12 - 18, 2001
Tourism plunges in Egypt, no recovery seen
The vital tourism business in Egypt, a mainstay of the
economy, plunged by between 40 and 45 per cent this month and is expected to
decline further, the government press said Monday, quoting Tourism Minister
"The fall in tourist activity in Egypt in October was
between 40 and 45 per cent," he told the Consultative Council, the upper
house of the Egyptian parliament, Al-Ahram and Al-Akhbar dailies reported,
without specifying if the figure referred to reservations or revenue.
On the repercussions of the September 11 terror attacks in
the United States and subsequent US strikes on Afghanistan, hideout of suspect
Osama bin Laden, Beltagui predicted, "There will be a still steeper fall in
the number of bookings in the months to come." The number of visitors to
Egypt in September fell in September by 18.2 per cent, compared with the same
month last year, according to tourism ministry statistics.
Tourism is Egypt's main source of foreign currency, providing
record revenues last year of 4.3 billion dollars.
Morocco, Spain relations on the edge
Morocco has asked Spain to postpone a long-awaited summit
days after unexpectedly recalling its ambassador, putting new pressure on ties
strained by disputes ranging from drug-running to fishing rights.
Morocco informed the Spanish embassy in Rabat Tuesday that it
wanted the summit, scheduled for December 27 and two years in the pipeline, to
be pushed forward into the new year, a Spanish official said.
The meeting — bringing together Spanish Premier Jose-Maria
Aznar, Moroccan King Mohammed VI and Prime Minister Abderrahmane Youssoufi —
was aimed at soothing a host of nagging disputes and giving relations a fresh
'Jac the knife' Nasser finds himself slashed
In spite of his reputation as a ruthless cost-cutter and an
innovative thinker, "Jac the knife" Jacques Nasser leaves Ford Motor
Co. in need of a confidence boost in its core Ford-brand vehicles.
The outgoing Australian chief executive officer, a feisty,
diminutive 53-year-old was first appointed to lead the company in tandem with
William Clay Ford Jr., the great grandson of company founder Henry Ford.
In something of a family tradition, Ford Jr., 44, now has
ousted the automaker's top outsider to become the new CEO of the Michigan-based
China, Japan trade row rumbles on
Chinese farm products have been targeted. A round of talks
between Japanese and Chinese trade officials on Thursday is unlikely to resolve
a six-month-old trade spat between the two countries, according to reports.
The state-owned China Daily News on Wednesday played down the
prospect of an agreement, claiming the officials involved aren't senior enough
to negotiate a deal.
In Tokyo, an official who did not wish to be identified said
the Japanese government was not expecting a breakthrough.
"The window for a solution is very small," he said.
Thursday's meeting is part of a rolling programme of talks
designed to settle the dispute by 8 November, the deadline by which Japan must
decide whether or not to renew controversial import tariffs on Chinese goods.
BIS won't hold Nov 12th meeting
The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) said on Monday
it will not hold a meeting of central bank governors in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on
November 12th as originally scheduled.
The meeting of heads of major central banks had been planned
before the attacks on the United States on September 11.
"The Riyadh meeting has been postponed in the light of
current uncertainties in the international situation. It may be possible to
reschedule for a later date," a BIS spokeswoman said.
The November 12 meeting will be held instead in Basel.
The BIS has in recent years sought to hold one meeting a year
outside of its headquarters in Basel, Switzerland, as it seeks to open its
operations more to the world beyond Europe.
The Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority is the country's top
monetary authority and one of 50 institutions with voting rights at the BIS, a
bank and forum to the world's central bank.
Dollar recoups losses despite growing economic
The dollar steadied Tuesday, recouping its early losses
despite renewed pressure from a slump in US consumer confidence that sent stock
markets sharply lower.
The euro traded at 0.9043 dollars, against 0.9052 dollars in
New York late Monday after the single European currency rose to within a whisker
of 91 US cents.
The greenback was quoted at 121.93 yen from 121.99 yen in New
The dollar fell in early trade after US Conference Board's
closely watched consumer confidence index slumped to 85.5 points in October —
the lowest reading since February 1994 — from 97.0 points in September.
"The American figures were very bad and we have seen the
dollar slip," said Jane Foley, an economist at Barclays Bank.
But the euro's gains evaporated amid growing concerns that
where the US leads, Europe will follow.
"If this is happening in the US, what's going to happen
in Europe?" said ABN Amro forex strategist Rob Hayward.
"We are factoring poor economic figures from the US over
the next couple of days and then the attention will switch to Europe."
Investors are nervously awaiting US third-quarter gross domestic product figures
due out Wednesday, the manufacturing index of the National Association of
Purchasing Management on Thursday and labor market data Friday.
Blair on tightrope to soothe Mideast crisis
British Prime Minister Tony Blair arrived in Occupied
Jerusalem Thursday faced with the tough task of calming soaring regional
tensions between Israel and the Palestinians, as he promoted a US-British
so-called "war on global terrorism." Blair was here to help get the
peace process back on track, but his arrival was preceded by an Israeli
helicopter striking dead two Palestinians, whom Israel alleged plotted a
Asked directly about Israel's policy of targeted
assassination, Blair said: "It is important any measures that are taken in
relation to (Israeli) security are measures that are proper in accordance with
Violation of Lebanese airspace
The United Nations expressed "concern" Monday over
a new Israeli violation of Lebanese airspace last week, according to a statement
from the UN information center in Beirut.
