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Mon, Oct 12, 2009 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■BANKING

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.

■STOCKS

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.

■ENERGY

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.”

■MEDIA

‘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.

■MEXICO

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.

■TRADE

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.

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