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Sat, Aug 02, 2003 - Page 12 News List

World business quick take

Tourism

Slump cripples Indonesia

Indonesia's tourist arrivals fell 20 percent in June from a year earlier because tourists visiting Bali shrank by more than a third, the Central Bureau of Statistics in Jakarta said. Indonesia received 299,856 overseas tourists in June, of which 85,675 headed for Bali. Arrivals have been dropping since the Oct. 12 terror attack on the resort island that killed at least 202 people. It fell further in April on the SARS outbreak in Asia. Last year, Indonesia's tourism industry earned US$4.3 billion in foreign exchange from 5.03 million tourists, 20 percent less revenue than in 2001.

Airlines

JAL won't change forecast

Japan Airlines System Corp, Asia's largest carrier, reported a fiscal first-quarter loss, the second Japanese airline to do so in as many days after the SARS virus caused a slump in air travel demand. The airline left its full- year forecast unchanged.Japan Airlines had a group net loss of Japanese Yen 77.3 billion (US$642 million), or Japanese Yen 39.4 a share, for the three months ended June 30, the company said in a statement distributed through the Tokyo Stock Exchange. First-quarter sales totaled Japanese Yen 398.8 billion. This is the first time the airline has reported quarterly results and it didn't provide year-earlier comparisons. Japan Airlines' first-quarter operating loss, or sales minus the cost of goods sold and administrative expenses, was Japanese Yen 77 billion, while the current loss, or pretax loss from operations, came to Japanese Yen 76.8 billion.

Electronics

Delta gains from forex

Delta Electronics (Thailand) Pcl, a unit of the world's biggest maker of computer power systems and chargers, said second-quarter profit rose 35 percent because foreign-exchange gains made up for slumping sales. Net income rose to 667.7 million baht (US$15.9 million) from 495.3 million baht in the second quarter of last year. Bangkok-based Delta Thailand protected itself against currency swings even as demand waned for flat-panel displays, its other product, and customers demanded lower prices for its power systems. Computer monitors account for a third of sales.

Banking

Defaults rise in Singapore

Bad debt written off by banks on credit and charge cards hit a 12-year high in June as prolonged joblessness and dwindling savings caused more people in Singapore to go into default, official figures showed on Friday. The Monetary Authority of Singapore reported banks here wrote off S$17.5 million (US$10 million). Banks typically write off debt as uncollectable when they have not received any payment for six months. Bankers said many white-collar workers, particularly those in their 40s and 50s, have lost their jobs and are unable to pay their bills. "It didn't happen overnight," Francis Hsu, senior vice president at United Overseas Bank (UOB), told The Straits Times. Bankers are hoping the economy will improve in the second half of the year, helping defaulters improve their ability to service their loans, Hsu said. Singapore's economy contracted by 11.8 percent in the second quarter from the preceding three months as a result of the SARS outbreak. The government expects a recovery in the second half to help the economy post full-year growth of 0.5 percent to 2.5 percent.

Agencies

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