PM rejects aid suggestions
Prime Minister Mario Monti rejected suggestions on Saturday that Rome should seek aid from its eurozone partners to bind a new government to strict reform conditions after elections likely to be held in March. Monti’s comments, in a panel discussion at Milan’s Bocconi University, follow growing speculation that he might try to use an aid program to guarantee that his broad economic agenda is continued once his term in office ends. He said he had nothing against mechanisms including the special eurozone bailout fund and the European Central Bank’s bond-buying program to help governments that have undertaken budget and economic reforms, but he said he would like to see other countries resort to such assistance.
SE Asian growth to remain
Southeast Asia’s growth will remain resilient over the next five years as stronger investment and private consumption reduce dependence on exports for expansion, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) said. Indonesia’s growth is likely to outperform its neighbors, with a 6.4 percent annual rate of expansion from next year to 2017, equal to that recorded in the two decades before the Asian financial crisis in 1997, the OECD said. Europe’s sovereign debt crisis and a slowdown in advanced economies have had a “limited” impact on Southeast Asian nations with most of the effect experienced through trade, the Paris-based OECD said in a report released in Phnom Penh yesterday. The region, along with China, may face risks stemming from volatility of capital inflows in the medium term, it said.
Trim project costs: minister
The nation needs to reduce project development costs in the resources industry to keep attracting investment as the cushion provided by high commodity prices diminishes, Resources and Energy Minister Martin Ferguson said. “When you’ve got very high iron ore or coal prices, you can afford to have a bit of fat in the system, have a few overruns, but the world’s completely changed,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corp’s Inside Business program yesterday. “All of us have to be conscious about better managing these projects so as to continue the pipeline of investment.” The nation’s economy in the first half grew about 4 percent from the previous year on the strength of resource industry investment and consumer spending.
Treasury bills to be sold
The government will seek to raise 4.5 billion Egyptian pounds (US$738 million) at an auction of Treasury bills today after extending loan negotiations with the IMF. The country will invite bids for 1 billion Egyptian pounds of three-month notes and 3.5 billion Egyptian pounds of nine-month securities, according to central bank data. The yield on nine-month bills declined last week 17 basis points, or 0.17 of a percentage point, to 12.95 percent from a week earlier, the lowest level in almost 15 months. The three-month yield retreated 11 basis points to 12.33 percent. An IMF team that was due to complete talks with Egyptian authorities on Thursday for a US$4.8 billion loan will remain in Cairo for a “few more days,” the central bank said on Wednesday. Cairo is looking to secure an agreement to reduce borrowing costs and attract foreign investment. The government is seeking to raise economic growth to 3.8 percent in the fiscal year that ends in June from 2.2 percent last year.