BOJ withdraws more funds
The Bank of Japan (BOJ) announced yesterday it would withdraw a further ¥2 trillion (US$17.0 billion) in funds from the banking system as fears of a domestic credit squeeze faded. The two-step move came a day after the central bank drained ¥1.6 trillion from the money market, the amount it had injected since Friday as part of concerted global efforts to ward off a potential credit squeeze. A BOJ official said the bank had decided to withdraw the additional funds after money-market interest rates declined, suggesting there was enough liquidity in the banking system despite worries over US mortgages.
PRC eases debt issue rules
China has published new rules making it easier for listed companies to issue debt, potentially providing a lift for the nation's famously inactive corporate bond market. Qualified firms will now be allowed to issue corporate bonds with a maturity of more than one year without bank guarantees, the China Securities Regulatory Commission said in a statement on its Web site late on Tuesday. The proceeds can be used for any general corporate purpose approved by its shareholders, but must conform with the government's economic policies, the commission said.
Lennon songs on iTunes
Apple Inc has begun selling downloads of tracks from 16 of John Lennon's albums, including Working Class Hero and John Lennon/Platic Ono Band, on iTunes, the company said on Tuesday. The albums represent Lennon's recording output while he was with Capital Records, a unit of Britain's EMI Group PLC. While many of the late singer-songwriter's solo recordings have been available for download commercially elsewhere, this marks the first time they have been available on Apple's online music service. Songs on two albums -- Lennon Legend and Acoustic -- were being made available for download exclusively on iTunes, the company said.
Proton unveils new model
Malaysia's troubled state-run car manufacturer Proton unveiled yesterday its new sedan and projected robust sales to include exports in the region and Europe. And with the launch, after long delays, the company also said it was waiting for a government go-ahead to press ahead on a possible tie-up with automobile giant Volkswagen. Designed to replace its 14-year-old Wira model, the sleek 1,600cc Persona sedan is designed to appeal to the young professional after the firm lost its status as the country's leading car seller to local rival Perodua. Proton is also looking at exporting the vehicle to Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Australia and Britain.
FAO calls for regulation
International rules to regulate the biofuel market should be devised and implemented, the head of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said in a comment piece published on the Financial Times Web site yesterday. FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf urged the EU and the US to lower trade barriers against importing ethanol, establish environmental standards for bioenergy and provide microcredit to farmers in developing countries so they can develop their biofuel industries.