Prices drop in Asian trade
Oil prices fell in Asian trade yesterday on demand concerns after the US economy performed below expectations in the fourth quarter, dealers said. New York’s main futures contract, light sweet crude for delivery next month fell US$0.8 to US$43.96 a barrel. Brent North Sea crude for next month shed US$0.75 to US$45.6 per barrel. “The momentum of economic data is looking down ... the GDP numbers brought the reality that the [US] economy is weak,” said Tony Nunan, assistant general manager of the risk management office at Mitsubishi Corp in Tokyo. Oil prices had surged last week in reaction to rising US gasoline stocks and indications of output cuts by OPEC members.
RIL merging subsidiary
India’s largest private sector firm, Reliance Industries (RIL), said yesterday it would buy out its subsidiary, Reliance Petroleum, and create a crude refining giant in the country’s biggest-ever merger. The share-swap merger will create the world’s sixth-biggest refiner and signal “a significant step in our goal to be among the world’s largest global corporations,” RIL chairman Mukesh Ambani said. The merger will create a refining behemoth, giving RIL total crude refining capacity of 1.24 million barrels of crude a day. It will have the largest single refining capacity at any single location in the world at its complex in Jamnagar in western India. Under the merger, Reliance Petroleum shareholders will receive one RIL share for every 16 Reliance Petroleum shares.
Fairfax raises US$318m
Fairfax Media Ltd, Australia’s second-largest newspaper owner, has raised A$500 million (US$318 million) by selling stock to institutional shareholders to cut debt. The company, which owns the Australian Financial Review and the Sydney Morning Herald, is seeking to raise more through an offer to retail shareholders that opens tomorrow, Fairfax said in a statement yesterday. The proceeds from the retail offer won’t be known until early next month, it said.
Telkom gets refinancing
PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia (Telkom), the nation’s biggest telephone company, agreed to borrow about 5 trillion rupiah (US$417 million) from a group of banks to repay maturing debt and to fund expansion. PT Bank Rakyat Indonesia and PT Bank Negara Indonesia are among the lenders, Telkom president and director Rinaldi Firmansyah said in an interview Jakarta yesterday, declining to be more specific. Telkom will use 3 trillion rupiah in loans from 15 banks to fund acquisitions, including an Iranian telecommunications company, Bisnis Indonesia reported yesterday, citing Finance Director Sudiro Asno.
Japanese car sales dip
Sales of new cars in Japan plunged last month, industry figures showed yesterday, underlining the sector’s deepening woes as the economic downturn causes a slump in consumer spending. The decline, for a seventh straight month, comes as Asia’s biggest economy endures its worst recession in decades. Vehicle sales dropped 32.4 percent last month from a year earlier to 218,212 vehicles, the Japan Automobile Dealers Association reported. Sales of mini-vehicles dropped 9.8 percent to 162,370 vehicles, a separate association said.
‘HERO OF THE ERA’: President Tsai Ing-wen expressed deep sadness at Lee’s passing, and told the government to assist his family with all their needs Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) passed away at 7:24pm yesterday at Taipei Veterans General Hospital. He was 97 years old. The hospital stated the cause of death as septic shock and multiple organ failure. Lee had been hospitalized there since February, when he choked on a mouthful of milk at home. He was later diagnosed with pulmonary infiltrates and aspiration pneumonia. The hospital said that Lee had been treated with antibiotics, but that his health had not improved, as his advanced age and diabetes had inhibited his immune system and led to recurring infections. During his hospitalization, Lee underwent daily kidney dialysis, which removed
‘WEAK POSITIVE’: The man arrived in Taiwan in May and was quarantined for two weeks, Chen Shih-chung said, adding that he might be infected a long time ago The government is considering tightening mask-wearing rules again in light of a potential domestic COVID-19 infection, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said yesterday. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) confirmed seven new COVID-19 cases, six of which are imported. The other case involves a Belgian engineer who entered Taiwan on May 3 and remained in quarantine until May 17, said Chen, who heads the CECC. Although the source of infection has yet to be identified, the case could end the nation’s record of not having any domestic cases in the previous 110 days. The Belgian, in his 20s, is a technician
RECEIVING TREATMENT: President Tsai Ing-wen, Vice President William Lai and Premier Su Tseng-chang visited former president Lee Teng-hui yesterday morning Taipei Veterans General Hospital yesterday rebutted speculation that former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) had died a day earlier, saying that he was weak, but receiving treatment. The hospital said the 97-year-old Lee was not in good condition and needed ongoing care, adding that if there are any changes in his condition, it would make those public. The comments came after rumors emerged online on Tuesday that Lee had died after being hospitalized since early February. Soon after the unsubstantiated rumors emerged, reporters started flocking to the hospital seeking confirmation. Lee was admitted to Taipei Veterans General Hospital on Feb. 8 after choking while drinking
ROAD TO HISTORY: When Lee Teng-hui joined the KMT, the likelihood of a Taiwanese becoming ROC president, much less its first directly elected one, was hard to imagine Lee Teng-hui (李登輝), who was born on Jan. 15, 1923, in the farming community of Sanshi Village, Taihoku Prefecture — now New Taipei City’s Sanzhi District (三芝) — during the Japanese colonial era, and rose to become mayor of Taipei and not only the Republic of China’s (ROC) first Taiwan-born president, but its first directly elected one as well. Educated in the Japanese educational system of the time, Lee, who spoke Japanese, Hoklo (also known as Taiwanese), Mandarin and English, won a scholarship to Kyoto Imperial University, but his studies were interrupted by World War II. He earned a bachelor’s