Beijing downplays loan risks
Beijing said yesterday that risks from its local government borrowings were “controllable,” amid fears that bad loans could derail the world’s second-largest economy. Yesterday, the finance ministry admitted there were “potential risks” in some areas of local government borrowing, but said most were under control. The National Audit Office recently put the debt held by authorities at 10.7 trillion yuan (US$1.67 trillion) as of the end of last year, or about 27 percent of GDP last year. Separately, a total of 2.8 trillion yuan in local government debt has been reclassified as loans taken by companies, the state-run China Securities Journal said yesterday, citing an unnamed source.
Retail sales accelerate
Retail sales growth accelerated in June as an expanding job market encouraged purchases of luxury goods, telephones and computers. The retail sales index rose 10.9 percent from a year earlier after climbing a revised 9.6 percent in May, the Statistics Department said in a statement yesterday. Adjusted for seasonal factors, overall retail sales rose 1.6 percent in June from May, when they fell a revised 0.8 percent, the report showed.
Leighton posts huge loss
Leighton Holdings Ltd, Australia’s biggest construction company, has posted an A$409 million (US$426.2 million) loss for fiscal year ending June 30. Leighton said in a statement yesterday the loss was largely due to an airport link that cost the company A$520 million and a desalination plant that cost A$278 million. The result was a major turnaround from the A$612 million profit in the previous year.
Reliance reports profit dive
India’s second-biggest mobile firm, Reliance Communications, has reported a worse-than-expected 37 percent dive in quarterly net profit as revenues remained under pressure in the competitive sector. The announcement on its Web site on Sunday marked the eighth straight quarterly fall in profit of the flagship Mumbai-based company led by billionaire Anil Ambani. Net profit fell to 1.57 billion rupees (US$34.7 million) for the fiscal first quarter ending June 30, from 2.5 billion rupees for the same period last year, the company said in the statement. Revenues slipped 3.3 percent to 49.4 billion rupees.
Toshiba shares rise
Toshiba Corp’s shares rose the most in seven weeks in Tokyo trading after the Nikkei Shimbun said the company plans to reduce the types of semiconductors used in autos and electronics by half to boost efficiency. The world’s second-largest maker of flash memory chips added 1.49 percent on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, while the benchmark Nikkei 225 Stock Average advanced 1.37 percent to close at 9,086.41.
Iran receives India payments
Iran has received two-thirds of the oil debts from Indian buyers that had accumulated this year because of a -sanctions-related payments problem, Iranian central bank governor Mahmoud Bahmani told the students’ news agency ISNA yesterday. “Two-thirds of India’s debt to Iran has been paid and the balance is being taken care of and there are no problems in this regard,” he said. Bahmani denied media reports of similar payment problems with China and South Korea and confirmed Iran and India have discussed India paying for some of its oil in gold.