Thailand's exports rise
Thailand's exports rose to a monthly record last month as orders from the US, Europe and Japan for manufactured and agricultural products surged, Commerce Minister Somkid Jatusripitak said. Exports rose 17 percent from a year earlier to US$11.15 billion, Somkid told reporters yesterday. The total exceeded the previous record of US$11.09 billion set in March. Southeast Asia's second-biggest economy has depended on rising overseas sales of computer parts, automobiles and other products to spur growth after high fuel prices and a political stalemate cut consumption and investments. "Exports of most products had very strong growth in July because of rising demand from the US, Japan and Europe that the export growth this year will easily beat the commerce ministry's target of 17 percent," Somkid said. Thailand's exports in the second half will be bolstered by rising demand ahead of Christmas and the New Year, Somkid said.
HK's growth likely slowed
Hong Kong's economic growth is likely to have moderated in the second quarter, as a slowdown in the US, its biggest trading partner, hurt the territory's exports, economists said. Seven economists polled by Dow Jones Newswires expected an average of 6.1 percent growth in GDP during the second quarter of this year from a year earlier. That's lower than the 8.2 percent growth recorded in the first quarter and the 7.2 percent increase in the year-earlier period. Total exports for the April to June period rose by a modest 5.4 percent, compared with the phenomenal 12.1 percent increase in the first quarter.
Private sector dominates
Less than half of the top 500 manufacturing companies in China are actually state-owned, official media reported yesterday. Only 220 of the biggest enterprises in the manufacturing industry are directly controlled by the state, the Xinhua news agency said, citing a survey by the National Bureau of Statistics. The rest divide themselves between genuinely private companies and a less clear-cut category of collective enterprises, which may involve some measure of government control. Xinhua did not specify how many of the 500 enterprises belonged to each of the two groups. China's style of communism has allowed for a significant and growing role for the private sector in recent years.
■ Auto Industry
Proton supplies Indonesia
Malaysia's troubled national carmaker Proton will supply 3,000 Wira models to Indonesia for use as taxis in a fresh drive to boost exports, the state Bernama news agency reported yesterday. The Wira taxis will be delivered in batches to several major cities, Bernama quoted Dwi Sasetia, director of Proton's Indonesian subsidiary, as saying. "It is a big vote of confidence in Proton cars by Indonesia's taxi drivers because taxis need to be tough and reliable to keep running round the clock on the busy streets," Dwi told Bernama. He said taxis in Indonesia often had suffer "snarling traffic jams and uneven road surfaces" in many parts of its cities. "So when owners evaluate vehicles to replace their taxi fleet, they make sure they get cars that can take the beating of Indonesia's streets," Dwi said.