Poverty to drop: US agency
Poverty across the planet will drop sharply by 2030, with a rising middle class of about 2 billion people pushing for more rights and resources. Christopher Kojm, head of the National Intelligence Council, the US government’s top intelligence analysis agency, says if current economic and demographic trends continue, the 1 billion people who live on less than US$1 a day now will drop by half in roughly two decades. Kojm gave the report at the Aspen Security Forum on Saturday, adding that economic powerhouses such as India, Indonesia and Vietnam are driving the trend, which will continue even if the economy goes through upheaval. He said several hundred million people, armed with the resources and education will produce new technology to meet demands for food, water and energy.
Rates likely to stay static
National interest rates will likely be kept on hold this week as worries mount that a truant monsoon could drive up food costs and stoke still-high inflation, analysts forecast. Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the central bank, made a half-percentage-point cut in April to jump-start the economy. However, since then, the bank has been holding back on easing monetary policy. HSBC’s chief India economist Leif Eskesen said the central bank is likely to keep rates unchanged at its meeting tomorrow, because of below-normal monsoons and little reform policy action from the government. Deepak Parekh, chairman of leading bank HDFC, told shareholders that unless the bank sees a trend that inflation is actually coming down, “I don’t see the RBI reducing interest rates.”
Foreign investors permitted
The government has eased restrictions on foreign investors seeking to put their money into the country’s markets in what is its latest financial sector reform as it seeks to boost a slowing economy. The securities regulator late on Friday published new rules allowing qualified institutional investors to hold up to 30 percent of shares in any domestically listed company, up from 20 percent. The new rules will make it easier for foreign groups to obtain the status of qualified institutional investor and thus enter the Chinese market, the China Securities Regulatory Commission said.
Reliance to make big boost
India’s Reliance Industries, led by tycoon Mukesh Ambani, could spend US$2 billion to boost its aerospace and telecoms businesses, reports said on Saturday. Quoting unnamed executives, the Economic Times said Reliance had lined up close to US$1 billion to spend on its new aerospace operations over the next few years and would likely hire around 1,500 people for the division. The Mumbai-based company aims to collaborate with global players to bring sophisticated aerospace technologies to make India a global hub in aerospace manufacturing, the newspaper said.
US hits China with duties
The US on Friday slapped a second round of duties on wind turbine towers from China, ratcheting up tensions between the two countries in the renewable energy sector. The US Department of Commerce said it was imposing preliminary anti-dumping duties of about 20 percent to 73 percent on Chinese-made steel towers. It also set duties of about 53 percent to 60 percent on steel towers from Vietnam to offset what the department said was below-market pricing.