IMF head sees better 2010
The world will begin to emerge from the economic crisis in the first quarter of next year, and the recovery will start in the US housing market, the head of the IMF, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, was quoted yesterday as saying. “The crisis began in the US, in the housing sector. The recovery will announce itself first in the US. Therefore we must keep an eye on American real estate prices. The end of the fall in prices will be an important sign,” Strauss-Kahn told the daily Le Figaro. In an interview the IMF head also noted that US housing prices were very close to bottoming out. “That is why we foresee the recovery for the first quarter of 2010,” he said. Another important indicator would be the status of industrial inventories, Strauss-Kahn said. “When the destocking ends, production can resume,” he said.
Royals may invest in Opel
Abu Dhabi’s royal family might be set to invest in automaker Opel, a press report said yesterday. The Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper quoted family member Sheikh Hamdan indirectly as saying however that “no decision has been taken yet.” Sheikh Hamdan said that a meeting he had had last week with German regional premier Juergen Ruettgers of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, home to an Opel plant, was nonetheless “very positive.” Abu Dhabi said late last month it would take a 9.1 percent stake in Daimler, the owner of Mercedes Benz autos for 1.95 billion euros (US$2.64 billion), becoming its biggest shareholder.
Xerox looks to India
Xerox Corp will pay US$100 million over six years to outsource data-center services to India’s HCL Technologies Ltd, a Xerox spokesman said on Sunday. HCL will manage disaster-recovery preparation and consolidate Xerox’s data centers in North America and Europe, said spokesman Bill McKee. The printer and copier maker has been cutting costs and announced last year it would slash 3,000 jobs from its worldwide payroll of 57,000. McKee said the deal with HCL is not related to the restructuring.
Privatization bid approved
A Hong Kong court yesterday approved telecom giant PCCW’s (電訊盈科) controversial privatization bid, despite allegations by the city’s financial watchdog of vote-rigging. Presiding judge Susan Kwan (關淑馨) gave the scheme the green light in Hong Kong’s High Court, in a case that has gripped the financial hub. The Securities and Futures Commission claimed that the shareholder vote approving the buyout by PCCW chairman Richard Li (李澤楷) and his partner China Netcom (中國網通) had been manipulated unfairly.
Prices rise in Asian trade
Oil prices rose above US$53 in Asian trade yesterday on hopes a global effort to lift the world economy out of recession would yield results. New York’s main futures contract, light sweet crude for delivery next month, gained US$0.90 to US$53.41 a barrel in afternoon trade. Brent North Sea crude for delivery next month advanced US$0.68 to US$54.15. “Investors believe that there will be cooperation to lift the world economy out of the recession [after the G20 summit],” said Tony Nunan, a risk management executive at Mitsubishi Corp in Tokyo. “They are coming back into the market based on the belief that the economy is not as bad as it could have been.”