Sun, Jan 04, 2009 - Page 11 News List

Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■TAIWAN

Gravel, sand demand to grow

Taiwan’s demand for gravel and sand will increase by an estimated 7.2 percent this year, as public works projects launched by the government to revive the local economy come on line. The Bureau of Mines estimated on Friday that demand for gravel and sand would reach 58 million cubic meters this year, up from 54.1 million cubic meters last year. In its plan to secure supplies to meet the forecast demand, the Ministry of Economic Affairs expects 21.7 million cubic meters of gravel and sand to come from Taiwan’s rivers, 19.8 million cubic meters to come from land sources and 16.8 million cubic meters to be imported.

■BANKING

IndyMac sale approved

The US government said on Friday it had approved the sale of bankrupt California bank IndyMac to investment group IMB Management Holdings for about US$13.9 billion. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation said it had signed a letter of intent on Wednesday to sell IndyMac Bank, which it seized in July when the bank collapsed under the weight of a bank run by depositors panicked about its viability. The consortium includes JC Flowers & Co, Paulson & Co and MSD Capital, a private investment firm created to exclusively manage the capital of Dell computer founder Michael Dell and his family.

■JAPAN

Megabanks suffer: report

Japanese megabanks Mitsubishi UFJ and Mizuho Financial appear to have experienced a group net loss in the three months to last month because of a plunging stock market, a major daily reported yesterday. It would be the first quarterly net loss for Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group since its establishment in 2005 through the merger of Mitsubishi Tokyo Financial Group and UFJ Holdings, the Mainichi Shimbun said. Mizuho Financial Group was also in the red in the previous quarter to September. But Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, the other of the country’s top three banks, appears to have remained in the black as the value of its stock holdings is low, the daily said.

■COTTON

Consumption drops further

Global cotton consumption will fall more than forecast last month as textile mills in China, the biggest consumer, buy less fiber to weave into clothing and bedding, the International Cotton Advisory Committee said. Worldwide use will drop 7.1 percent in the year ending July 31 to 24.5 million tonnes from a year earlier on lower use in China, India and Pakistan, the three largest consumers, the committee said today in a report. That was down from 24.9 million tons projected last month. Chinese consumption could fall 10 percent to 9.8 million tons this year, the group said. Exports will drop 17 percent to 6.9 million tons, the lowest in six seasons, the committee said. Last month, global exports were forecast at 7.3 million. Chinese imports will tumble 40 percent to 1.5 million tons, the group said.

■AVIATION

Lufthansa eyes SAS

Shares in SAS, the operator of the joint-carrier Scandinavian Airlines, surged on Friday on a report that Lufthansa is interested in the Scandinavian market and is in talks with SAS. A Lufthansa executive quoted by the Jyllands-Posten newspaper, however, did not say if a possible merger was being considered. “After the German and Italian markets, Scandinavia is one the most important for Lufthansa,” Lufthansa executive Karsten Bentz was quoted as telling the Danish daily. He declined to comment on a possible merger with SAS but said talks were ongoing.

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