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Mon, Nov 29, 2004 - Page 12 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Economics

China foresees 9% growth

China's economy will expand by 9 percent this year and maintain a high growth rate next year amid rising domestic demand, a government official said. ``China's economy will continue to growth at a

high level next year, and consumer consumption will rise,'' Zheng Jingping, a senior statistician at China's National Bureau of Statis-tics, told a coal conference in Beijing yesterday. ``Infla-tion is being held at contro-lable levels for now.'' Zheng gave no figure for growth next year. His forecast for this year is in line with previous official govern-ment predictions.

■ Energy

China passes fuel tax

China's Standing Committee of the National People's Congress has passed the automobile fuel taxation rule, the Economic Observer reported yester-day, citing Chen Qingtai, deputy director of the Development Research Center of the State Council. The new regulation will be implemented at the appro-priate time, the report said, with-out providing details. The rule is aimed at encouraging consumers

to choose vehicles that

are oil-efficient and helping reduce fuel consump-tion, the Observer said. China, the world's second-largest user of oil after the US, will accelerate its energy-conservation planning and aims to cut consumption by 2.2 percent a year until 2010, and by

3 percent a year by 2020,

the government said on

Nov.25.

■ Aviation

Judge sides with United

A US federal bankruptcy court judge in Chicago, Illinois has blocked a group of creditors from repos-sessing up to 14 airplanes from United Airlines, saving the bank-rupt carrier tens

of millions of dollars. The judge issued a temporary restraining order on Friday barring the group, repre-sented by the Chicago-based law firm Chapman and Cutler LLP, from seizing up to eight Boeing 767s and six 737s. The group of financiers, which controls about one-third of the airline's fleet, had threatened to seize the planes as early as Dec. 1 because of an impasse over their leases. United, the No. 2 airline in the US, is seeking to lower aircraft operating costs by renegotiating its leases with creditors. However, the airline argued that the Chapman group was violating antitrust laws by renegotiating as a bloc instead of as individual leaseholders, forcing United to accept higher lease

rates.

■ Retail

Wal-mart cuts sales target

Weaker-than-expected holiday shopping forced Wal-Mart Stores Inc on Saturday to cut its projected sales increase for this month by more than half,

an ominous announcement for retailers as their busiest time of year begins. The world's largest retailer estimated that the month's sales at US stores open at least a year would be 0.7 percent higher than last November, well below the

2 percent to 4 percent range that the company had said

it expected last week. The new projection was based on four weeks' worth of sales, from Oct. 30 through Friday, the company said

in a statement on its Web site. According to Wal-Mart, sales were strongest in

the categories of bedding, food, and pet supplies. ``

For the day after Thanks-giving, strength in blitz items included digital cameras, the TV-DVD combo, learning toys and video games,'' the retailing giant said.

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