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Fri, Aug 24, 2007 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ FINANCE

Japan holds rates steady

Japan's central bank decided yesterday to keep interest rates unchanged because of recent worries about a US credit crunch that set off roller-coaster fluctuations on global markets. The Bank of Japan's decision, which came at the end of a two-day meeting, had been widely expected because of recent turmoil in financial markets, worries about a slowdown in the US economy and a recent move by its US counterpart to lower rates. Later in the day, the bank also left unchanged in its monthly report its view that Japan's economy will continue to expand moderately.

■ FINANCE

Lone Star Funds raided

John Grayken's Lone Star Funds said its South Korean offices were searched yesterday by tax authorities seeking information on the firm's recent asset sales. "The National Tax Service raided Lone Star Korea's offices, apparently in relation to Lone Star Funds' recent sales activities," Grayken said yesterday in an e-mailed statement. "While we are disappointed by yet another unannounced raid of our offices, we are committed to cooperating fully with their investigation." In June, Dallas-based Lone Star agreed to sell Kukdong Engineering & Construction Co to Woongjin Holdings Co for US$702 million.

■ AUTOMOBILES

Toyota, Isuzu think small

Toyota Motor Corp and its Japanese partner truckmaker Isuzu Motors Ltd will develop and produce small diesel engines together for the European market, both sides said yesterday. The agreement will allow Toyota, Japan's top automaker, to take advantage of Isuzu's highly reputed diesel technology and to compete with rivals such as Honda Motor Co. Production of the 1.6 liter diesel engines for use in Toyota vehicles sold in Europe will start 2012, the companies said in a statement. Demand for diesel vehicles is growing especially in Europe because of worries about global warming.

■ CHINA

Officials criticize US

China accused the US yesterday of becoming increasingly protectionist, as it hit back following a wave of high-profile trade disputes and export safety scandals. Senior officials told a briefing in Beijing their US counterparts were uncooperative and that the US government had broken WTO rules while carrying out its anti-dumping investigations against products from China. "Recently, the United States has carried out a series of measures with a distinct protectionist flavor," assistant commerce minister Wang Chao (王超)said. "It's also fair to say that they have not given full consideration to Chinese requests for consultations."

■ RETAIL

Mitsukoshi, Isetan to merge

Mitsukoshi, one of Japan's most prestigious department stores, announced yesterday plans to merge with rival Isetan to form a new industry No. 1 in an increasingly competitive market. The two companies said they had agreed to set up a joint holding company on April 1 next year if the plan is approved by shareholders next month. Both chains of department stores will retain their own names. Each Isetan share will be exchanged for one share in the holding company while each Mitsukoshi share will be exchanged for 0.34 shares. Mitsukoshi is now Japan's fourth-largest department store operator, while Isetan is fifth-ranked in the industry.

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