Nov 26, 2008

Asian Stocks Rebound as Wall Street Gains Some Lost Ground

Asian Stocks Rebound as Wall Street Gains Some Lost Ground

Throughout Asia, there are signs that confidence is starting to return to the markets as investors were heartened by the performance on Wall Street.

Analysts have said that government measures to stimulate the U.S. economy have had a positive effect.

Hong Kong's main Hang Seng index and South Korea's Kospi were both up in trading Wednesday, while markets in Singapore, mainland China, Taiwan and the Philippines also gained.

Thai stocks fell amid domestic political uncertainty that has seen protesters descend on the country's main international airport in efforts to bring down the government.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei index fell by 1 per cent on fears that a global downturn will hurt the profits of major carmaker Toyota.

There was a similar fall too on Australian markets, as they digested news that Anglo-Australian mining giant BHP Billiton has abandoned multi-billion dollar plans to buy its smaller rival Rio Tinto. The company said that the global economic slump and falling commodity prices were behind the decision and that a takeover was no longer in the best interests of shareholders.

Mining expert Gavin Wendt says the international credit crisis has forced BHP to ditch its plans.

"We're really in uncharted waters. Although the bid's been going now for more than 12 months, I think it was the last couple of months, credit market meltdown. Of course, it's
very, very difficult to raise financing in this sort of market. Rio Tinto is a company with a lot of debt on board and BHP would have had to finance that. So, I think it was probably the final nail in the coffin," said Wendt.

Analysts say that BHP's interest in Rio Tinto could be revived when and prices and demand for Australian iron ore recover.

That will only occur when a slowdown in the Chinese economy is reversed. Market watchers say that is likely to happen within 18 months.

Aug 25, 2008

Beijing Olympics End, Paralympics Set to Begin

Beijing Olympics End, Paralympics Set to Begin

25 August 2008

Schearf report - Download (MP3) audio clip
Schearf report - Listen (MP3) audio clip

The Beijing Olympics have been declared a sporting success. Attention is now turning to the Paralympics, which many hope will improve the situation for the disabled in China. Daniel Schearf reports from Beijing.

The Beijing Olympics ended Sunday night with a grand closing ceremony.

Beijing's organization, infrastructure, and iconic sports venues for the games drew widely praised during two weeks of competition.

IOC chief Jacques Rogge (L) stands with BOCOG president Liu Qi during  closing ceremony of 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, 24 Aug 2008
IOC chief Jacques Rogge (L) stands with BOCOG president Liu Qi during closing ceremony of 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, 24 Aug 2008
Jacques Rogge, the president of the International Olympic Committee, declared the Beijing games a success that would leave a lasting, positive legacy.

"Through these Games the world learnt more about China and China learned more about the world," Rogge said.

Beijing is now gearing up to host the Paralympics - the world's biggest sporting event for those with physical disabilities.

Disabled people have long been discriminated against in Chinese society. Many advocates for China's disabled hope the Paralympics will help millions of people be able to better integrate into society here.

Tang Xiaoquan is president of the China Disabled Persons' Federation and vice president of the Beijing Olympic committee.

She says they will take the opportunity of the Paralympics games in Beijing to greatly improve accessible facilities. She says this will help the 999,000 people with disabilities in Beijing better integrate into society.

China has 83 million disabled people. Most of them find it difficult to travel and hold jobs because cities have few facilities that are accessible for those using wheelchairs or crutches, or who have vision problems.

As part of its Olympics preparations, Beijing has made all of its subway stops accessible to wheelchairs. During the Paralympics, there will be 16 dedicated public bus lines for the disabled and 400 shuttle buses.

The Chinese government requires all new buildings to have accessible facilities, and older public buildings are to be renovated to provide access.

More than 4,000 athletes will compete in the Paralympics, which begin September 6 and last 12 days. The athletes will compete in and stay in the same facilities used for Olympics, including the popular Water Cube and Bird's Nest stadium.

Mar 26, 2008

中韓、カンボジア投資白熱 経済成長年10%

 年率10%近い経済成長でアジアの“ライジング・スター”とも称されるカンボジアへの投資熱が高まりを見せている。産業の多角化や外資誘致で成長を目指 す同国に対し中韓企業が投資を拡大させている一方で、タイやマレーシアなどに多くの拠点を持つ日本勢の進出は出遅れており、現地政府も日本企業の投資活性 化に期待を寄せている。

 カンボジアは東南アジア諸国連合(ASEAN)の中でもトップクラスの経済成長を続けている。2005年に経済成長率13・4%を達成し07年 見込みは9・5%、08年の見通しも8%と10%近い。情勢が安定したカンボジアは、中国やタイといったアジアの生産拠点で人件費や賃貸料が上昇しコスト 競争力が失われていく中で、低廉な労働力を確保できる新たな投資先として注目を集めている。


 一方、日本の06年投資額は約200万ドルの14位で、韓国の500分の1にすぎない。94年からの累計額も約1億3500万ドルと2位中国の 13分の1だ。政府関係者は「日本企業の関心は最近高まっていて投資も増えているが、慎重なのかスピードが他国に比べ遅い」と指摘する。

 カンボジアは70年代のポル・ポト政権時代から内戦が続き、外資誘致など産業復興に注力する状況ではなかったが、98年の総選挙を機に政情が安 定化。政府は、世界でも有数の遺跡のアンコールワットを呼び水に観光産業を育成したほか、繊維や鉱物、水力発電、資源エネルギーなど産業の多角化により経 済成長を促進している。

 さらに、外資誘致では11カ所の経済特区を設置し通関手続きの簡素化や法人税免除などの優遇政策を展開し、外資の資金力と技術力を取り入れて産 業のてこ入れを図っている。最低賃金は月45ドルと安く、政府関係者は「労働者は勤勉で、タイやマレーシアなど周辺国に拠点を持つ企業が進出しやすい」と カンボジア投資の魅力を強調。中国や韓国は政府支援を強化し民間企業の進出が加速している。