Staffan de Mistura, the personal representative of the UN
secretary general in southern Lebanon, "has noted with concern that an
Israeli military helicopter violated the Blue Line on October 27, 2001," it
De Mistura said "even one such violation may contribute
negatively to the already tense situation" at the Lebanese-Israeli borders.
He "reiterates his call upon the Israeli authorities to
halt such air violations and to fully respect the Blue Line," the statement
Riyadh knocks on WTO door
OPEC heavyweight Saudi Arabia is knocking loudly on the door
of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), but is not willing to give up its
"unique religious status" in return for membership.
The kingdom is alone among the six-nation alliance of the
oil-rich Gulf Arab states that has been denied accession rights to the WTO which
meets in neighbouring Qatar November 9-13, and has remained a candidate since
Global market hit by fear on economy, terrorism
Stocks tumbled around the globe Tuesday on intensified
concerns of a weak global economy that may deteriorate further as a military
campaign in Afghanistan and terrorism fears take a toll.
In New York, the Dow Jones industrials tumbled 147.52 points
(1.59 per cent) to close at 1,667.33, and the Standard and Poor's 500 shed 18.51
points (1.72 per cent) to 1,059.79.
The Nasdaq composite declined 32.11 points (1.89 per cent) to
London's FTSE 100 index ended the day off 1.62 per cent at
5,003.6 points, after having fallen below 5,000 points for the first time in
more than three weeks.
Frankfurt's DAX index slid 2.50 per cent to 4,543.98 points,
while in Paris, the CAC 40 index fell 3.00 per cent to 4,251.93 points.
The wider euro-zone Euro Stoxx 50 index gave up 3.40 per cent
to 3,407.64 points, while the euro shot up on the US confidence data to 0.9064
Developing countries warn of WTO failure at Doha
Developing countries voiced dissatisfaction on Wednesday and
warned that the WTO could be heading for a repeat performance of the Seattle
failure, as delegates met to formally send a draft agenda for a new trade round
to next week's Doha talks.
With nine days to go before ministers of the World Trade
Organisation open talks in the Gulf state of Qatar that aim to launch a new
series of trade liberalisation negotiations, an official from a developing
country warned "the situation is critical".
US economy shrinks
Output from US factories has fallen in recent months US
President George W Bush has urged Congress to take swift action on measures to
revive the country's economy, after data revealed output had shrunk for the
first time in eight years.
US economic output, or GDP, fell by 0.4% in the three months
from July to September, the Commerce Department said.
The statistics are being viewed as the first official
indication that recession is on the way for the world's largest economy, after a
record spell of economic expansion.
Tesco to expand organic food market
Tesco says customers want more organic produce. The UK's
largest supermarket chain has announced it is to expand its market for organic
food to £1bn within five years.
Tesco said it was already the country's largest organic
retailer — selling £200m worth of produce a year — but customers wanted
And the supermarket chain called on British farmers to grow
more organic produce so demand need not continue to be mostly met by imports.
UK shoppers hit by nerves
The High Street could soon become less crowded. Consumer
confidence in the UK has slumped to its lowest level since last year's crippling
fuel crisis, according to a new survey.
The robust nature of British shoppers has been one of the key
props holding up the UK economy.
But since the terror attacks in the United States, that prop
has begun to show clear signs of weakening.
This signals tougher times ahead for the British retail
sector, which has so far managed to avoid the gloom surrounding the
manufacturing and service sectors.
French jobless rate still rising
Analysts say unemployment has not yet spiked. The rate of
unemployment in France rose in September for the fourth month in a row.
Analysts expect the jobless rate to continue rising at a
The data suggested that unemployment was not in a "stabilisation
phase" as the government had thought in August, the Labour Ministry's
Elisabeth Guigou said in an interview with French radio.
South Africa installs new privatisation boss
Poor market conditions have delayed the telecom sell-off.
South Africa has appointed a new privatisation chief after the finance minister
announced a delay on Tuesday to the flagship sale of state-owned phone company Telkom.
Malixole Gantsho takes up his position as Head of
Restructuring at the Department of Public Enterprise (DPE) on Thursday.
His predecessor Leslie Maasdrop is leaving the post five
months before his contract expires but will continue in an "advisory"
"The two events are not related," a DPE spokesman
told BBC News Online.
US-Africa business summit opens
Delegates from more than 30 African countries have gathered
in the American city of Philadelphia for a business summit aimed at increasing
trade and investment between the United States and Africa.
The meeting brings together leading business and political
figures including the presidents of Algeria and the Democratic Republic of
The US-Africa business summit boasts a high powered and wide
ranging guest list of well over 1,000 business executives and politicians.
It would have been even more impressive were it not for the
fact that the conference, originally scheduled for last month, had to be
postponed because of the attacks on New York and Washington.