Mon, Sep 07, 2015 - Page 15 News List

World Business Quick Take



Bolivia to tighten spending

Bolivian President Evo Morales warned Bolivians to start tightening their belts on Saturday because plunging oil prices are likely to lead to hard times over the next year. Bolivia’s economy has been growing at a rapid pace over the past two years, thanks in part to natural gas exports to Argentina and Brazil. “Unfortunately, due to the drop in oil prices, I am sure this year or the next we will have economic problems,” he said in a speech at a university in northern Bolivia. Morales, a leftist who nationalized the oil industry in 2006, said he had asked his Cabinet to come up with an austerity plan. At the same time, he said the Andean country was still positioned well to handle a downturn, cushioned by US$15 billion in reserves, the greatest in Latin America as a percentage of GDP.


Etisalat opens to investors

Foreign individuals and institutional investors are to be allowed for the first time to buy shares of United Arab Emirates (UAE) telecoms giant Etisalat from Tuesday next week, the company said in a statement yesterday. Etisalat, the second-largest Arab telecoms firm after Saudi Telecom, serves 145 million customers in 15 countries. Previously only Emirati individuals were allowed to own shares in the firm, which is 60 percent owned by the UAE government. It decided in June to open up ownership to foreign individuals and investors of the 40 percent of the firm in private hands. “Trading in Etisalat Group’s shares on the Abu Dhabi Stock Exchange by non-UAE individuals will start on Tuesday, 15 September 2015,” said a statement from the firm’s board posted on the exchange’s Web site. It specified that under the new rules shares would be open to “foreign individuals, foreign corporate entities, UAE free zone entities and UAE incorporated entities.” Total foreign ownership in Etisalat will not be allowed to exceed 20 percent.


Fiat orders second recall

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV has issued its second recall in six weeks over flaws that left vehicles vulnerable to hacking, spotlighting concerns that increasingly sophisticated electronics in cars might allow criminals to interfere with their operation. The flaw, affecting 7,810 2015 Jeep Renegade SUVs, relates to 6.5-inch touchscreens. The recall is to “protect connected vehicles from remote manipulation,” Fiat Chrysler said. The vehicles are to get a software update to make them more secure. “The software manipulation addressed by this recall required unique and extensive technical knowledge, prolonged physical access to a subject vehicle and extended periods of time to write code,” the company said. The company’s first recall, announced in July, followed a report in Wired magazine showing hackers could manipulate a Jeep Cherokee using a laptop in a remote location. The hackers were able to control the SUV’s electronic control units, cutting power as it drove on a Missouri freeway.


Japan-Iran trade talks begin

Japan and Iran are to start talks today to negotiate a bilateral investment treaty, as Washington moves to ease sanctions against Tehran, and Tokyo looks to step up its interests in the resource-rich nation. Japanese and Iranian officials are to meet in Tehran from today through to Wednesday to secure a deal, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said on Friday, as other energy consumers also rush to explore Tehran’s commercial potential.

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