Wednesday, October 1, 2008

News Line: Live from Tokyo!

1) Asia-Latin America Collaboration by Lim Hng Kiang

Most people think of Latin America and Asia as two regions separated by culture, language and history. Yet, Asia and Latin America are more connected than we imagine.

In recent years, political and economic ties between Latin America and Asia have deepened. Not only have government–to-government links and interactions grown, but companies from both regions have increasingly come to realize the potential for doing business with each other. The growth in total trade flows between Latin America and Asia bear testament to this, having risen to reach US$267.3 billion in 2007, an increase of 24 percent over 2006 (click here to read more)....


In ASEAN, there has been good progress made towards achieving the ASEAN Economic Community. The recent conclusion of negotiations for the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand FTA as well as the ASEAN-India FTA Trade in Goods during the ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting in August will not only continue to deepen ASEAN’s internal integration, but also expand its external reach. In Latin America, 2008 bore witness to the establishment of the Union of South American Nations or UNASUR, which aims to create a single market and to integrate infrastructure (click here to read more)...


While trade links between Asia, as well as Singapore, and Latin America have grown, there is scope to do much more. For example, bilateral trade between Singapore and Latin America increased at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17 percent over the last three years to reach US$8.89 billion (SS$ 13.4 billion) in 2007. But this only represents 0.07 percent of total world trade and 1.6 percent of Singapore’s total trade with the world last year. There are many areas where there are opportunities for collaboration, be it in agri-business, food and beverage, electronics, oil and gas, transport, logistics or infrastructure. In fact, an increasing number of our companies have made successful inroads into Latin America in these sectors. To date, there are about 56 Singapore-based companies with 191 points of presence throughout Latin America engaged in a variety of business and investment projects.

Latin America’s infrastructure sector in particular has attracted the interest of a number of Singapore companies. Latin American governments are placing increasing emphasis on investing in robust, well-integrated and efficiently managed infrastructure to sustain growth. This presents opportunities in transportation & logistics, urban planning, water and waste management, industrial park development, and oil & gas, amongst others, in both regions. Latin America’s need for expertise in infrastructure development dovetails well with Singapore companies’ infrastructure development capabilities and search for new markets (click here to read more).

Click here
to access the full article from Latin Business Chronicle

2) Venezuela's Chavez calls for creation of an Oil Bank reports Rigzone via Dow Jones Newswires

Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez on Tuesday called for oil producing countries to create an oil bank and warned oil prices could fall further.

"We once proposed the creation of an OPEC Bank...but it wasn't adopted. Lets work with the idea of an oil bank, a couple of oil (producing) countries can do it," Chavez said as he arrived in Brazil for a state visit.

Click here to access the full article via

3) China has muscles to push domestic growth - Xinhua

SINGAPORE, Sept. 30 (Xinhua) -- China has the muscles to push short-term domestic growth, but Japan and South Korea will continue to grapple with various difficulties in trying to rev up their sluggish economic engines into higher gear, said Standard & Poor's Ratings Services here on Tuesday.

In recent separate reports on the three countries, S&P said China will steer its economic policy toward supporting growth, despite some anticipated hurdles, while Japan and South Korea both face political stalemates, high oil and food prices, decelerating growth, among other issues.

The report said China is counting on its strong domestic demand to pull its economy ahead this year and next, "We expect tight labor market conditions, together with the implementation of the new Labor Contract law this year, to keep wage growth strong and lower uncertainties faced by employees."

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to access the full article from Xinhua

4) China's economy in good shape despite global financial chaos

TIANJIN, Sept. 27 (Xinhua) -- China's economy was in good shape and capable of maintaining financial stability despite global chaos, Liu Mingkang, chairman of the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC), said on Saturday.

Liu made the remarks at the ongoing 2008 Summer Davos forum, also known as the Annual Meeting of the New Champions 2008, which kicked off on Saturday in the north China metropolis of Tianjin.

Though feeling gloomy about the outlook of the world economy, most attendees were confident about China's economic prospects.

"China has full confidence and capabilities to ensure sound and fast economic growth for a long period of time," Premier Wen Jiabao said at the opening ceremony.

Click here to access the full article from Xinhua

5) South American leaders blame financial crisis on US irresponsibility reports Mecropress

Four of South America’s leaders meeting in the Amazon accused the United States on Tuesday of "irresponsibility" in its handling of a financial crisis that has dried up credit markets and threatens economies around the world.

