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Tue, Oct 21, 2003 - Page 12 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Steel
Posco to invest in China

South Korea's steel giant Posco said its board of directors has decided to invest US$700 million to build a plant in China to meet rising demand for stainless and hot-rolled steel there. Posco said it will begin building the new steel plant at the site of its Chinese joint venture Zhangjiagang Posco Stainless Steel in Jiangsu province, China from 2005. The joint venture firm is 82.5 percent owned by Posco and 17.5 percent by Jiangsu Shangang Group Co of China. Posco said the construction of the new steel plant is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2006 to annually produce 600,000 tonnes of stainless and hot-rolled steel.

■ Petroleum

QP joins with Shell

State-run Qatar Petroleum and Royal/Dutch Shell signed yesterday a US$5 billion heads of agreement to build a huge plant in the Gulf desert emirate to convert natural gas into liquid fuels. Qatar's Energy Minister Abdullah Hamad Al-Attiya, who is also QP chairman signed with Sir Philip Watts, chairman of Royal Dutch/Shell, at a public ceremony. The accord envisages the construction of a vast gas-to-liquid plant in Qatar to produce naptha and environmentally friendly diesel fuels. According to Qatar's energy ministry the contract would be finalised in the second half of next year. A letter of intent was signed last year. The new plant would aim to produce around 137,000 barrels per day of liquefied fuel.

■ Telecoms

Iraqi mobile users growing

Iraq will have 5 million mobile subscribers in three years and 8 million in 10 years following the recent award of GSM mobile licences, an industry professional said Tuesday. "With order returning to the mobile phone market in Iraq, the stage is set for an accelerated momentum in cellular services," said Bashar Dahabra, chief executive office of Info2cell.com, one of the regions leading wireless information service providers. "Iraq will witness fast-paced mobile phone penetration in the near future, with subscribers touching 5 million in three years, and 8 million in 10 years, according to conservative estimates," Dahabra said. Iraq awarded Oct. 6 its first nationwide mobile telephone licences to three Arab operators, Orascom, Atheer Tel and Asia Cell, saying it expected the long-awaited GSM service to begin by the end of the month.

■ Unemployment

HK's jobless rate falls

Hong Kong's unemployment rate has declined further, falling to 8.3 percent as several major business sectors saw a rebound in activity, the government said yesterday. The unemployment rate for the three months to last month fell to 8.3 percent, from 8.6 percent in the three months to August after hitting a record 8.7 percent in the three months to July. Financial secretary Henry Tang said he was pleased to see the jobless rate decline further, saying "the improvement is certainly good news. "However, we are not complacent. Unemployment will continue to be a challenge," he said. According to the goverment, employment gains were seen in a number of major sectors, including notably import/export trade, the wholesale trade, real estate, and amusement and recreational services. At the same time, employment in manufacturing and site construction fell.

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