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Thu, May 24, 2007 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

■ INVESTMENT

China raises foreign quota

China plans to raise the quota for foreign share investments under its Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor program to US$30 billion from US$10 billion, a state-run newspaper said yesterday. The China Business News cited an unnamed source saying the report said the move would emerge during high-level trade talks this week between China and the US. The qualified investor program, which launched in mid-2003, allows approved foreign institutional investors to trade yuan-denominated securities listed on exchanges in Shanghai and Shenzhen. Such shares are off-limits to most foreign investors.

■ SECURITIES

Tokyo bourse mulls allies

The Tokyo Stock Exchange's chief executive is considering various capital alliances with overseas exchanges, including the New York Stock Exchange, to gain more listings, profits and status. Taizo Nishimuro, the exchange's head, said on Tuesday that the alliances aren't limited to taking stakes in each other but also could include 50-50 joint ventures. Japanese government and company officials have worried that investors and companies looking to list their shares are deserting Japan for more lucrative financial centers, including Hong Kong, Singapore and London. The number of foreign companies listed in Tokyo fell to 28 in 2005 from 125 in 1990, the Japanese government said.

■ BANKING

Thailand cuts interest rate

The Bank of Thailand cut its key interest rate by a half-point to 3.5 percent yesterday in a bid to spur sluggish consumer spending hit by post-coup political uncertainty. It was the fourth rate cut this year and the move was in line with market expectations. "The interest rate was cut as inflationary pressure remained low," Suchada Kirakul, an assistant central bank governor, told reporters, adding the current rate level was "appropriate" for the Thai economy. Consumer confidence in April plunged to a new five-year low, while the central bank has reduced its growth forecast for this year to 3.8 percent to 4.8 percent.

■ TRADE

US, China disagree

The US told China on Tuesday that it was becoming impatient with the Asian giant's lagging economic reforms but Beijing warned Washington against politicizing their trade relations. US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, in his opening remarks at a two-day "strategic economic dialogue" meeting with top Chinese officials, urged Beijing to take prompt action to redress "persistent trade and financial imbalances," saying Americans were "impatient."

■ AUTOMOTIVE

Proton sellers may go bust

Hundreds of Proton car dealers may go bust if the government fails to quickly forge a foreign alliance for the ailing Malaysian carmaker, an industry group warned yesterday. Some 180 Proton car dealers have accumulated losses exceeding 20 million ringgit (US$5.9 million) in the fiscal year that ended March 31, as Proton's domestic market share plunged to 30 percent from 60 percent in 2002, the Proton Edar Dealers Association said. The association expressed its disappointment that the government, which controls Proton through state investment arm Khazanah Nasional, has not been able to seal a foreign alliance.

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