Brazil’s Lula da Silva said that rich nations are responsible for the global financial crisis, and called on the US Congress to pass a solution quickly. Emerging markets, including Brazil, are better prepared to weather the crisis than the US, he said.

“We did our homework and they didn't”' Lula said. “Those that spent the last three decades telling us what to do didn't do what they had to do. The crisis is very serious and so profound that we don't know how big it is”.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez warned the crisis could slow economic growth across Latinamerica and predicted that US economic power is in dramatic decline.

"This crash of capitalism and of neo-liberalism will be worse than that of 1929" Chavez told reporters at the Manaus city meeting. “No country can say it won't be affected''.

Click here to access the full article from Mercopress

6) Brazil and Argentine markets suffer record day losses

Brazil’s Bovespa suffered its greatest loss in one day since 1999. Trading dropped 13.8% before beginning to recover towards the end of the day.

Before President Lula da Silva had to come out and insist that the global financial crisis would have a limited contagion for Brazil. Trading had to be stopped for 30 minutes after the crash reached the 10% threshold but once restarted continued to fall until at the end of the day the index settled at 46.028 points, down 9.4%.

In Argentina the MERVAL index skid 8.7% and in Mexico the IPC, 6.4%; in Chile the loss was 5.7% and in Colombia, 2.37%.

For Chile it was the worst daily fall in a decade and for Argentina’s Merval the blackest day since February 11, 2002 when the market crashed 10.68%. The Argentine stock exchange has lost 13,5% in September and 30% since the beginning of the year.

Click here to access the full article from Mecropress

7) US representatives extends benefits to Andean Countries

The United States House of Representatives voted unanimously on Monday to approve a one-year extension of trade benefits for Colombia, Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia that expire at the end of the year....

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to access the full article from Mercopress

8) Lima's stock market plunged 15.35% in September

Lima, Sep. 30 (ANDINA).- Lima Stock Exchange (BVL) plunged 15.35 percent in September, the second biggest month drop in 2008, after a 18.73 percent decrease in July, amid an international financial crisis worsening, said Tuesday the general manager of Seminario Brokerage (SAB), Roberto Seminario. The BVL was hurt by external factors linked to a metal price drop and a collapse of several American financial institutions such as Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, Bear Stearns and Washington Mutual...

Click here to access the full article from Andina News

9) Chinese buyers of Indian Iron Ore demand discounts

Chinese buyers of Indian iron ore are defaulting on import contracts and refusing to lift the ore unless the seller offers a discount on contracted prices, a top industry official said on Monday.

"Our exports are in deep red as there is no demand from China," said Rahul Baldota, president of the Federation of Indian Mineral Industries and managing director of miner MSPL Ltd.

Chinese appetite for Indian ore has fallen despite rival Brazilian miner Vale`s demand for higher prices for the ore it exports to China -- a move that initially cheered Indian suppliers.

Nearly 75% of India`s annual iron ore exports of about 100Mt go to China, and shipments normally rise after the annual rainy season ends in September.

"The Chinese are backing off old contracts. They are saying either you reduce the price or we can`t take the shipments," Mr Baldota said. "I, myself, have had to suffer two cancellations."

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to access the full article from Mining-Journal

Chinese blast off into outer-space as global financial markets await US bailout plan

Original writing -- September 25th, 7:45pm China Central Time

Apologies to all readers in the lag in publishing of the following entries. Sadly due to "technical difficulties," a few entries written while on the ground in the great country of China could not be published on the spot.

As I wander around the parts of the net in which I am permitted to enter, I am watching the Chinese prepare to blast off into space for their third time. This time however will be the first time they actually venture outside the ship and "walk in space," as stated by CCTV 9.

Not sure if its the fact I'm in China watching live, but its quite an amazing feeling to see a country that is still developing on the verge of blasting off into space.

The mission will hopefully be accomplished using everything "made in China." The astronauts will even take traditional Chinese medicine before blast off to help with nausea. The astronauts are carrying back up Russian Space suits incase they need to ditch their Chinese ones for the actual "space walk."

Personally I hope all go smoothly with the Chinese suits, might help to restore a bit of faith after this milk scandal in Chinese standards hehe...