World Business Quick Take


Mon, Oct 29, 2007 - Page 10

■ Cost of living rising

Vietnam's blistering economic growth is attracting foreign investors, but the boom is proving costly for households, which face big rises in the price of basic products such as rice. Consumer prices rose 9.34 percent year-on-year this month, after an 8.8 percent increase last month, the General Statistics Office said. The alarm bells grew louder last week as the national assembly seized on the issue, with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung saying: "We want a higher economic growth and a lower inflation rate." The price of food -- 40 percent of the basket of goods used to calculate Vietnam's inflation rate -- rose 13.94 percent this month.


Strike forces delays

A strike by Air France flight attendants left frustrated passengers facing delays and cancellations for a fourth day yesterday, with long-haul flights among the hardest hit. At Paris's main Charles de Gaulle airport, passengers crowded around check-in counters hoping that their flights would be called. Air France had estimated that 60 percent of its flights would take off yesterday, with the figure rising to 70 percent today. The strike is planned to continue until at least midnight. Unions representing flight attendants launched the strike on Thursday to demand better pay and conditions.


Lack of supply hits China

Record world oil prices are forcing Chinese petrol stations to close temporarily because of lack of supplies, state media said yesterday. Petrol stations were reported to be closing in the southern provinces of Guangdong and Fujian and in the central and eastern regions of Zhejiang, Shandong and Henan. "In recent days the demand and supply situation for oil products has been tight," the People's Daily Web site quoted a PetroChina official from Henan Province as saying. "The main reason is that international oil prices have reached record highs while domestic prices have not followed suit. This has seriously influenced the production activities of refiners."


Maersk to build ICD

Shipping company Maersk is to build an inland container depot (ICD) in Bangladesh to ease worsening congestion at the country's main port of Chittagong, an official said yesterday. Maersk Bangladesh Limited, a subsidiary of the Danish shipping giant, will construct the 10 hectare container depot at a cost of US$20 million next year, company deputy general manager Nurul Alam said. "We will to build the inland container depot outside Chittagong port. It has become critically important to build the ICD to avoid congestion at Chittagong port," he said.


Toymakers near agreement

The two largest US makers of toy trains are nearing a conclusion to a seven-year-old, multimillion-dollar lawsuit. Columbia, Maryland-based MTH Electric Trains has sued Lionel, a century-old brand, accusing it of stealing train designs through a Korean subcontractor. The dispute focused on patented computer technology that synchronizes a train set's sound, smoke and speed, critical technology in their small but competitive market. The agreement includes a cash payment from Lionel to MTH and an agreement on future technology uses. No further details were given.