India has tightened restrictions on the amount of money Indian companies and individuals can send out of the country, trying to curb a sharp decline in the rupee. The US dollar has risen about 15 percent against the Indian rupee this year, pushing up costs for oil and other crucial imports, amid stagnating economic growth. The central bank said the measures it announced Wednesday are aimed at “moderating” outflows. The limit for overseas investments by Indian companies has been reduced to 100 percent of a company’s net worth from 400 percent. State oil companies were exempted. The amount of money individuals can remit overseas was cut to US$75,000 each financial year from US$200,000. The Reserve Bank said it could grant exemptions to the new limits if a genuine requirement was demonstrated.
Home sales fall 73 percent
Singapore’s home sales last month slid to the lowest since December 2009 as investors balked at new curbs on property loans and developers marketed fewer projects. Home sales fell to 481 units last month, 73 percent lower from a month earlier, according to data from the Urban Redevelopment Authority released Thursday. Sales rose to a record 2,793 units in March. The island-state’s private residential property price index rose 1 percent to 215.4 points in the three months ended June 30, extending a 0.6 percent increase in the first quarter. Suburban home prices climbed 3.8 percent in the June quarter, compared with the 1.4 percent increase in the previous quarter, according to government data.
Up to 1,700 Rio staff to go
Mining giant Rio Tinto yesterday said it will lay off up to 1,700 staff at its huge Oyu Tolgoi copper mine in Mongolia after a more than US$5 billion expansion was halted. The project in the Gobi desert, at one of the richest copper deposits in the world, has been years in development, but has been hit by a series of last-minute delays due to political wrangling. Its planned expansion was put on ice last month after the Mongolian government said financing provisionally secured for the underground development needed to be approved by parliament, which is in recess.
Siemens in cartel lawsuit
The Brazilian state of Sao Paulo plans to file a lawsuit against German engineering giant Siemens AG to recover funds lost to an alleged price-fixing cartel involved in the construction and upkeep of the subway and train systems of the cities of Sao Paulo and Brasilia. The state government said in a statement posted on its Web site on Tuesday night that Siemens told Brazil’s antitrust agency, CADE, of the existence of the cartel in May. Besides Siemens, CAF of Spain, Mitsui of Japan, Bombardier of Canada and Alstom of France were allegedly involved in the cartel, the newspaper Folha de S. Paulo reported this week.
Apple’s shares surge
Apple Inc’s shares surged passed the US$500 threshold — their highest level since January. Wednesday’s gains came a day after activist investor Carl Icahn said he thinks Apple should do more to revive its stock price. Apple is committed to buying back US$60 million in stock by the end of 2015. Icahn believes that program should be immediately increased. The company’s stock peaked last year at US$705.07, but began losing ground on concerns about slowing growth and growing competition.