Top state firms profits soar
Major state-owned enterprises saw their profits, a main source of funding for new investments, rise nearly 35 percent in the first four months of the year, state media said yesterday. The top 424 state companies reported combined profits of 348.8 billion yuan (US$45 billion) in the period from January to last month, up 34.7 percent from the same period a year ago, Xinhua news agency reported. The drastic increase could spell trouble for the government's attempts to rein in investment growth by curbing loans to enterprises, as the companies are now in a better position to instead rely on retained profits.
Algeria agrees gas deal
Algeria is to deliver liquified natural gas to Brazil under an accord signed on Saturday between the state-run Sonatrach and Brazil's Petrobas. A Sonatrach statement, which did not specify the quantity or price of the gas, said the agreement would allow Algeria to diversify its liquified natural gas sales "notably in the Atlantic basin." Delivery is to be made via two floating terminals, one in Guanabara in the Rio de Janeiro region and another in Pecem, in Ceara state, the statement said. The two companies also signed a memorandum of understanding covering development, exploration and commercialization in the two countries.
Planning agency acts
China's top economic planning agency has told local authorities to remove preferential policies for industries which consume disproportionate amounts of energy, state media said yesterday. The order from the National Development and Reform Commission, reported by Xinhua news agency, comes amid growing signs the government's ambitious energy-saving plans are failing. It was unclear which sector would be targeted, but the power, steel, oil refinery, chemicals, construction materials and metals industries account for 70 percent of energy for industry, according to state media. Xinhua also did not give specific details about which type of preferential policy would be removed.
System glitch halts flights
Computer system problems forced Japan's No. 2 airline, All Nippon Airways Co Ltd (ANA), to cancel all its domestic flights out of Tokyo's Haneda airport from yesterday afternoon and delayed other domestic flights. A spokesman for ANA said all of its flights from Haneda were canceled until around 6pm due to the problems, which affected the airline's reservations, ticket issuing and boarding processes. A total of 114 flights were canceled from early yesterday afternoon the spokesman said.
China asked the US on Friday to clarify regulations on the use of certain antibiotics, after Alabama and Mississippi banned Chinese catfish imports because they contained traces of the drugs. The demand appears to be a defensive move by Beijing as international alarm grows over the safety of Chinese exports, from ingredients in pet food to toothpaste. In a notice posted on its Web site China's food safety regulator said that it had contacted its US counterpart about the use of fluoroquinolones, antibiotics used to treat illnesses like tuberculosis and pneumonia in people and to prevent infections in animals.