■ CREDIT RATING
EU probes credit agencies
The European Commission will investigate the role played by credit rating agencies in the recent crisis over subprime US home loans, the Financial Times reported yesterday. "If the rating agencies believe this is going to be business as usual, they are very wrong," an anonymous commission official told the business daily. "The securitized subprime mortgage market would not have grown to the extent that it did without the favorable ratings given by some agencies," the official said. The FT said that banks first warned about a potential crisis in subprime home loans last year, but credit agencies Standard & Poor's and Moody's only downgraded ratings on relevant securities earlier this year.
A380 to take off on Oct. 25
Singapore Airlines Ltd, the first carrier in the world to fly the new superjumbo A380, said yesterday that the first delivery of the hulking jet has been set for Oct. 15. The double-decker aircraft -- the world's biggest passenger jet -- will be handed over by European plane manufacturer Airbus at a ceremony in Toulouse, France, Singapore Airlines said in a statement. The A380's inaugural flight has been scheduled for Oct. 25 to Sydney, the carrier said. Singapore Airlines had earlier announced it will auction all seats on the first A380 flight on eBay and donate the proceeds to charities.
Mercedes Benz sales surge
DaimlerChrysler AG boosted Northeast Asia sales of Mercedes-Benz luxury sedans 24 percent in the first seven months of the year, led by demand in China. The carmaker sold 22,038 cars in the region, which includes China, Taiwan and South Korea, compared with 17,805 a year earlier, it said in an e-mailed statement yesterday. Sales in China surged 30 percent to 15,830. Mercedes-Benz sales in both Taiwan and South Korea rose 13 percent in the period, the Stuttgart, Germany-based carmaker said.
PRC expects record suplus
A Chinese government think tank said that the nation's politically sensitive trade surplus was likely to rise to a record US$275 billion this year, the government-run Shanghai Securities News reported yesterday. The forecast by the State Information Center would represent an increase of nearly 55 percent over the US$177.5 billion surplus reported last year. Total trade this year is likely to grow US$23.1 billion to US$2.2 trillion, the report said.