Inflation to peak: minister
The nation’s inflation rate is poised to peak after rising “quite substantially” last month and this month, Finance Minister Chatib Basri said. “Inflation will peak in July,” Basri said in an interview in Moscow on Saturday, where he attended a meeting of the G20 finance ministers and central bank governors. Price gains quickened after fuel costs rose and the rate may be back to normal in a “couple of months,” he said. Basri, who last month oversaw the first price increase for subsidized fuel in five years as Southeast Asia’s largest economy grapples to cut energy spending, said fuel consumption fell last month. Government efforts to open the local market to imports will help curb price gains, the minister said. Consumer prices rose 5.9 percent last month from the year earlier, the fastest pace since May 2011, based on the latest data from the Central Bureau of Statistics. Price gains may accelerate to an annual rate of 6 percent this month, Basri said on July 1.
Japan wins cobalt rights
Japan on Saturday said it had won the rights to explore for cobalt-rich crusts in the Pacific, a move that could reduce its dependence on China for rare metals. A government press release said the International Seabed Authority (ISA) had approved Japan’s plan to probe a 3,000km2 area beneath international waters off the isolated Japanese coral atoll of Minamitorishima. The area is located 600km off the atoll that lies 1,850km south of Tokyo. The Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corp, acting on the government’s behalf, is due to sign a formal contract with the ISA covering 15 years of exploration rights, the statement said. Cobalt-rich crusts are presumed to cover the seabed between 1,000m and 2,000m down, containing such rare metals as manganese, cobalt, nickel and platinum, the statement said.
GSK sends Hussain to China
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) PLC sent its head of emerging markets to China to oversee the drugmaker’s response to a government probe of suspected economic crimes, according to person with knowledge of the matter. Abbas Hussain, the London-based company’s president of Europe, Japan, emerging markets and Asia Pacific, was dispatched by chief executive officer Andrew Witty, said the person, who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to speak about the matter. The global head of internal audit and deputy chief counsel for China are with Hussain, the person said. Sending a senior executive such as Hussain shows Glaxo wants to be seen as a company that is doing what is expected of it, Zurich-based Kepler Capital Markets healthcare analyst Fabian Wenner said. Four senior executives have been detained in the investigation involving 3 billion yuan (US$489 million) of spurious travel and meeting expenses, and trade in sexual favors, the Chinese Ministry of Public Security said on Monday last week.
Swedbank AB ‘stable’: S&P
Swedbank AB’s credit-rating outlook was raised to stable at Standard & Poor’s (S&P) Ratings Services, which said the lender is better prepared than rivals to handle increasing risks in the Swedish economy. S&P removed its negative outlook on both the “A+” long-term rating and the “A-1” short-term opinion, it said in a statement late on Friday. S&P also gave notice of possible downgrades for Svenska Handelsbanken AB and SBAB Bank because of concern about those banks’ use of short-term wholesale funding.