Sompo, BOS form alliance
Japan’s major non-life insurer Sompo Japan Insurance Inc is set to form a sales partnership with China’s Bank of Shanghai (BOS, 上海銀行), a newspaper said yesterday. Sompo Japan, a unit of NKSJ Holdings Inc and the major Chinese commercial bank could announce the deal as early as today, the Nikkei business daily reported. As a first step, the Chinese arm of Sompo Japan will sell insurance products through BOS to corporate clients next month, the newspaper said. Sompo Japan aims to shore up its earnings base by tapping demand in the fast-growing Chinese market, while BOS will earn sales commissions and acquire insurance know-how, it said. The partners will also jointly develop medical insurance for the wealthy in China, it added.
Confidence up in Japan
Fewer executives of major Japanese firms are concerned about a “double-dip recession,” while a majority of forecast a full recovery late next year, according to a survey released on yesterday. The Nikkei business daily of presidents and other top managers at 143 companies, including Panasonic, Sony, Toyota, Mizuho Financial Group. The poll showed that 32 percent of respondents said they were concerned about a “double-dip recession,” down from 50 percent in October’s survey. Nearly 70 percent said the brighter outlook was mainly as result of strong growth in emerging economies, while 40 percent noted the recent depreciation of the yen.
S Korea to secure supplies
South Korea will cooperate with Myanmar to develop mineral resources including rare-earth minerals as it seeks to secure supplies amid rising raw material prices. The two countries agreed to conduct a geological study and develop projects, South Korea’s Ministry of Knowledge Economy said in a statement yesterday. Seoul, which imports almost all its energy and minerals, is increasing spending on resources projects to line up supplies. During his Dec. 23 visit, Korean Vice Minister Park Young-june asked the government of Myanmar, to allow South Korean companies explore for oil and gas onshore, which foreign firms are currently prohibited from doing, the ministry said. A group of companies led by South Korean trading house Daewoo International Corp, is developing gas resources in Myanmar’s A1 and A3 offshore blocks.
Kuwait likes US$100 oil
The global economy can withstand an oil price of US$100 a barrel, Kuwait’s oil minister said on Saturday, as other exporters indicated OPEC could decide against increasing output through next year in the belief that the market is already well supplied. European benchmark ICE Brent crude for February closed at US$93.46 on Friday after hitting US$94.74 a barrel, its highest level since October 2008. Arab oil exporters meeting in Cairo this weekend said they saw no need to increase supply of crude as stocks were high and prices inflated temporarily by cold weather in Europe.
Revenue up at Air India
Air India, the national carrier, said its passenger numbers increased 13 percent from a year earlier between April and last month and revenue increased 23 percent to 72.5 billion rupees (US$1.6 billion). The carrier flew 9.05 million people in the eight months that ended on Nov. 30, according to an e-mailed statement from the Mumbai-based airline.