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Fri, Aug 11, 2006 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Economy
China's trade surplus soars

China's trade surplus soared more than 40 percent last month to hit another record, official figures showed yesterday, a day after the central bank called for a "basket of policies" to fix the problem. China's trade surplus last month stood at US$14.61 billion, the General Administration of Customs said in a statement on its Web site, up from US$14.5 billion in June and 40.3 percent higher than the same month last year. In the first seven months of the year, the trade surplus was US$75.95 billion, up nearly 52 percent from the same period last year, with the rise almost certain to restoke trade frictions with China's major trading partners.

■ Economy

Singapore's growth slows

The economy grew 8.1 percent in the second quarter, driven by manufacturing industries, according to government figures released yesterday. The figure is down from the previous quarter's 10.6 percent growth, but higher than the government's forecast of 7.5 percent. Seasonally adjusted and annualized, GDP rose 3.0 percent from the first quarter, the figures showed. The second-quarter release comes after Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Tuesday that the city-state had revised up its 2006 GDP forecast to 6.5 percent-7.5 percent from 5 percent-7 percent.

■ Economy

ASEAN ministers plan union

ASEAN economic ministers will focus on the implementation of initiatives that may help fuse the region's economies into a European-style grouping by 2015 when they meet later this month, Malaysian Trade Minister Rafidah Aziz said yesterday. Several ASEAN nations want to push forward by five years a plan to create an economic community by 2015, accelerating a plan that intends to stop the region being dwarfed economically by giants India and China. Singapore and Thailand are in favor of the creation of accelerated integration.

■ Banking

HSBC customers vulnerable

More than 3 million customers of global banking giant HSBC have been left vulnerable while banking over the Internet for more than two years because of a security flaw, the Guardian reported. Discovered by a group of researchers at Cardiff University, the security flaw is not detailed in the newspaper, but it says that online criminals using so-called "keyloggers" -- software that record every keystroke on a target computer -- can gather the required information to access an HSBC customer's bank account. Anyone who exploited the security flaw was most likely to break into any account in five attempts, and guaranteed to do so within nine attempts, the researchers said, leaving 3.1 million HSBC customers vulnerable.

■ Software

IBM to acquire FileNet

IBM Corp took another step to build out its software portfolio yesterday by announcing a US$1.6 billion acquisition of FileNet Corp, which helps companies route data through business applications. The all-cash deal values FileNet at US$35 a share. If shareholders approve the acquisition, the deal would close in the fourth quarter. This marks IBM's second sizable software acquisition in a week. On Aug. 3 IBM agreed to spend US$740 million in cash on MRO Software Inc, a niche provider of software that helps industrial firms track their physical assets.

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