Semiconductor Industry Association said in a statement yesterday. Sales dropped 5.1 percent in the first quarter from US$66.8 billion in the fourth, ??eflecting a normal seasonal decline,??the San Jose, California-based industry group said. ??ales were buoyed by growing consumer purchases of electronic products in world markets, more than offsetting the effects of a slowing US economy,??George Scalise, president of the group, said in the statement.

??TAIWAN

Production value doubles

The total production value of companies rose by 47.8 percent to NT$24.19 trillion (US$794.6 billion) in 2006 compared with 2001, but the growth of the average annual wage slowed to 7.1 percent over the same period, the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said on Wednesday. The official assessment of the manufacturing and service sectors, held once every five years, compared the statistics for 2006 with the figures for 2001. ??espite the exodus of local manufacturers in the past decade, data shows a revival of Taiwan?? industry productivity, especially in manufacturing where production value increased from 2001 by 60 percent to NT$15.55 trillion in 2007,??said Huang Jiann-jong (暺?遣銝?, deputy director of the Bureau of Census.

??BANKING

Economic fallout limited

The scale of losses and the economic fallout from the global credit crunch may not be as bad as feared and subprime losses could end up costing less than half market forecasts, the Bank of England said yesterday. The bank is still concerned about the consequences of the credit crisis but Deputy Governor John Gieve said conditions could stabilize soon. Current market estimates of subprime mortgage losses amount to nearly US$400 billion and the IMF has said the wider cost to the financial sector could rise to US$1 trillion. ??ll of them are potentially significant overestimates of the losses within the wider economy associated with the financial market crisis,??the BoE said in its twice-yearly Financial Stability Report, estimating actual losses could be closer to US$170 billion.

??UNITED STATES

Rate cut forecast

The Federal Reserve may cut interest rates to 1 percent as US housing foreclosures worsen, said Mark Mobius, who oversees US$47 billion in emerging-market equities at Templeton Asset Management Ltd. Mobius told Bloomberg Television yesterday that the dollar?? slide, down more than 7 percent against the euro and the yen this year, is likely to slow because its ??ompletely bombed out ??I was looking at 1 percent a few months back. I still adhere to that.??Agencies

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