Drought brings high inflation
Inflation continues to be a cause for concern, the Press Trust of India (PTI) reported yesterday, citing Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee. High inflation has been caused by domestic drought and rising prices of commodities globally, Mukherjee said. Mukherjee also said investors shouldn’t panic at movements in the stock market. Foreign institutional investors usually withdraw money from the market at the end of the year to close accounts, he said. The central bank, which has raised interest rates six times this year, is scheduled to review its monetary policy on Thursday.
Leaders pledge cooperation
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh have pledged to increase cooperation in trade, security and in pushing to increase the number of permanent seats on the UN Security Council. The pair praised Saturday’s agreement in Cancun, Mexico, and urged the world use it as a starting point for further progress in combating climate change. Singh said the two nations are “hopeful of achieving bilateral trade worth 20 billion euros [US$26 billion] by 2012,” including in civilian nuclear technology. However, he called on Germany to relax its trade export laws, especially in technology.
Exports to Japan triple
Exports from Arab nations to Japan more than tripled last year, while Japanese investment hit US$4 billion, the head of the Arab League said at an economic forum on Saturday. Arab exports to Japan rose from US$36 billion in 2008 to US$136 billion last year, making Japan the third-largest market after the EU and the US, Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa said during the opening of an economic forum at Gammarth, near Tunis. Japanese investment increased from US$1.5 billion in 2005 to US$4 billion last year, the Eygptian said.
US$70-US$80 oil favored
Leading OPEC producer Saudi Arabia said on Saturday it still favored a US$70 to US$80 price range for oil, a restatement of a two-year-old policy that will be welcomed by consumer nations worried that rising oil prices may get out of control and hamper global economic recovery. Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi told reporters at an OPEC meeting in Quito: “US$70-$80 is a good price.” The comments came as OPEC agreed, as expected, to keep production restraints unchanged, despite a recent surge in crude prices to US$90 a barrel.
Chongqing to hike taxes
China’s Chongqing is preparing to start a property tax targeting high-end residential properties, the Chongqing Morning Post reported yesterday, citing a statement from the Chongqing municipal government. Home prices in 70 cities climbed 7.7 percent from a year earlier and increased 0.3 percent from October, China’s statistics bureau said on Friday. Sales volume increased 14.5 percent from a year earlier and transaction values surged 18.6 percent, the bureau said. Beijing’s property prices rose 0.2 percent from the previous month, Shanghai added 0.1 percent and those in Yue-yang, a medium-sized city in central China, climbed 2 percent. Only six out of the 70 major cities monitored by the government posted a drop in property prices.