China-Malaysia trade to triple
China and Malaysia agreed yesterday to elevate bilateral ties to a “comprehensive strategic partnership,” aiming to boost military cooperation and nearly triple two-way trade to US$160 billion by 2017. Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak spoke soon after US President Barack Obama cancelled a week-long tour of four Asian nations, including Malaysia, due to the US government shutdown. Najib said he agreed with Xi, who is visiting Malaysia ahead the APEC summit in Indonesia that Obama was to have attended, to encourage more joint military exercises and visits between the nations. China is already Malaysia’s largest trading partner, with two-way trade last year totalling 181 billion ringgit (US$57 billion). Trade between the two countries is expected to hit US$70 billion by the end of this year.
US Treasury talks recession
The US Department of the Treasury has warned that the economy could plunge into a downturn worse than the Great Recession if Congress fails to raise the federal borrowing limit and the country defaults on its debt obligations. A default could cause the nation’s credit markets to freeze, the value of the US dollar to plummet and US interest rates to skyrocket, according to the Treasury report released on Thursday. Treasury officials hope by laying out potential consequences they will be able to bring pressure on Congress to act. US Secretary of the Treasury Jacob Lew has said he will have used up the extraordinary measures at his disposal for avoiding a breach of the debt ceiling by Oct. 17. After that, the government will have about US$30 billion of cash on hand. Private economists said that the Treasury’s report did not overstate the potential fallout if Congress does not raise the current US$16.7 trillion borrowing limit and the government defaults on its debt payments.
JPMorgan boss gives up title
JPMorgan Chase & Co chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon has given up the title of chairman of the company’s main bank subsidiary to conform with a new internal policy on multiple roles. Dimon has been under regulator scrutiny since the company last year disclosed it was losing billions of US dollars on derivatives in what has become known as the “London Whale” trades. At this year’s annual meeting, he won a vote of confidence called, in part, because of a breakdown in risk controls. Dimon turned over the title of chairman of the deposit-taking unit, JPMorgan Chase Bank, NA, to a fellow director, William Weldon, on July 1, a JPMorgan Chase & Co spokesman said.
Lottery sells for half a billion
Ireland has agreed to sell a 20-year national lottery operating licence for 405 million euros (US$552 million) to a joint venture that includes the owner of British operator Camelot, Ireland’s spending minister said yesterday. The deal is the first step in a privatization drive agreed under Ireland’s EU-IMF bailout that aims to bring in 3 billion euros, which will be used to pay down debt and to fund a jobs stimulus program. A joint venture between Ireland’s state-owned postal service, An Post, and Camelot’s owner, the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan, has been selected as the preferred bidder with a deal due to be finalized by the end of the year, a government statement said.