Tajikistan pipeline planned
Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) signed a deal at a regional summit to build a gas pipeline through the impoverished ex-Soviet country of Tajikistan, Tajik television reported on Saturday. The pipeline will transport gas from energy-rich Turkmenistan to China in as part of a huge supply deal. “Carrying out this project will allow us to attract more than US$3 billion of direct investments from China into the economy of Tajikistan,” the press service of Tajik President Emomali Rakhmonv said. It will supply China with between 25 billion and 30 billion cubic meters of oil per year, the press service said. China is eyeing the vast oil and gas resources of ex-Soviet Central Asia for its fast-growing domestic economy and is also keen to assert political influence in a region that was dominated by Moscow for decades. The new pipeline is due for completion in 2016 and will run for more than 400km within Tajikistan.
Finance tax work goes on
The European Commission rebuffed on Saturday an EU legal opinion that questioned the legality of a planned financial transaction tax and said work on the levy in 11 countries would go on. The legal services of the European Council, the institution which represents governments of the 28-nation union, said in their 14-page legal opinion dated Sept. 6 that the commission’s transaction tax plan “exceeded member states’ jurisdiction for taxation under the norms of international customary law.” Finance ministers discussed the financial transaction tax briefly on Saturday, with the commission saying there was a misunderstanding on the opinion. Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Austria, Portugal, Belgium, Estonia, Greece, Slovakia and Slovenia were planning to adopt the tax on stocks, bonds, derivatives, repurchase agreements and securities lending. European Commissioner Algirdas Semeta, who is responsible for taxation, said first reading of the proposal by the member states was already concluded.
Goods from Kosovo and Macedonia crossed their border yesterday, ending a trade dispute that closed the frontier between the neighbors to goods and vehicles for six days. The dispute started in July, when Macedonia limited the import of wheat and flour from all members of the Central European Free-Trade Agreement, including Kosovo, in an effort to protect domestic production. Kosovo first responded by banning imports of Macedonian food, beverages and cigarette products, and then introduced a blanket ban on Macedonian goods from midnight on Sunday last week, after Skopje introduced a levy on Kosovars entering Macedonia. After days of talks between the two countries failed to break the deadlock, the ban ended only after the Macedonian limit on flour expired yesterday and Kosovo lifted its restrictions.
Home purchases likely fell
Purchases of previously owned homes probably fell last month as mortgage rates at a two-year high began to slow the progress in residential real estate, economists said before a report this week. Contract closings fell 2.6 percent to a 5.25 million annualized rate from the highest level since November 2009, according to the median forecast of 62 economists in a Bloomberg survey ahead of National Association of Realtors data due on Thursday. Another report is projected to show home construction starts rose last month.