‘ Thailand Freezes Prices of Goods’

#AceFinanceNews – BANGKOK – June 06 – Thailand’s Commerce Ministry said on Friday that prices of many consumer goods would be capped for six months to November.

The measure is aimed at holding down living costs and boost the economy and confidence. 

“Producers of 205 categories of necessary consumer goods are happy to freeze prices for six months,”Reuters quoted the ministry’s permanent secretary, Srirat Rastapana, as saying.

Rastapana is acting minister under a military government that seized power on May 22.

The move was announced after a meeting with companies and trade associations.

Straits Times

#AFN2014 

 

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Russians Energy Minster says ` Domestic Gas Prices in `Europe ' Could Rise by 50 Percent if it Cut's Supplies from Russia '

#AceFinanceNews – EUROPE – April 04 – (RT) – “Moving away from pipeline transportation of natural gas, construction of terminals and deliveries of liquefied natural gas will lead to an increase in gas prices in Europe from the current $380 per 1,000 cubic metres to at least $550,” Novak said in an interview to the Russia 24 TV Channel.

“And the question arises: are the economies of European countries ready to supply and consume gas at such a price?” the Minister asked.

The US has insisted that Europe needs to urgently cut its dependence on Russian gas, with the US Secretary of State John Kerry saying Moscow should no’t use energy exports as a political weapon.

“It really boils down to this: no nation should use energy to stymie a people’s aspirations,” Kerry said in Brussels on Thursday, the same day Russia’s Gazprom increased the price to Ukraine another $100 per 1,000 cubic metres.

On Wednesday the US and EU reaffirmed their plan to move away from Russian gas, stressing that developments in Ukraine “have brought energy security concerns to the fore” .

Meanwhile, Russian energy companies have started to feel the pulse in markets outside Europe, mostly focusing on Asia.

Gazprom talked to Kuwait and Egypt about increasing LNG supplies and hopes to sign a long-term supply deal with China next month.

Also, the president of Russia’s oil major Rosneft has toured Japan, South Korea, Vietnam and India.

RT – INS – IT

#AFN2014

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` Sanctions take their Toll as `Ukraine’ has Stopped `Supplying Sugar’ to the Crimea and Central Asia ‘

#AceFinanceNews – KIEV – April 03 – Ukraine has stopped supplying sugar to Crimea, Nikolay Yarchuk, the head of Ukraine’s national association of sugar producers, Ukrsakhar, told journalists on Thursday.

The country has “lost the Crimean market,” estimated at about 100,000 tonnes of sugar, Yarchuk said.

He noted that Ukraine also suspended sugar export to Central Asian countries over some difficulties with transportation through Russian territory.

“We have stopped exporting sugar to Central Asia as the transit of our goods through Russia was suspended,” Yarchuk said.

According to Ukrsakhar’s data, Ukraine exported about 140,000 tonnes of sugar from September 2012 to August 2013.

#AFN2014

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` United States and Russia are `Top Arms Exporters ‘ taking ` Fifty Six ‘ Percent of the Market ‘

#AceFinanceNews – United States, Russia, Germany, China and France were the major arms suppliers over 2009-2013, goes the newly released report on arms trade by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

The countries made up 74% of global weapon exports, with a 56% niche occupied by the US and Russia.

“Russia has maintained high levels of arms exports despite the crisis in its arms industry in the post-cold war period,” said senior researcher with the SIPRI Arms Transfers Program Siemon Wezeman.

“In 2009-13 Russia delivered major arms to 52 states. Russia’s most significant export in 2013 was that of an aircraft carrier to India.”

Russia has also become a major arms exporter to India with 75%, whereas the US follows with a huge 7% lag, for the first time down to the second place by supplies to India.

“Chinese, Russian and US arms supplies to South Asia are driven by both economic and political considerations,” said Wezeman. “In particular, China and the US appear to be using arms deliveries to Asia to strengthen their influence in the region.”

The report highlights a considerable increase in arms imports by the Arab states of the Gulf — 23% over 2008-2013, with Saudi Arabia up from 18th to 5th place among the major arms importers.
These are largely (45%) exported by the US.

According to SIPRI, Washington has clinched a number of major deals aimed to retain this level further on. For instance, last year the US government for the first time authorized US companies to supply the region with long-range air-launched cruise missiles.

#AFN2014

#asia, #china, #chinese, #france, #germany, #russia, #russian, #saudi-arabia, #stockholm-international-peace-research-institute-spiri, #united-states

` Standard Chartered Exiting `Certain Countries Banking and Investment Areas`due to slowdown of Emerging Markets’

#AceFinanceNews says that `Standard Chartered Bank ‘is seeking to sell about six units in Asia, Europe and the Middle East, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday citing people familiar with the matter.

Standard Chartered global presence 2007

Standard Chartered global presence 2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Asia-focused bank is in “advanced talks” to offload Standard Chartered Savings Bank and Standard Chartered Capital in South Korea, the WSJ said, but gave no details of any potential buyer.

A company spokeswoman declined to comment on the report.

The newspaper added that the divestment’s were “mostly small” and would also comprise Standard Chartered’s Lebanese retail bank, its Hong Kong consumer-finance business PrimeCredit, its German consumer bank and its Swiss private bank.

According to the WSJ, the deals are part of the bank’s efforts to combat an emerging markets slowdown and worries about its financial health.

Standard Chartered will publish its annual results on Wednesday.

