World Bank pessimistic
The global economy has yet to fully absorb the shock of the US subprime mortgage crisis, leaving unclear the overall effect that financial problems will have on growth, World Bank president Robert Zoellick said on Tuesday. "There are still more shakeouts in financial markets," he said. "It's not clear how the financial market adjustment process will still affect the real economies. But I think this is a period of some uncertainty of economic growth." Zoellick spoke at the headquarters of the WTO for a two-day meeting aimed at improving the commercial potential of poorer nations. He said the completion of difficult global trade talks could provide an important boost for the global economy.
ITC drops Chinese case
The US International Trade Commission (ITC) said yesterday that it was canceling anti-dumping duties on Chinese paper in a closely watched case that prompted Beijing to file a WTO complaint. The ITC said it concluded that the US industry was not threatened by imports of Chinese coated paper. "No anti-dumping or countervailing duties will be imposed on imports of this product," the agency said on its Web site. It said the ruling applied to similar imports from South Korea and Indonesia. In May, the US government imposed preliminary tariffs ranging from 23.19 percent to 99.54 percent on imports of glossy Chinese paper used in art books, textbooks and magazines.
NOC, ExxonMobil ink deal
Libya's National Oil Corp (NOC) said on Tuesday that it struck a deal on Tuesday with ExxonMobil of the US to explore for oil offshore in the Gulf of Sirte. The agreement covers Bloc 21, a 10,000km2 area 172km off the Libyan coast lying in waters up to 2,000m deep, NOC said. ExxonMobil will be able to explore the area for five years, NOC said. Libya's current output is 1.7 million barrels per day (bpd) and it has estimated reserves of 42 billion barrels. It aims to reach a production level of three million bpd in 2010.
■ HONG KONG
SFC okays Islamic fund
The Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) has cleared the way for the territory's first Islamic fund, as it tries to compete with Singapore and Malaysia as a hub for Muslim investment. The commission said it authorized the first retail fund after Chief Executive Donald Tsang (曾蔭權) said last month that the government would push to develop products that comply with Islamic law. Islamic finance fuses principles of Shariah or Islamic law and modern banking. Funds are banned from investing in companies associated with tobacco, alcohol or gambling or earning interest.
Hyundai to cut production
Hyundai Motor Co said it will stop producing small cars in South Korea by 2012 due to low profit margins. "Sales of vehicles with 1 liter engines and smaller in Korea do not make high profits," Hyundai Motor spokesman Jake Jang said yesterday. Small car models will continue to be produced in its plant in Chennai, India, which has an annual capacity of 600,000 vehicles, he said. Hyundai Motor sold 240,953 vehicles last month, up 15 percent from 209,047 vehicles a year ago. Strong sales of the Santa Fe and Veracruz SUVs in the US and the i30 hatchback in Europe helped the numbers.