Crude oil imports increase
Beijing increased crude imports last month to a record high as refineries raised processing rates and oil prices declined. The country bought a net 25.3 million tonnes, or 5.98 million barrels a day more than it exported last month, according to data published yesterday by the Beijing-based General Administration of Customs. That compares with the previous high of 5.87 million barrels a day in February. “International crude oil prices have fallen over the past two months, so more crude was probably shipped in to fill commercial and state emergency stockpiles” as prices could rise again, Gong Jinshuang (龔金雙), a Beijing-based senior engineer at China National Petroleum Corp (中國石油天然氣), the nation’s biggest oil company, said by telephone.
Vehicle sales jump 16%
The nation’s auto market revved to life last month despite the weakening economy, with vehicle sales jumping nearly 16 percent from a year earlier to 1.61 million units, industry figures showed on Saturday. Total auto sales in the first five months of the year inched up 1.7 percent to 8.02 million units, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers reported. Passenger car sales continued to outstrip sales of commercial vehicles, with 1.28 million passenger cars sold last month, up 23 percent from a year earlier, the association said. It said 6.33 million passenger cars were sold from January to last month, up 5.48 percent year-on-year.
Budget airline starts service
Budget carrier AirAsia’s Philippine unit on Saturday began its international operations with its first daily flight to Malaysia, the company said. The airline’s Airbus A320 plane departed on its inaugural foreign flight from Clark International Airport, a sprawling former US airbase almost two hours’ drive from Manila, for Kuala Lumpur’s low-cost terminal. The airline, which is 60 percent owned by Filipino investors and 40 percent by Malaysia’s AirAsia International Ltd, aims to tap the growing tourism market between the two countries, company chief executive Marianne Hontiveros said.
SESC calls for fine
The securities industry watchdog has called for the Financial Services Agency to slap a fine on US brokerage house First New York Securities for alleged insider trading. This is the first time the Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission (SESC) has recommended an overseas financial institution be fined over alleged insider trading tied to stock offerings. It is the third time since March that the SESC has called for a fine in a case of insider trading linked to stock offerings managed by the nation’s biggest brokerage Nomura Securities, whose internal controls are the focus of an ongoing investigation.
Russian firm eyes expansion
OAO Russian Railways, the country’s rail monopoly, is planning to make a bid for a US$2 billion contract to build rail projects in Abu Dhabi as it expands in Persian Gulf states, where it will also seek contracts to build light metro links, RIA Novosti reported, citing the head of Zarubezhstroytechnology, an engineering and construction unit of Russian Railways. The company is also discussing projects in Kenya valued at about US$450 million, according to the Russian news service.