World Business Quick Take


Wed, Mar 01, 2017 - Page 10


Saudi firms sign agreements

Local firms and their Saudi Arabian counterparts yesterday signed preliminary agreements for seven deals worth more than US$2 billion. The deals, valued at 9.74 billion ringgit (US$2.19 billion), are to cover joint ventures and cooperation in several sectors, including oil and gas, Muslim finance, Shariah-compliant products, the halal industry and manufacturing, Minister of International Trade and Industry Mustapa Mohamed said at a news conference. State oil company Saudi Arabian Oil Co was yesterday also expected to sign a deal with Petroliam Nasional Bhd to invest US$7 billion in an oil refinery and petrochemical project in southern Johor.


US$26 trillion needed: ADB

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) said developing countries in Asia and the Pacific will need to invest up to US$1.7 trillion per year, or US$26 trillion through 2030, to meet their infrastructure needs and maintain the region’s growth momentum — more than double the previous estimate in 2009. A substantial infrastructure gap remains, as more than 400 million people still lack electricity, 300 million have no access to safe drinking water and about 1.5 billion lack basic sanitation, the ADB said in a report released yesterday.


Pemex halves annual losses

Mexico’s state-run energy giant Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) on Monday reported losses of US$14.3 billion for last year, halving its losses in 2015, and said austerity measures were starting to pay off. Pemex, which has not posted a profit since 2012, has struggled through a period of low oil prices and sweeping energy reforms launched by Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto. Pemex said it last year slashed operation costs by 26 percent and maintained production at 2.15 million barrels per day. Seeking to stave off a financial catastrophe, Pemex shelved US$3.6 billion in investments early last year and implemented US$5.5 billion in budget cuts.


Illicit forex operation busted

The government said it has broken up an underground banking operation that conducted US$7.3 billion in illegal foreign currency transfers, trumpeting the bust as a sign of its resolve to stem massive capital flight. The State Administration of Foreign Exchange late on Monday said in a statement that it had investigated six companies suspected of illegal forex transfers in Shenzhen. An unspecified number of other firms were found to have used false documentation, fabricated trades and other methods to funnel money out of the country, the regulator said. The country’s vast foreign exchange reserves last year fell to less than US$3 trillion for the first time in six years, as authorities spent heavily to prop up the yuan and reduce on outflows.


Unlimited data on horizon

Netflix Inc chairman and CEO Reed Hastings on Monday said that telecoms would offer data plans that give users unlimited video streaming to meet the rising popularity of watching TV and movies on mobile devices. The trend would take place in the next 10 to 20 years, Hastings said at the GSMA Mobile World Congress, the industry’s largest annual trade fair. He said he believed telecoms would eventually create a two-tier system, where video data is unlimited to meet the growing demand for watching TV series and movies on mobile devices.