"We should further enhance and expand the
achievements of macro-control to guard against a rebound of those
problems," said Zheng Jingping, a spokesman for the National
China has been devouring commodities such as oil with
a seemingly unquenchable thirst that has helped push the price of crude
to record levels.
Even though economists agree that the country's
expansion needs to slow to ensure that it is sustainable, there are
concerns that any dip in demand may have negative effects on corporate
profits and growth worldwide.
Analysts said that China will be heartened by
Friday's data, which showed urban fixed-asset investment, a key
It rose by 28% in the third quarter, less than the
30% increase seen in the previous six months.
Separate figures showed that consumer price growth
slowed by more than expected in September. The annual rate of inflation
was 5.2% last month, compared with a forecast of 5.3%.
"The modest slowdown in fixed-asset investment
and the pronounced slowdown in inflation are what the authorities want
to see," said Tim Condon of ING in Singapore.
NEW EU MEMBERS FACE TOUGH EURO TEST
The European Union's ten newest members will have to
make more of an effort to get their economies into shape if they plan to
join Europe's single currency this decade.
So says the European Central Bank (ECB) in a report
Its views are supported by a separate report from the
European Commission which said that Poland and Hungary have failed all
five of the economic tests they need to pass to join the euro.
The ten mostly former Communist states joined the
European Union (EU) earlier this year, and set themselves ambitious
targets to join the single currency in the process.
All of them want to adopt the euro either before or
But current report by both the Commission and the ECB
have poured cold water on the hopes of six of the newcomers: Poland,
Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Cyprus and Malta.
Brussels and the ECB said the six still had a long
way to go to meet the economic criteria for euro entry. They needed to
demonstrate lasting progress in reining in government spending and debt
Joaquin Almunia, the Monetary Affairs Commissioner,
said all ten countries had put in huge efforts to satisfy the criteria
for EU membership.
But that sort of commitment shouldn't slacken now:
"Progress with fiscal consolidation has
generally been too slow and a majority of countries have yet to achieve
a situation which, in a broader view, might be judged as sustainable in
the medium term," Mr Almunia said.
Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania fared better according
to the Commission. Along with Slovenia, they're on the fast track to
JAPAN EXPORTS HIT RECORD LEVELS
Exports from Japan hit their highest level for more
than 50 years last month, but high oil prices could still spell economic
slowdown, analysts said.
Japan's exports rose 12.5% on 2003 to 5.46 trillion
yen ($50.6bn; £27.9bn), a high since records began in 1947.
But an oil-fuelled rise in imports meant the boost to
the trade surplus was smaller than expected.
Japan's economy minister said this week that oil
prices were the biggest threat to economic growth.
Although the September exports figure showed strong
growth over the same month in the previous year, it was down slightly on
August when seasonally adjusted.
The same pattern could be found in the trade surplus,
the amount by which exports exceed imports.
September produced a surplus of 1.24 trillion yen, up
12.7% in comparison with 2003.
But that figure was 21.8% lower than August's
GREENSPAN PLAYS DOWN OIL BURDEN
Soaring oil costs do not yet present a serious threat
to the US economy, says Federal Reserve chief Alan Greenspan.
The veteran central banker's attempt to calm nerves
about energy prices came as crude oil futures set a new record of $55 a
barrel in New York.
But Mr Greenspan noted that after the 1979 Iranian
revolution, oil leapt to $80 a barrel in today's money.
The effect of 2004's 70% surge are "likely to
prove far less consequential", Mr Greenspan said.
But, he warned, further rises could pose a
significant risk, in terms of both growth and inflation.
ECONOMIC GROWTH 'WILL CONTINUE'
Growth in the Scottish economy will continue its
upward trend into next year, according to a report.
The forecast comes in the Bank of Scotland's
corporate index of leading economic indicators.
It suggests that the rising trend which began in the
first quarter of this year would continue into early 2005.
Growth was set to peak, however, in the middle of
next year, before moderating in the second half towards a more average
The index showed that the effect of tighter monetary
policy was starting to have a dampening effect, with a slowdown in
economic expansion expected around the start of the third quarter.
But the bank said higher interest rates were likely
to affect Scotland less than the wider UK economy, with the country's
solid industrial base supporting economic expansion during the coming
year, as the rising cost of borrowing subdues the boom in public
GERMAN BANKS TO REPAY STATE AID
The European Commission has ordered seven
publicly-owned German banks to repay 3bn euros ($3.7bn; £2.0bn) in
illegal state aid.
EU Competition Commissioner Mario Monti said the
decision would "end a long and painful dispute between private and
public banks in Germany".
The dispute began in the early 1990s, when German
regional governments gave the public banks cheap loans.
The settlement follows talks between Mr Monti and the
The seven banks got the cheap loans in order to help
them top up their reserves to comply with new laws on capital adequacy
Interest rates on the loans were less than 1%, while
market rates were between 6% and 7% at the time.
GOOGLE EARNINGS SURGE
The world's most popular internet search engine,
Google, has seen profits and sales more than double in the third quarter
on strong advertising demand.
In its first earnings report since floating on the
stock market, the firm said net profit was $52m (£28.4m) in the three
months ending 30 September.
BANK 'LOOKS TO BLOCK GLAZER BID'
Nomura, the Japanese bank, is involved in a plan to
block any bid for Manchester United by Malcolm Glazer, according to the
The paper has claimed that Nomura has been approached
by Keith Harris, former chairman of the Football League and Utd fan, to
try to raise £200m ($366m).
