Clinton reassures Chinese
US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said she thinks the Chinese “are breathing a little easier” about the health of the US financial system. US and Chinese financial and diplomatic officials held two days of high-level talks in Washington last month. The Chinese are the world’s largest holder of US Treasury securities. Clinton said she thinks “it is fair to say that they are somewhat reassured” after the recent talks. She said the Chinese have an export-driven economic approach, but need to stimulate more demand for goods by Chinese consumers. Clinton made the comments in a Thursday interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria that was set to air yesterday.
Recovery slow, Swan says
The country’s full recovery from the global economic slump will be “a slow process” and the jobless rate is expected to rise further, Treasurer Wayne Swan said. Fiscals stimulus has been “vital in cushioning us from the worst effects of the global recession,” Swan said in a weekly note on the state of the Asia-Pacific region’s fourth-largest economy. The economy has outperformed many other industrialized nations and bettered the Reserve Bank of Australia’s expectations as the government’s stimulus stoked consumer spending and strengthening Chinese demand for commodities supports the nation’s export industry. “The pace of recovery is still expected to be modest,” Swan said.
Producer prices drop
Producer prices dropped for the third straight month last month as cheaper crude oil and raw materials cut the cost of manufactured goods, the Bank of Korea said yesterday in a report. Prices paid to producers declined 3.8 percent from a year earlier but rose 1.2 percent from June. Prices for industrial goods, which include products ranging from textiles to plastics, fell 7.2 percent from a year ago. The cost of agricultural, forestry and fisheries products gained 14.5 percent last month from a year earlier. Electricity, water and gas prices advanced 10.1 percent from a year earlier while services costs dropped 0.3 percent.
Germans get more spam
German Internet users are world champs in a category they’d be glad to lose. They receive more spam than anyone else — a fat 97.5 percent of all e-mail messages received by German accounts last month were spam. The figures were collected by Symantec, a security solutions provider. Other countries with similar rates of spam included the Netherlands (95.7 percent) and the UK (93.6 percent). Surfers in the US (86 percent) and Canada (83 percent) fared a bit better.
Chavez grants loans
President Hugo Chavez announced on Saturday he would grant millions in interest-free loans to public aluminum companies and the country’s struggling steel company Sidor. Sidor, which was nationalized last year, and the aluminum firms have been the target of protests and worker strikes. Chavez said loans worth US$250.4 million would be distributed between five aluminum companies, with half disbursed in dollars and half in Venezuela’s bolivars. Sidor will receive two loans, one worth US$45.4 million and the other US$4.4 million , he said. The money is being drawn from a joint Chinese-Venezuelan fund set up in 2006 and must be repaid within five years, but will not accrue interest.