Japan's Thai Exports Down 16% In Oct Due To Floods: Report
The widespread flooding in Thailand has taken a toll not only on bilateral trade, but also business and consumer sentiment, according to the government's monthly economic report.
The report, released Thursday by the Cabinet Office, shows Japan's exports to Thailand dropped 16% on the month in October, while imports from the Southeast Asian country fell 11%.
"We're concerned about the possibility of parts supply disruptions negatively impacting on domestic production," Economic and Fiscal Policy Minister Motohisa Furukawa said at a news conference Thursday.
Based on a Cabinet Office analysis, parts and semifinished machinery account for more than 90% of Japan's exports to Thailand. Because the Thai units of Japanese companies halted operations due to the floods, exports of electronics parts and car engines declined in October. Shipments of personal computers from Thailand to Japan also declined that month.
The report assessed the overall condition of the domestic economy as mildly recovering, but noted the downside risks posed by the Thai floods, as well as the financial market turmoil stemming from the European debt crisis.
Erratic Rains Threaten Southern Africa Food Output
25 November, 2011
Rainfall patterns in southern Africa are becoming erratic as climate change takes its toll, threatening long-term production of staple and cash crops in the region.
Countries like South Africa, Zambia and Malawi have enjoyed bumper harvests of their staple maize crop in recent years, ensuring food security in a region which has often known hunger.
But farmers, who for centuries have known when to expect summer rains, are now finding planning difficult.
"The rain patterns are just mixed up. You plant with the early rains then all of a sudden there is drought or floods. Sometimes the rains come earlier than expected," said Felix Jumbe, president of the Farmers Union of Malawi.
"Farmers are failing to plan when to plant and it is becoming a big challenge on the farming system," he added.
Malawi is expected to harvest 3.8 million tonnes of maize for the 2010/11 season from 3.5 million tonnes in the previous season and the country has potential to harvest even more.
But the country's 2011/12 maize harvest is seen increasingly under threat given the likelihood of a drought in the first crucial phase of planting, which started in October.
Experts have said as weather patterns change, the outlook for rain-fed agriculture was particularly bleak in southern Africa's Limpopo river basin, which covers parts of Botswana, South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.
Farmers in South Africa, the continent's biggest maize producer, suffered a set back during the harvesting of the 2010/11 season crop after unusually wet conditions made it difficult to access farms.
In Zambia, farmers lost close to one million tonnes of the 2010/11 maize harvest after rains came earlier than expected.
Iran Says Needs to Spend $50 Billion a Year to Keep Oil Output
23 November, 2011
Iran needs to invest as much as $50 billion a year in its oil industry to maintain its position as OPEC’s second-largest crude exporter and boost natural gas production, Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi said.
Qasemi’s comments today published in the state-run Fars news agency came two days after the U.S. and its allies expanded sanctions against Iran in an effort to thwart the country’s controversial nuclear program.
The new measures, matched by similar steps this week from the U.K. and Canada, further restrict international financial transactions with the Persian Gulf nation and target companies that provide goods or services to Iran’s oil and gas industries.
Qasemi presented a proposal to the government and the parliament seeking annual investment of $50 billion for domestic oil and gas projects, Fars said yesterday in a separate report.
Iran needs to increase its output to 5.1 million barrels a day from current 3.9 million barrels by 2015, Qasemi said, according to Fars. Saudi Arabia is the largest producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.
Hungary Cut to Junk at Moody’s After IMF Plea
25 November, 2011
Hungary lost its investment-grade rating at Moody’s Investors Service after 15 years as the Cabinet seeks International Monetary Fund help to boost confidence in the European Union’s most-indebted eastern member.
The foreign- and local-currency bond ratings were cut one step to Ba1, the highest junk-level score, from Baa3, the company said today in a statement. Moody’s, which awarded Hungary its investment grade in 1996, assigned a negative outlook. The country is rated the lowest investment grade at Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings.
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US bank credit default swaps jump
23 November, 2011
Investors paid record amounts to protect themselves against the risk of default by Bank of America on Wednesday, as fears grow over US banks’ exposure to the eurozone debt crisis.
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FTSE hits worst losing streak in 9 years
(Reuters) - The country's blue-chip ended lower for the ninth consecutive session Thursday, marking its worst run since January 2003, after Germany reiterated its opposition to the use of euro bonds or monetary tools to help solve the euro zone's debt crisis.
Following a meeting with the leaders of France and Italy, German chancellor, Angela Merkel, quashed market hopes that Europe's paymaster would open the door to the launch of joint euro zone bonds or a quantitative easing program by the European Central Bank.
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