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Mon, Apr 12, 2004 - Page 12 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Mobile phonesNokia's UK share drops

Nokia Oyj had its UK market share for mobile phones fall to less than 40 percent from 60 percent last year because it failed to offer new designs, the Sunday Times reported, citing market researcher Gfk. The newspaper didn't give specific times for the market shares provided by Gfk. Nokia, the world's biggest mobile-phone maker, said last Tuesday that first-quarter sales unexpectedly fell 2 percent as competitors such as Siemens AG and Samsung Electronics Co increased sales by developing more popular handsets. The stock dropped 17 percent after the announcement, the biggest decline in almost three years. Customers have been frustrated by Nokia's refusal to tailor handsets to their desires, Ben Wood, an analyst at researcher Gartner Inc said last week.

■ Singapore

Job situation still rocky

Singapore, which expects growth of as much as 5.5 percent this year, will see a pickup in employment only after the economy improves because of a lag between a recovery and job creation, Channel NewsAsia reported, citing Lim Boon Heng (林文興), a minister in Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong's (吳作棟) office. Lim, who is also head of the government-backed Nation-al Trades Union Con-gress, said public agencies will cut fewer jobs this year com-pared with last year, the report said. Government agencies such as the Inland Revenue Authority and the Sports Council may cut jobs as a higher dependence on information technology reduces the need for workers, the report said. Singapore expects unem-ployment to fall to as low as 4 percent at the end of the year after rising to a record 5.5 percent in the third quarter.

■ India

Inflation likely to rise

India's inflation rate may reach 5 percent in the next few months, the Financial Express reported, citing economists including B.B. Bhattacharya, director at the Institute of Economic Growth. Increasing money supply fueled by a buildup in the country's foreign-exchange reserves and a forecast increase in petro-leum prices after national elections this month and next will stoke inflation, the paper said. India's foreign-exchange reserves, inclu-ding foreign currency, gold, and reserves and special drawing rights in its IMF account, grew by US$1.07 billion to a record US$112.7 billion in the week ended April 2, the Reserve Bank of India said in a statement on Saturday. India's inflation rate climbed to 4.47 percent in the week ended March 27, from 4.3 percent the previous week, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry said on Friday.

■ Automobiles

Two-stage revival plan

DaimlerChrysler AG's ¥500 billion (US$4.7 billion) plan to revive Mitsubishi Motors Corp will be implemented in two stages and involve funding from Mitsubishi group companies, the Nihon Keizai newspaper reported, citing unnamed people at the company. Daimler-Chrysler, the biggest share-holder of Mitsubishi Motors, will inject as much as ¥370 billion capital into the auto-maker this year, the paper said. The German manu-facturer will provide the rest of the funds after a few years and an assessment of Mitsubishi Motors' finances, the paper said. It may raise its stake in Mitsubishi Motors to more than 51 percent, after the Japanese firm cut its ¥1.14 trillion debt, Mitsubishi officials said.

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