Nigeria, Brazil sign deal
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff signed an agreement to boost cooperation on energy, aviation, agriculture, electricity, infrastructure development and defense. The two leaders “pledged to work together toward attaining a more balanced, diverse and mutually beneficial trade relationship,” according to a joint statement issued after they held talks on Saturday in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital. The two countries also set up a commission to “promote trade and investment.” Trade between Brazil, South America’s biggest economy, and Nigeria, Africa’s top oil producer and most populous country, is US$9 billion a year, Rousseff told reporters. Brazilian interests in Nigeria include assets of Petroleo Brasileiro SA, the state-controlled oil producer, which has operated in the West African country for 14 years and plans to expand its operations there, Rousseff said.
Tycoon donates US$2.3bn
Indian software tycoon Azim Premji on Saturday said he has given US$2.3 billion to an education charity that he controls, reportedly the biggest charitable donation in the country’s recent history. It is his second recent big donation after giving almost US$2 billion to the charity in 2010, and came shortly after he joined the Giving Pledge club set up by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and billionaire investor Warren Buffett. In Saturday’s donation, the chairman of software firm Wipro transferred shares worth US$2.3 billion from the company to a trust which controls the education charity Azim Premji Foundation, a company statement said. The charity seeks to boost the quality of India’s overstretched education system by improving teacher quality and setting up model schools.
Shares program expanded
Authorities will expand the nation’s short-selling program on Thursday by allowing selected brokerages to borrow shares from institutional investors, the Shanghai Securities News reported. Eleven brokerages will be able to borrow shares in a pre-approved pool of 90 publicly traded companies, according to the report, which cited China Securities Finance Corp (中國證券金融公司, CSFC). The state-owned agency was set up to provide securities firms with funds and stock for short-selling and margin trading. These brokerages will be allowed to borrow shares from CSFC and re-lend to customers. The preapproved pool of securities comprises 50 companies listed in Shanghai and 40 in Shenzhen, with a total market capitalization of 9.3 trillion yuan (US$1.49 trillion), according to the report.
French deficit OK: report
Germany will accept a higher-than-permitted public deficit in France for this year if Paris can credibly show it will stick to EU rules next year, Der Spiegel newsweekly reported yesterday. On Friday, the European Commission slashed its growth forecast for France to 0.1 percent for this year and said the deficit would come in at 3.7 percent, higher than the 3 percent ceiling allowed under EU rules. French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici has said the “conditions were right” for seeking more time from Brussels to get its deficit below the 3 percent limit. However, Germany, Europe’s top economy and political powerhouse, believes that Paris should be let off the hook “if France can credibly prove they will stick to the limit next year,” Der Spiegel said, citing a top official.