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Mon, Jul 23, 2007 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ TRADE

Chinese items to be tested

The Natural Products Association, a trade group for dietary-supplement manufacturers, will test the purity and composition of raw materials from China. The US Pharmacopeia, a nonprofit organization that sets standards for over-the-counter and prescription drugs, supplements and other health products, will perform the tests in its Shanghai laboratory, the trade group said in a statement on Saturday. "By testing raw materials in China, we're adding another layer of consumer protection to a process that has delivered good health products to Americans for generations," said David Seckman, executive director of Natural Products, in a statement. Chinese firms which agree to have their products examined will build reputations as reliable suppliers and gain access to new customers, the group said.

■ RATES

UK hike predicted

The Bank of England may raise its benchmark interest rate by a quarter point as soon as next month to cool inflation and curb money supply, Ernst & Young is expected to say in London today. Borrowing costs will have to rise further to stabilize prices, after inflation held above the bank's target for a 14th month in last month, the firm is expected today say. Ernst & Young will maintain its forecast for Britain's economic growth this year at 2.9 percent, the fastest pace since 2004. The Bank of England raised the benchmark interest rate this month to 5.75 percent, a six-year high.

■ JAPAN

Quake raises TEPCO's costs

Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) is likely to suffer extra costs of at least ?200 billion (US$1.7 billion) after one of its nuclear power plants was damaged by an earthquake last week, a media report said yesterday. "It is extremely difficult" for TEPCO to resume operations at the plant by March next year as it will take time to have its quake-resistance capabilities reinforced, the Nikkei Shimbun said. Authorities have ordered TEPCO to halt operations at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant indefinitely.

■ OIL

SK Energy wins Peru stake

SK Energy, South Korea's largest oil refiner, said yesterday that it had won a bid to develop a "very promising" oil field in Peru's offshore Trujillo basin. The company said in a statement that it had won a 100-percent stake in the Peru Offshore Block Z-46 in a bidding round sponsored by Peru's oil licensing company Perupetro. Including the new oil field, SK Energy is now engaged in exploration and production of energy in 26 blocks in 14 countries. The company also plans on investing 544 billion won (US$596 million) in global exploration and production business this year.

■ SINGAPORE

Students urged to return

Citizens studying overseas have been urged to return home to pursue their careers amid a government drive to attract more professionals from overseas, the Sunday Times reported. Manpower Minister Ng Eng Hen (黃永宏) said Singapore needed "able people to fill" the job opportunities created by a vibrant domestic economy and strong Asian growth, the paper quoted him as saying. Of the 150,000 Singaporeans living, working and studying abroad, 40 percent are in their 20s and are sought after by top firms because of their educational background, Ng said.

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