Jakarta to spend more
Jakarta plans to spend an extra 50 trillion rupiah (US$4.5 billion) to help sustain economic growth this year and counter the impact of a global financial crisis, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said. Southeast Asia’s largest economy will outlay 38 trillion rupiah this year from unrealized spending planned last year and the other 12 trillion rupiah for this year, the president said. The additional spending may help Indonesia’s US$433 billion economic growth exceed 5 percent this year, from an estimated 6.1 percent last year, central bank governor Boediono said. The budget deficit is estimated to have narrowed to 0.1 percent of GDP last year, the lowest since the Asian financial crisis a decade earlier, Yudhoyono said.
Tuna fetches top yen
The Japanese passion for sushi is apparently immune to the global economic crisis. A plump tuna yesterday fetched ¥9.6 million (US$104,000) at Tokyo’s Tsukiji fish market, the second-highest price ever. This year’s first auction took place before dawn at the world’s largest fish market, with 730 tunas lined up for bidding. The top-priced fish was a blue-fin tuna weighing 128kg. “I just wanted to bid on the best tuna of the day,” the winning buyer said, according to Jiji Press. He said he planned to sell the tuna to high-end sushi bars in Japan and China. The highest price ever paid for a tuna at the market was ¥20 million in 2001. Tsukiji market, the source of fresh sushi and sashimi flown daily to top restaurants the world over, has long topped must-see lists for foreign visitors to Tokyo. But the auction was closed to tourists last month after fishmongers complained that visitors were bad mannered.
Samsung unveils slim TV
South Korea’s Samsung Electronics yesterday unveiled what it says is the world’s slimmest liquid-crystal-display (LCD) TV. The new product, measuring only 6.5mm thick, is thinner than any other existing TV set, and even slimmer than most mobile handsets, Samsung said in a statement. Its thickness is one-seventh of Samsung’s “Bordeaux 850” LCD TV, which is currently the thinnest on the market.
Pfizer exercises option
Pfizer Inc, the world’s largest drugmaker, exercised an option to buy commercial licenses on vaccines developed by Switzerland’s Cytos Biotechnology AG. The options were based on an agreement the companies signed in August that gave Pfizer access to experimental vaccines using immune-response technology, Schlieren, Switzerland-based Cytos said yesterday in an e-mailed statement. Cytos did not disclose the size of the payments or say which diseases the vaccines target.
No Great Depression: Sachs
The world is facing a serious recession but should avoid a repeat of the Great Depression it experienced in the 1930s, a top US economist said on Sunday. This recession would be more serious than others, but not as hard as the Great Depression, Jeffrey Sachs, a special advisor to the UN secretary general, told the Spanish daily El Pais. Sachs said he also believed Asia should be able to maintain positive economic growth levels. Allowing Lehman Brothers to collapse had been a “huge mistake” that had worsened the economic crisis, he said. Any other errors of that magnitude — such as letting troubled US automakers to go under — would lead to a depression.