HK's China plays rise
Hong Kong-listed China plays surged 6.2 percent yesterday in their sixth-straight gaining session as investors bet capital flows from China would lift their value as many trade at a discount to their China-listed peers. China said last week that residents may invest directly in Hong Kong-traded stocks. The benchmark Hang Seng Index ended up nearly 3 percent at 23,577.73, a record close. The China Enterprises index of H shares, or Hong Kong-listed shares in mainland companies, also ended at a record close, finishing at 13,989.87.
US corn, soybeans drop
Corn and soybean futures in Chicago fell after an industry group said US farmers will harvest more than forecast by the government as rain this month helped crops. Wheat also declined. This year's corn harvest will total 13.109 billion bushels, 0.4 percent more than the US Department of Agriculture's estimate of 13.054 billion on Aug. 10, Professional Farmers of America said in an e-mailed statement on Friday. Soybean production will be 2.658 billion bushels, 1.3 percent more than the government forecast of 2.625 billion, the group said.
Izuzu, Toyota pair up
Japanese truckmaker Isuzu and automaker Toyota stepped up their collaboration yesterday, announcing they will work together to develop a system to make diesel engine exhaust cleaner. Isuzu Motors Ltd, a Toyota partner, will work with Hino Motors Ltd, Toyota's truck subsidiary, on the green diesel technology, and to develop heavy-duty truck cabins, both sides said in a statement. Isuzu and Hino, which already work together producing buses and truck components, said the agreement will help cut development costs by allowing the manufacturers to share technology at a time when global ecological standards are expected to get tougher.
■ REAL ESTATE
Low-cost housing planned
China will provide more housing for low-income families as part of efforts to stabilize soaring property prices, state media reported yesterday, citing Vice Premier Zeng Peiyan (曾培炎). Zeng said local governments should strive to offer adequate housing to low-income families and boost the healthy development of the real estate market, the China Securities Journal said. Houses under 90m2, the type supposed to be within the affordability of low-income families, should account for no less than 70 percent of newly built houses, the report said. Local governments should set aside funds for low-cost rental housing in their budgets, and at least 10 percent of the proceeds of land transfers should be used for the development of low-cost rental housing.
Higher inflation expected
Singapore expects inflation in the second half of this year to be higher than the first half amid strong economic growth, a senior official said yesterday. Last week, the city-state reported that consumer prices rose at their fastest pace in 12 years last month as soaring rents combined with the impact of a sales tax hike. "In the last 16 quarters we have been enjoying highly robust growth and so one would expect inflation to pick up, and indeed it well may pick up," Trade and Industry minister Lim Hng Kiang (林勛強) told Parliament.