The London-based bank generates 90 percent of its profit in Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

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`Investor’s Eye up the next `International Currency ‘ of the Chinese Yuan’

#AceFinanceNews says that `Chinese Yuan can become dominant world reserve currency according to the latest survey

Published time: March 01, 2014 12:15
Reuters / Kacper PempelReuters / Kacper Pempel
The Chinese yuan can overtake the dollar as the leading international reserve currency, a new poll of institutional investors indicates.

The authors of the survey, conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit and commissioned by State Street financial services, polled 200 senior executives at institutional investors with knowledge of their exposure to yuan assets. Half of the respondents were from the firms headquartered in mainland China (including Hong Kong and Taiwan) and the other half were based elsewhere.

The report accompanying the survey points out that by the end of 2013, the yuan has risen to become the second-most-used trade financing currency and ninth-most-used currency for payments globally.

Image from statestreet.comImage from statestreet.com

A majority – 53 percent of respondents said that they believe the yuan will one day surpass the dollar as the top currency in international holdings of foreign-exchange reserves. In China 62 percent expressed this opinion, compared to 43 percent of respondents outside the country.

Last May International Monetary Fund analysis showed that the dollar had slumped to a 15-year low, heightening concerns that it may lose that status as global reserve.

Chinese officials are diligently working on sustaining their national currency, promoting it beyond the frontier.

In October 2013, the government of China agreed a pilot program to create a UK-based yuan hub that allows London investors to buy up to $13.1 billion (80 billion yuan) of stocks, bonds and money market instruments directly, avoiding Hong Kong transactions.

The move gave the yuan a firmer footprint in Europe and helped to overcome the euro in December, becoming the second most widely used currency in global trade.

Only 11 percent of respondents have said that they do not expect the yuan to become a major reserve currency, a split between 16 outside China and six onshore, according to the poll. Among the former, the most often cited reasons are that the yuan will never enjoy enough liquidity across all asset classes to offer a viable option as a reserve currency, and that people will not trust the yuan as a store of value, the survey says.

The very few pessimists from China-head-quartered institutions, meanwhile, say that people would be “concerned about future policies of the Chinese government and opposition from other economic powers, such as the US, the EU and Japan.”

But the consensus is that one day it will be a yuan world, according to the survey.

“As China’s economic influence grows, the global importance of the renminbi (yuan) will become magnified. Indeed, while for decades it has been a ‘green-back world’, dominated by the US dollar as the world’s primary reserve currency, many think a ‘red back world’, in which the renminbi enjoys premier status, is increasingly a possibility,” the survey’s authors concluded.

A report on RT back in December 2013 stated:

The yuan has replaced the euro to become the second most widely used currency in global trade in 2013, according to the SWIFT network responsible for international financial transactions.

The share of the yuan in global trade finance has jumped from 1.89 percent in January 2012 to 8.66 percent in the form of letters of credit and collections in October 2013, the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) data shows.

The share of trade settlements in the euro fell from 7.87 percent to 6.64 percent in the same period. The US dollar still leads with 81.08 percent of foreign trade payments using the American currency in October.

The most active yuan users are Chinese and Hong Kong companies which account for about 80 percent of the total foreign trade operations in the yuan. The remaining 20 percent is spread among Singapore (12%), Germany (2%), Australia (2%) and other countries (4%).

“The renminbi is clearly a top currency for trade finance globally and even more so in Asia,” Franck de Praetere, SWIFT’s Singapore-based head of payments and trade markets for Asia-Pacific, commented in a statement.

#AFN2014 

RT 

 

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” Russian & Afghanistan Economic Relationship Evolves into a Working One”

#AceFinanceNews says relations between Russia and Afghanistan gain momentum, presidential special envoy for Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov told Itar-Tass on Wednesday.

“The parties are holding an active political dialogue at the high level – at the level of presidents and foreign ministers.

russian-foreign-ministryAs for economic components, it lags behind the political one,” said Kabulov, who is also director of the Russian Foreign Ministry 2nd Asia Department.

“There are few landmark economic contracts and agreements. It is clear because Afghanistan is a country at war. There are no conditions for security and there are risks for making investments in the country,” the high-ranking diplomat said.

“However, there are joint projects where we maintain cooperation. For example, Russia’s Tekhnopromexport should end the reconstruction and modernisation of the Nagly hydropower plant near Kabul.

Another Russian company is completing the reconstruction and modernisation of the Kabul homebuilding factory.

These are very important projects for Afghanistan,” he said.

 

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Euro Zone Market News

German Logo of the ECB.

German Logo of the ECB. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fiscal policy

Fiscal policy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Market News and Views

The FTSE 100 is called to open higher this morning after the performances on Wall Street and in Asia overnight after supportive comments from German Chancellor Angela Merkel on the European Central Bank‘s plans to help the euro zone debt situation. She also called for swift integration of fiscal policy in Europe adding that time was running short. There is no important UK economic data due out today so attention will focus on the release of the preliminary reading of the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index this afternoon in the US. Commodity prices are mixed in trading and on the foreign exchanges, the major currencies are range bound with the dollar edging slightly higher.

So on the face of it we are going to get this mess finally sorted! Even though this belies one truth that is hidden, any fiscal policy will only work with growth! The sheer fact that for the last 4 years in real terms growth has eluded the world, apart from parts of Asia and especially China! Even though they are starting to feel the draft of their economy starting to chill!

My personal view is that very soon the European Central Bank will have to act to shore things up but this only puts of the fateful day, when a reckoning will be needed! This is closer than we think but further from our minds than we care to admit!

#angela-merkel, #asia, #chancellor-of-germany, #european-central-bank, #fiscal-policy, #ftse-100-index, #university-of-michigan-consumer-sentiment-index, #wall-street