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Wed, Nov 09, 2005 - Page 12 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Automobiles
China gets Lamborghini

Auto icon Lamborghini opened a dealership yesterday in China's commercial capital of Shanghai, looking to the country's newly affluent to weather slowdowns elsewhere. Lamborghini, owned by Germany's Volkswagen AG, says market research showed Shanghai, the country's biggest city and a virtual citadel to conspicuous consumption, to be the most promising market for its vehicles, which cost upwards of US$330,000. Luxury sports cars are still way outnumbered by standard Volkswagen and Buick sedans on China's jammed city streets, but foreign luxury car makers are still racing to boost sales. General Motors Corp makes Cadillacs in Shanghai and European brands such as BMW and Mercedes-Benz also operate assembly lines in the country.

■ Investment

Madras plans `little Japan'

A southern Indian state is looking to set up a small town for Japanese investors, designed to cater to the specific social and cultural needs of the expatriate community. The announcement was made after a meeting of Hirotaro Yamasaki, mayor of Japan's Fukuoka city, with top officials in the government of Tamil Nadu State in Madras on Monday, the Hindu Business Line reported. Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa, the state's elected head, said she told Yamasaki that her government would explore a suitable location for a township that would be a "little Japan," the report said.

■ Currencies

Euro nears two-year low

The euro fell to a nearly two-year low against the US dollar yesterday on concerns over the ongoing violence in France and as traders looked for the gap to widen between key European and US interest rates. The 12-nation currency fell to US$1.1711 in morning European trading, its lowest level since trading at US$1.1631 on Nov. 13, 2003 and down from US$1.1793 late in New York the night before. The dollar built on gains against the euro from last week, when the US Federal Reserve raised interest rates to 4 percent, the highest level in more than four years, and there were indications it would continue with its measured increases. By contrast, the European Central Bank left its rate unchanged last week at 2 percent, where it has been for almost two-and-a-half years.

■ Textiles

US corn socks go to Japan

The Chicago White Sox may have won baseball's World Series, but the corn socks are coming to Japan. Biodegradable socks, made from corn-derived fibre and manufactured by US hosiery makers, should make their worldwide debut on Japanese store shelves sometime next year, industry officials said yesterday. The officials said they developed the value-added product in an attempt to compete with low-cost textile manufacturers in China and other Asian countries. The launch is backed by the US Grains Council, which aims to bolster demand for US corn by creating new markets, they said. Participating hosiery manufacturers are Fox River Mills Inc of Iowa, W.Y. Shugart & Sons Inc of Alabama, and Harriss & Covington Hosiery Mills and Twin City Knitting, both of North Carolina. The corn-based socks will cost about 20 percent more than socks now available in Japan, he said. In Japan, a pair of socks made from cotton, wool or petroleum-based fibers such as nylon or polyester costs about ?300 (US$2.50).

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