DHL SCRAPS BRUSSELS GROWTH PLAN
Courier firm DHL is ditching plans to site its
international hub in Brussels at a likely cost of 1,700 jobs by 2008.
Negotiations with local and federal authorities over
increasing the number of night flights have failed, the firm told BBC
Many of the firm's 3,000 staff at Zaventem airport
walked out in protest when told the news.
MICROSOFT SEES PROFITS CLIMB 11%
Microsoft, the world's largest maker of computer
software, has reported an 11% rise in first quarter profit driven by
sales of home and business products.
Profit was $2.9bn (£1.6bn) in the three months
ending 30 September, from $2.6bn a year earlier. Sales rose to $9.2bn.
NEW PHONES BOOST FOR MOTOROLA
Mobile handset maker Motorola has unveiled a fourfold
increase in quarterly profits, crediting strong demand for its new-look
Earnings for the three months to September were $479m
(£268m), up from $116m a year earlier, the firm said.
UNION EXPECTS WINTER POWER CRISIS
Britain faces winters of blackouts and energy price
hikes because of a looming crisis in generating capacity, a power and
engineering industry union warns.
Amicus says Britain risks becoming dependent on
foreign gas imports from unstable countries.
It says the government must invest more in coal,
renewable and nuclear energy if it is to maintain power supplies.
OIL WEALTH 'CAN CAUSE CORRUPTION'
Oil wealth is often a breeding ground for corruption,
according to the latest survey by anti-corruption campaign group
Transparency International (TI).
The report estimates that billions of dollars are
lost to bribery in public purchasing, citing the oil sector in many
nations as a particular problem.
Bangladesh, Haiti, Nigeria, Burma, Azerbaijan,
Paraguay and Chad were seen to be the most corrupt, said TI.
Finland, New Zealand, Denmark and Iceland were deemed
the least corrupt.
UK GAS PRICES 'PUSHED UP BY OIL'
Gas prices in the UK are likely to remain high for at
least the next three years, a report has predicted.
The study blamed the knock-on effect of the current
record high oil prices and supply shortages, which planned new import
pipelines should ease.
Commissioned by trade body UK Offshore Operators
Association (UKOOA), it found no evidence that suppliers were
restricting production to lift prices.
But a consumer watchdog said the report just sought
to justify high prices.
eBAY PROFITS SURGE
Profits have continued to surge at eBay, the online
marketplace, thanks to growing international sales and the success of
online payment unit Paypal.
eBay recorded a 77% rise in third quarter profits to
$182.3m as sales increased 51% to $805.9m.
CHINA OKAYS FIRST PRIVATE AIRLINE
China is to launch its first private airline —
named Okay Airways — by the end of the year, according to state media
Okay will concentrate on domestic air cargo and
charter flights within China, the Xinhua news agency said.
Demand for air travel in China is expanding fast as
the middle classes take more business trips and holidays.
STEEL COSTS HIT ELECTROLUX PROFIT
Electrolux, the world's largest maker of consumer
electronics, has said third-quarter profits have been hit by higher raw
Pre-tax profits in the three months through September
fell 27% to 944m Swedish kronor (£72m; $131m) from a year earlier, it
said last week.
US INSURERS HIT BY PROBE THREAT
US health insurance stocks were hit last week amid
concerns that New York attorney general Elliot Spitzer will widen a
probe into price rigging.
The insurance industry reeled when Mr Spitzer sued
Marsh & McLennan, the world's largest insurance broker.
He alleged that it got illegal payments for steering
clients to selected firms.
INDIA'S WIPRO SEES PROFITS SURGE
Wipro, India's number-three software exporter, has
reported a 65% jump in profits, driven by European demand and a rise in
outsourcing by telecom firms.
Profits totalled 3.8bn rupees ($46m) in the second
quarter from 2.3bn a year earlier, higher than market estimates.
CHINA PRESSURES PUTIN ON PIPELINE
Russian President Vladimir Putin is continuing his
China visit amid growing frustration by his hosts over failure to agree
to a contentious new pipeline.
Mr Putin is in the ancient city of Xian after Beijing
talks with Chinese leaders including President Hu Jintao.
The two heads of state signed several agreements last
week, including a demarcation of borders which resolves 40 years of
But there was no pipeline deal, which China needs to
improve energy supplies.
China and Japan have been pursuing rival plans to
build pipelines to exploit oil from Siberia.
US RETAIL SALES ARE BOUNCING BACK
US retail sales have risen by more than expected in
September, easing concerns that US growth is in danger of slowing.
Commerce Department figures showed sales up 1.5% from
August and 7.7% from a year earlier, with car sales rising faster than
in nearly three years.
But consumer sentiment figures soured the mood as the
University of Michigan index slid to 87.5, far below forecasts and
indicating possible trouble ahead.
Industrial output of 0.1% in September also fell
short of expectations.
YUKOS UNIT MAY BE SOLD FOR $4BN
Yukos' future has been thrown into fresh doubt amid
reports that Russia is planning to sell 77% of its key oil production
unit by the end of November.
Adding to the concern is a local media report that
Yuganskneftegas, which accounts for 60% of Yukos' oil output, may be
sold for $4bn (£2.2bn).
Yukos is facing an $8bn bill for unpaid taxes and
fines and investors now fear the complete break-up of the company.