Wed, Feb 07, 2018 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

STOCK MARKET

Two exchanges to connect

Malaysian and Singaporean regulators yesterday said that the two will establish a link to connect their stock markets by the end of the year to cut trading costs and woo cross-border investments. The “Malaysia-Singapore Connect” will allow investors to trade and settle shares listed on each other’s stock market in a more convenient and cost-efficient way, benefiting retail investors, the Monetary Authority of Singapore and the Securities Commission Malaysia said in a joint statement. The initiative might be expanded later to include other stock markets in the region, the statement said. It was unclear how the new system might differ from a previous attempt to link their markets. The two in 2012 launched a regional trading link that was later joined by Thailand, but the system was quietly shut down last year without any explanation.

MEDIA

Saudi inks soccer deal

State-run Saudi Telecom Co has signed a tentative deal with the Saudi government’s General Sports Authority for 6.6 billion riyals (US$1.8 billion) to broadcast Saudi professional soccer matches over 10 years, the authority said yesterday. The deal appears to take rights to broadcast Saudi soccer away from regional broadcaster MBC Group, which in July 2014 signed a 4.1 billion riyal, 10-year deal to obtain them. Saudi Arabian businessman Waleed al-Ibrahim, who has management control of MBC, was detained for nearly three months in a sweeping crackdown on corruption and released late last month. Dozens of suspects in the crackdown agreed to hand over more than US$100 billion of assets to the state in financial settlements of allegations against them, officials said.

BANKING

BNP Paribas profits up

French bank BNP Paribas yesterday said that its profits rose last year as good business performance in all divisions helped cushion it against a “lackluster interest rate and market environment.” Net profit edged up 0.7 percent to 7.8 billion euros (US$9.7 billion) last year, BNP Paribas said in a statement. Underlying or operating profit declined by 4.3 percent to 10.3 billion euros as revenues slipped by 0.6 percent to 43.2 billion euros. Nevertheless, the bank insisted that it “got off to a good start” to its 2020 business development plan. “In a lackluster interest rate and market environment, the business activity of the group developed vigorously sustained by a gradually stronger European growth,” it said.

COMMODITIES

EU steel demand to rise

European steel demand is set to rise this year with continued strength in most steel-using sectors, European steel association Eurofer said yesterday, while warning of a threat of rising imports. Apparent steel consumption, which excludes the effects of inventory changes, is set to rise by 1.9 percent in the 28 countries of the EU this year, the same rate as last year, with solid demand seen from manufacturers and in construction. Eurofer sees consumption growth dipping to 1.4 percent next year. The group said it saw a risk to exports from the rising euro, but focused more on imports. Steel imports into the EU last year dipped by about 1 percent because of trade defense measures to counter what the bloc considers to be dumping and unfair subsidies and because Chinese prices picked up, making it less lucrative to export to Europe. Over the year, Chinese steel exports to the EU declined by 41 percent, those from Russia by 32 percent and from Ukraine by 31 percent, Eurofer said.

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