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Tue, Dec 02, 2008 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ POLAND

Cabinet drafts finance plan

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said on Sunday his Cabinet had prepared a 24 billion euro (US$31 billion) plan to stabilize the nation’s finances and boost the economy. Tusk said the plan was preventative and that the country was in a “not bad situation despite the crisis.” The plan, which includes credit and deposit guarantees, credits for businesses and paves the way for faster absorption of EU funds, needs approval from parliament. The government already attempted to bolster confidence in the banking sector by guaranteeing deposits up to 50,000 euros. Finance Minister Jacek Rostowski said on Sunday the Cabinet also revised its projected GDP growth for next year to 3.7 percent from an earlier estimate of 4.8 percent.

■RUSSIA

Growth forecast slashed

The economic development ministry significantly downgraded next year’s growth forecast, but denied falling oil prices would spark an economic crisis, Ria Novosti news agency reported on Sunday. The economy would grow by between 3 percent and 3.5 percent next year, Deputy Economic Development Minister Andrei Klepach was quoted as saying, far less than the up to 5.7 percent growth predicted by the finance minister last month. Still, “the drop in oil prices to US$50 [a barrel] does not create a crisis,” Klepach was quoted as saying. He also revised downward growth for this year to between 6.8 percent and 7 percent, compared with an earlier estimate of 7.3 percent.

■AUTOMOBILES

Hyundai’s car sales dip

Hyundai Motor Co, South Korea’s largest automaker, said sales last month dropped 1.6 percent from a year earlier as the global economic slump cut vehicle demand. Hyundai sold 234,211 Elantra small cars, Sonata sedans and other models last month, the fewest in three months, compared with 237,941 last year, the Seoul-based carmaker said in an e-mailed statement yesterday. Domestic sales tumbled 34 percent while sales out of South Korea rose 8.2 percent. Hyundai is cutting output at domestic factories and in the US as fewer customers are buying new cars amid tighter credit and economic contraction.

■OIL

Exxon retains LNG forecast

Exxon Mobil Corp is keeping its forecast of 4 percent demand growth for liquefied natural gas (LNG) until 2030 even as the global economy contracts, said Peter Graham, manager of the company’s Papua New Guinea LNG project. Exxon expects to award an engineering contract for the facility in the second half of next year and seek long-term leases for its gas tanker supply in the first quarter, Graham said at a conference in Sydney yesterday. LNG is natural gas chilled to liquid form, reducing it to one six-hundredth of its original volume, for transportation by tanker to destinations not connected by pipeline.

■FINANCE

Zurich Financial buys firms

Zurich Financial Services AG, Switzerland’s biggest insurer, completed its purchase of two Brazilian insurers from Banco Mercantil do Brasil SA. Zurich Financial’s Brazilian unit took an 87 percent stake in Companhia de Seguros Minas Brasil and full control of Minas Brasil Seguradora Vida e Previdencia SA, the Zurich-based company said in an e-mailed statement yesterday. The Swiss insurer agreed to buy the two companies for 286 million reais (US$124.1 million) in July.

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