Portugal set to unveil budget
Portugal’s government is putting the finishing touches to a draft budget for next year which is expected to be one of the toughest in the country’s recent history. The finance minister has said the spending plan will include an “enormous” increase in taxes as well as further cuts in public services and civil service layoffs. Portugal needed a 78 billion euros (US$101 billion) bailout last year to avoid bankruptcy when it was engulfed by the eurozone’s debt crisis. However, it has struggled to reduce its deficit because the cuts have deepened a recession, sending unemployment to a record 15.9 percent. The government was due to publish the budget draft yesterday.
ANA restarts Myanmar flights
Japan’s All Nippon Airways (ANA) yesterday restarted direct flights to Myanmar’s commercial capital Yangon after a 12-year hiatus, underscoring renewed interest in the fast-reforming nation. The carrier pointed to the rising number of business travelers and tourists headed to Myanmar, a one-time international pariah state that has recently introduced a raft of democratic reforms as it opens up to the world. ANA, which suspended flights in 2000 due to political instability in the country, said it would have fly three flights a week between Tokyo’s Narita aiport and Yangon.
Renesas stocks jump
Renesas Electronics’ shares soared yesterday after a report that Japan’s state-backed turnaround fund and leading domestic firms will invest about US$2.55 billion in the troubled chipmaker. The stock closed 14.39 percent higher at ￥302 in Tokyo after a weekend report in Japan’s leading Nikkei Shimbun. The Nikkei said the government-backed Innovation Network Corp of Japan would buy about two-thirds of Renesas for ￥150 billion (US$1.9 billion) in a deal likely to be agreed next month. About 10 leading Japanese companies — including Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Panasonic, Canon and Nikon — are expected to pitch in another ￥50 billion combined, the report said, without naming its sources.
Japan’s output declines
Japan’s factory output in August fell by a revised 1.6 percent from the previous month, the industry ministry said yesterday. The decline, mainly due to slowdowns in output of electric devices as well as chemical and telecommunications goods, was much sharper than a 1.3 percent fall unveiled in preliminary data, the ministry said. It also said the nation’s shipments in August rose by a revised 0.2 percent, compared with a 0.4 percent gain announced earlier, while inventories fell 1.6 percent, unchanged from earlier estimates.
>Gazprom mulls Eni remarks
OAO Gazprom expects to find a solution should Eni SpA demand revision of the take-or-pay rule in its gas supply contracts, Vedomosti reported yesterday, citing an unidentified official at the Russian gas exporter. Eni has not formally requested the change, the daily said after Eni chief executive officer Paolo Scaroni questioned the rule that forces gas buyers to take volumes set by the contract or pay for them. Scaroni said Eni could “not renew take or pay contracts and try to rework the ones that are still in force,” La Repubblica reported. Gazprom Export, a unit of Moscow-based Gazprom, declined to comment on Scaroni’s remarks yesterday.