Group suggests exchange
China should set up an oil-futures exchange with contracts traded in yuan because local companies cannot participate fully in the global market, the Chicago Board Options Exchange said. “From a global point of view, one of the solutions to ease the excessive volatility in oil markets would be” an oil futures market established by China, Asia affairs managing director Eugene Zheng (鄭學勤) said in Shanghai yesterday. China should also develop commodity-options products, Zheng said. “With its own markets and prices, China can help correct irrational prices,” Zheng said, speaking at the Shanghai Futures Exchange’s annual conference.
Skype heads off trouble
Internet phone service Skype says a small percentage of its 170 million users have been unable to sign in to its service, a problem that it expects to fix with a software update. Skype said on its Web site the trouble stemmed from corrupted data affecting computers using Windows, Linux or Macintosh operating systems. The company, which is based in Luxembourg, said it released a new version of Skype for Windows late on Thursday to deal with the problem. On Friday, it released a version for Mac. Linux users were told to delete a file manually. Skype said individuals using its service on cellphones, televisions or other non-computer devices were unaffected.
Fiat to buy Chrysler stake
Fiat said in Milan on Friday it planned to boost its stake in Chrysler to 57 percent by the end of this year as the Italian auto giant moves to consolidate its control of the Detroit-based brand. Fiat announced in a statement its decision to exercise an option to buy an additional 6 percent stake in Chrysler from the US Treasury. It said the price of the purchase would be agreed with the Treasury shortly. Fiat currently holds a 30 percent stake in Chrysler, but the reimbursement of Chrysler loans to the US and Canadian governments on Tuesday has opened the way for the Italian company to increase its holding.
GM scraps hybrid plan
General Motors Co (GM) has canceled plans to develop a plug-in hybrid vehicle based on the current Cadillac SRX crossover platform, deciding the project was not financially viable, three people with direct knowledge of the project said. While two of the sources said the plans could still be revived on a future platform, they and two others familiar with the matter said engineers involved had been reassigned to other projects. The Cadillac plug-in shared much of the same technology that GM developed for its battery-powered Chevrolet Volt, which has been the centerpiece of the automaker’s effort to convince consumers of its turnaround after its bankruptcy and government bailout in 2009.
CRC to buy Italian chain
Thailand’s Central Retail Corp (CRC) will buy La Rinascente, an historic chain of Italian department stores, for 205 million euros (US$293 million) under the terms of a deal announced on Friday. The R/U holding that controls 97 percent of Rinascente approved the sale to CRC, the property fund Prelios, a leading shareholder, said in a statement. The heir of the chain’s founders, Maurizio Borletti, who holds a 4 percent stake in La Rinascente, had tried to oppose the sale, but a court in Milan earlier rejected his attempt to block it. La Rinascente has 11 department stores in Italy’s main cities.