World Business Quick Take


Tue, Jan 16, 2007 - Page 10

■ Food
Fujiya president resigns

The president of a major Japanese cake and candy maker yesterday said he was stepping down after acknowledging the company had repeatedly used old milk and other ingredients in cream puffs and other products. "I am resigning to take responsibility," president Rintaro Fujii, 64, said on nationally televised news. In a news release yesterday, Fujiya said an internal investigation unveiled 18 cases over the last seven years in which expired ingredients were used at a plant in Saitama, near Tokyo, including milk, cream, eggs, blueberry jam and apple filling in products such as cream puffs.

■ Investment

Thailand relaxes controls

The central bank yesterday lifted the ceiling on the amount local companies can invest abroad and said it may relax controls on some foreign borrowings used to finance local investments. The ceiling for overseas investments for companies and individuals was raised to US$50 million a year, from a previous limit of US$10 million, the Bank of Thailand said. The central bank governor said separately that some funds borrowed abroad may be exempt from a 30 percent lockup for 12 months.

■ Investment

FDI up in China

Foreign direct investment (FDI) in China, excluding banks and other financial companies, rose 5 percent last year to US$63 billion, the government said yesterday. Speaking at a conference on commercial policy, Chinese Commerce Minister Bo Xilai (薄熙來) said the figure marked a reversal of an investment decline in 2005, the Xinhua news agency reported. With banks and financial companies added, China's foreign investment in 2005 reached a record-high US$72.4 billion, figures reported earlier by the ministry showed.

■ Investment

Seoul eases foreign limits

South Korea yesterday announced a set of measures to boost outbound investment by local companies as part of efforts to curb the won's rise against the dollar which has been putting pressure on exports. Finance Minister Kwon O-kyu said the government would ease a cap on overseas property purchases by South Korean investors and exempt local investors from capital gains tax on earnings from equity investments abroad for three years. The US$1 million cap on real estate investment abroad will be raised to US$3 million, he said. "The move is aimed at stimulating outbound investment by South Korean firms," he said, forecasting a capital outflow of up to US$15 billion.

■ Machinery

Japanese orders up 3.8%

Japan's core machinery orders rose 3.8 percent in November from October, the government said yesterday, suggesting business investment will ensure the country's economy continues to recover. The figure exceeded the forecast by economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires, who estimated on average that core orders would grow 3.4 percent. The data marked two months of growth following a 2.8 percent rise in October. Machinery orders are widely regarded as a leading indicator of capital investment. The data excludes often volatile orders from utilities and for ships. The figures may add to speculation that the central bank will raise interest rates to 0.50 percent from 0.25 percent at its two-day monetary policy meeting ending on Thursday.