Central bank raises rates
India’s central bank has hiked interest rates more than expected as it continues its fight against high inflation. The Reserve Bank of India is raising the repo rate — at which it makes short-term loans to commercial banks — by a quarter of a percentage point to 6 percent with immediate effect. It raised the reverse repo rate — the rate at which it borrows from commercial banks — by an unexpected half percentage point to 5 percent. Economists had expected quarter point hikes in both rates. This is the fifth rate hike this year.
China profits down
The earnings of major foreign banks in China plunged last year even as their Chinese rivals turned big profits, underlining the challenges facing overseas firms in the country, a report said yesterday. Profits at the Chinese unit of HSBC Holdings PLC plummeted 60 percent compared to 2008, while Standard Chartered’s China unit saw earnings fall 34 percent, the Wall Street Journal said, quoting a report by accountants KPMG. Profits at JP Morgan Chase’s unit in China fell 21 percent, it said.
Samsung aims for the top
Samsung Electronics yesterday set a new goal of becoming the world’s top refrigerator maker next year, following its dominant position in computer memory chips and flat-screen TVs. Samsung is now the second-largest player in the global refrigerator market with a share of 11 percent after US rival Whirlpool’s 14 percent. Hong Chang-Wan, vice president of the company’s home appliance division, told reporters Samsung could become the world’s top refrigerator maker next year.
GS, Siemens win Oman bid
A consortium of South Korea’s GS Engineering and Construction and Germany’s Siemens has won a US$1.3 billion deal to build power plants in Oman, GS Engineering said yesterday. It said in a statement the consortium would build two thermal power plants northwest of the capital Muscat by April 2013. Each plant will produce up to 750 megawatts of electricity. It said its previous projects to build power plants in Oman and Armenia helped it garner the deal. GS Engineering in April completed a US$218 million project to build a thermal power plant in Yerevan, Armenia.
ZTE wins India contract
Chinese telecoms equipment maker ZTE (中興通訊) said yesterday it had secured a contract to supply technology for a mobile network in India after New Delhi relaxed a ban on imports of telecoms equipment. The agreement will see ZTE build and supply second- and third-generation equipment for a network belonging to Indian mobile company Reliance Communications. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed in the statement.
Google taking on iTunes
Internet search powerhouse Google is trying to put together an online music service that would take on Apple’s market-ruling iTunes, a report on Billboard.com said. Google is courting record labels for a service that would let people download songs in digital format or store music in the Internet “cloud” for streaming to online devices, according to unnamed sources cited by Billboard. Google is reportedly proposing charging annual subscriptions of about US$25 to let people store music online and then stream or download tunes as desired, Billboard said.