Canberra urges competition
Australia may double its investment in residential mortgage-backed securities to promote competition in the nation’s lending market and put “downward pressure” on borrowing costs. The Australian Office of Financial Management will be directed to support as much as A$8 billion (US$7.2 billion) of new issues, “depending on market conditions,” Treasurer Wayne Swan said on Saturday in an e-mailed statement. The government has spent A$7.4 billion buying RMBS in the past 12 months, information posted on its Web site said.
Investment cap raised
China raised the amount foreign funds can invest in stocks by 25 percent to US$1 billion, encouraging inflows after the benchmark index slumped into a bear market in August. The lockup period for some medium and long-term qualified foreign institutional investor funds, such as pensions and insurers, will be cut to three months, the State Administration of Foreign Exchange said in rules published on its Web site on Saturday. The previous limit on individual quotas for foreign investors under the so-called QFII program was US$800 million, according to draft rules published on Sept. 4.
Natural gas may rise
Natural gas may climb to US$7 per million British thermal units after the commodity last month rebounded from a long-term support level, Abu Dhabi-based Invest AD said. Natural gas futures have almost doubled to US$4.77 per million British thermal units since reaching a more than seven-year low on Sept. 4. “Holding above a 20-year support and rebounding sharply from that level, signals an increase in demand for natural gas,” said Aksel Kibar, a portfolio manager at Invest AD, the investment firm owned by the Abu Dhabi Investment Council. “Any break above the US$5-US$5.50 range will push the prices toward the US$6 to US$7 area.”
‘WSJ’ predicts domination
The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) said Saturday that it expects to become the largest US newspaper by weekday circulation when the latest figures are released, leapfrogging USA Today. Editor and Publisher magazine said Audit Bureau of Circulations figures to be published on Oct. 26 will show that USA Today’s circulation fell 17 percent to 1.88 million for the six months ending last month. The WSJ, with a total circulation of just over 2 million, said that would make the News Corp-owned paper the largest in the country by weekday circulation.
Government shuts utility
The government said yesterday it was closing down the power company that supplies electricity to the capital and surrounding area because of inefficiency. Federal police stood guard at installations of Luz y Fuerza del Centro, which supplies electricity to Mexico City.
China defends steel sales
Beijing is rejecting a US move to launch an investigation into whether Chinese mills are dumping steel pipes on the US market or benefiting unfairly from government subsidies. “Blind accusations of dumping or subsidies in Chinese imports is lacking in factual basis, which China strongly opposes,” the Commerce Ministry said in a statement on its Web site late on Saturday. Problems in the US steel industry were brought on by weakened demand and should not be blamed on Chinese imports, it said.
SCHEDULE: The delegation is due to meet with President Tsai Ing-wen this morning and witness the signing of an MOU on bilateral health cooperation in the afternoon US Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar yesterday arrived in Taipei aboard a US government plane at the head of a delegation that is the highest-level visit by a US official since Washington switched diplomatic recognition to China in 1979. Azar’s flight landed at Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) at 4:48pm, nearly one hour earlier than scheduled, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. The apron where it landed is reserved for military aircraft, the Songshan Air Force Base Command said. The members of Azar’s delegation included HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Robert Kadlec, HHS Chief of Staff Brian
CHINESE FIGHTERS: Beijing marked the US Cabinet member’s visit by briefly sending two warplanes across the median line of the Taiwan Strait yesterday morning President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday met with US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar in the highest-level official meeting between the two nations since 1979. “It is a true honor to be here to convey a message of strong support and friendship from [US] President [Donald] Trump to Taiwan,” Azar said during the open portion of his courtesy call to the Presidential Office, which was streamed live online before Tsai and Azar held a closed-door meeting. “Taiwan’s response to COVID-19 has been among the most successful in the world, and that is a tribute to the open, transparent,
‘CROSS-STRAIT CONSIDERATIONS’: Groups said that the Ministry of Education’s policies excluded Chinese and students should not be blocked over political issues The Taiwan International Student Movement yesterday said it would protest today outside the Ministry of Education in Taipei against a policy that excludes some Chinese students from returning to Taiwan amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Since June 17, the ministry has allowed foreign students from 19 “low risk” and “medium-low risk” countries and regions to enter Taiwan. On July 22, it announced that it was relaxing restrictions to include students from all countries and regions who are graduating this semester and on Wednesday it further expanded entry to students enrolled in degree programs. A letter sent by the ministry on Wednesday to universities did
PARTNERSHIP AND LEARNING: A Princeton University health policy researcher said that the nation would be a ‘treasure trove’ of information for the US health chief US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar on Friday said he wants to learn about Taiwan’s “incredibly effective” response to COVID-19, even though the nation did things that the US has fumbled, such as having a unified strategy and citizens willing to wear masks. Azar leads a US delegation arriving today for a three-day visit to Taiwan. They are to meet with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and health system leaders, and Azar is to give a speech to public health graduates. “The message of this trip is about Taiwan,” Azar said in an interview, deflecting a question about China.