S Korea, Malaysia sign deal
South Korea and Malaysia yesterday signed a currency swap agreement worth US$4.7 billion, Seoul’s central bank said, in a move to encourage bilateral trade and help curb currency swings. The agreement allows the two nations to purchase and repurchase each other’s currency of up to 5 trillion won (US$4.7 billion), or 15 billion ringgit, the Bank of Korea said in a statement. The deal — valid for three years and renewable upon agreement — will allow greater flexibility for businesses to use local currencies for trades that have been commonly settled in US dollars, the two countries’ central banks said in a joint statement. South Korea earlier this month struck currency swap deals worth US$10 billion and US$5.4 billion with Indonesia and the United Arab Emirates respectively in a move to guard against financial turmoil and encourage trade with other emerging markets.
Weaker growth likely
Growth is likely to prove weaker than previously expected after an “anemic” performance this year, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Secretary-General Jose Angel Gurria said on Saturday. He said that despite progress on pushing through economic reforms in Congress, growth in Latin America’s second-biggest economy would next year prove slower than the Paris-based organization had earlier forecast. “For [this] year [Mexico] will grow between 1.5 and 2 percent. Next year they will be between 2 and 3 percent,” Gurria said in an interview in Panama City. In May, the OECD had forecast 3.4 percent growth for this year, and 3.7 percent for next year.
Firm to mine Guyana gold
A Canadian company is getting ready to launch what has been touted as the largest private mining investment for the South American country of Guyana. Toronto-based Guyana Goldfields Inc said on Saturday that the Aurora Gold Project will cost about US$205 million and is expected to produce about 3.3 million ounces (94 million grams) of gold as part of a 20-year deal. The company says it is buying heavy-duty equipment and will soon build permanent housing at the mining site in western Guyana. Actual mining is slated to begin in early 2015. Gold is Guyana’s leading export. Local miners produced more than 11.3 million grams of gold last year and are anticipating producing 13 million grams this year.
EU, Canada agree pact
The EU and Canada agreed a multibillion-dollar trade pact on Friday that will integrate two of the world’s largest economies and pave the way for Europe to clinch an even bigger deal with the US. The deal will make Canada the only G8 country to have preferential access to the world’s two largest markets, the EU and the US, home to a total of 800 million people. “This is the biggest deal our country has ever made,” Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in Brussels, adding that it outstripped the North American Free Trade Agreement between Canada, the US and Mexico. Talks between the two sides launched in May 2009, but stalled for months over quotas for Canadian beef and EU cheese. Harper and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso met in Brussels to resolve outstanding issues and seal the deal.