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Thu, Feb 01, 2007 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Internet
Ebay outlaws virtual booty

Ebay said on Tuesday that it had banned auctions of virtual gold, armor and other booty amassed in World of Warcraft and other online computer games. The San Jose, California-based Internet auction house decided to bar sales of what was essentially computer code representing riches, swords and other items in games because of "legal complexities" regarding ownership. But Ebay said it would continue to allow auctions of items from virtual societies such as Second Life, where people represented by animated figures called "avatars" buy and sell homes and other "property" made of computer codes.

■ Stocks

Shanghai Composite drops

Chinese stocks tumbled nearly 5 percent in their biggest one-day drop in eight months yesterday amid mounting worries over high stock valuations. Analysts said the decline likely signaled a respite after weeks of continued record highs. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index fell 4.9 percent to close at 2,786.33, its biggest one-day decline since a 5.33 percent plunge on June 7 last year. The smaller Shenzhen Composite Index plunged 5.8 percent to 655.53. "The index seems to have peaked last week. It's very unlikely to reach 3,000 in the short term," said Wang Sheng, a strategist at Haitong Securities.

■ Economy

India raises short-term rate

The Reserve Bank of India yesterday raised its key short-term borrowing rate by a quarter percentage point to 7.5 percent, citing inflation risks, as it also hiked its full-year growth forecast. The central bank raised its full-year growth forecast for the year to March 2007 to 8.5 to 9 percent from an earlier forecast of above 8 percent. The surging economy, which grew a record 9.1 percent in the first half ended September, prompted Standard and Poor's to raise the country's credit rating to investment grade on Tuesday. The last time the country had a stable investment grade rating was in September 1990.

■ Electronics

Flextronics plans purchases

Flextronics International Ltd, which produces electronics for other companies, plans to make more acquisitions to gain technology and manufacturing capabilities, chief executive officer Michael McNamara said. "We don't necessarily look for them to add size and scale but to add capabilities," McNamara said in an interview yesterday. The Singapore-based company competes with Celestica Inc, Solectron Corp and Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密) to make electronics such as the Xbox 360 console for Microsoft Corp.

■ Transformation

Vietnam to transfer firms

Vietnam's ruling Communist Party and the military will relinquish control of dozens of companies, ranging from hotels to telecoms, amid ongoing efforts to transform the country into a market economy, officials said yesterday. The elite 160-member Central Committee last week decided to transfer the companies managed by the party and the armed forces to the state, said Dao Duy Quat, deputy director of the party's Ideological and Cultural Commission. However, the armed forces, including military and police, will maintain control of some companies that are directly related to national defense and security, he said.

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