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taiwan

Taiwan's Credit Rating Cut to Negative


Taiwan's long-term credit rating outlook was cut to negative from stable by Standard & Poor's Ratings Services, which cited concern about the island's government debt burden and banking system.

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south_korea

Bank of Korea May Keep Interest Rate Unchanged at Record-Low 2%


The Bank of Korea may keep its benchmark interest rate unchanged for a second month as Governor Lee Seong Tae seeks signs that record-low borrowing costs and government stimulus are reviving the contracting economy. The central bank will leave the seven-day repurchase rate at 2 percent in Seoul today, according to nine of 11 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News. Two expect a quarter-point cut.

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japan

Venezuela and Japan Bolster Oil Ties


Hoping to improve Venezuela's economic outlook on the oil front, South America's largest petroleum producer is bolstering ties with Japan to the tune of a $4 billion joint investment fund, solely bankrolled by Tokyo.

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australia

Australian Airlines Addresses $66 Million Shortfall


National Australian airline Qantas has committed $66 million to cover a shortfall caused by the current economic crisis. The injection of funds will be spread over three years in order to reflect "the adverse performance of financial markets over recent months". Previously, there were concerns that Quantas could be forced to inject an estimated $283 million to fix shortfalls caused by investment losses. Merrill Lynch recently estimated that the investment losses have cost Quantas' pensions plan $394 million since last June, turning a $296 million surplus into a a $98 million deficit.

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china

China's Textile Exports Continue to Weaken


Textile exports in China continue to weaken in 2009 and there are no signs for a turnaround in the near future. China has increased tax rebates in order to stimulate the industry, but no immediate market reaction has been seen. Certain textile and apparel products have received an increase in tax rebates from 15 percent to 16 percent. This is the fourth time the government has raised the rebate rate since last August. However, amid the financial crisis, the rebate is likely to have little effect as demand from foreign countries has decreased dramatically. Orders from US and European markets, which used to contribute up to 40 percent of the companies business, has declined to account for only 20 percent.

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russia

Russian GDP Shrinks 7 Percent


The Russian economy shrank by 7 percent in the first quarter according to Deputy Economic Development Minister Andrei Klepach. "These figures are worse than we expected," Klepach said. The government has predicted that the economy will shrink by 2.2 percent in 2009 and are still holding on to that prediction after the release of the first quarter numbers. The 2.2 percent forecast takes into account multiple stimulus packages that are currently being debated to help improve domestic demand. Without the stimulus packages, Klepach said the economy could contract by 4 to 5 percent.

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russia

Russia: Gas Output Dropped Sharply in March


Gazprom's March gas production slumped by one-quarter from a year ago as demand shriveled in Europe and at home and buyers delayed purchases in hopes that prices would fall. Energy Ministry data showed Thursday that the gas export monopoly's output last month was 1.24 billion cubic meters per day, down 12 percent from 1.41 bcm per day in February 2009 and 24 percent down from 1.63 bcm per day in March 2008. "Such low production levels have been unseen over the past decade, even during summer months, when Gazprom puts some wells on planned maintenance," he said.

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china

Marketers Bullish on China's Recovery


Top marketers based in China believe that the country's economy will recover more quickly than the West, and is likely to turn around by 2010, according to a survey conducted by market research firm Millward Brown-ACSR and communications agency Hill & Knowlton. The survey of 59 chief marketing officers and senior marketing directors (85 percent of whom are from multinationals) indicated that cautious optimism exists in marketing departments, with 75 percent of correspondents believing the economy would return to a booming state next year, as Chinese consumers had been less affected than those in the West. Senior management expressed more confidence (81 percent) than other levels (71 percent) about the country's economic recovery by 2010.

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russia

Russian Food Retailer to Expand Aggressively


Regional food retailer Magnit reported better-than-expected 2008 results for net income and revenue on Wednesday, and it pledged to carry its aggressive expansion plan into 2009. CEO Sergei Galitsky said in a statement that Magnit opened 385 new stores in 2008, bringing its total to 2,579 at the end of the year. The Krasnodar-based discounter said the openings helped it boost profits 93 percent under international financial reporting standards. Magnit, Russia's second-largest grocer after X5 Retail Group, plans to invest 5.6 billion rubles ($165 million) to open 300 stores this year as well as six to nine hypermarkets, Galitsky said later in a conference call.

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japan

Japanese Bond Yields Rise to Highest Levels Since December


Prices of Japanese 10-year bonds fell today to the lowest levels in over a month on speculation on stock gains at an auction of government debt. The auction led to the sale of $19.3 billion worth of debt, although bids went for more than 2.33 times the initial price. The dropping price led to yields increasing from 1.3 percent to 1.37 percent, their highest levels since December.

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india

New Delhi Adopts New Energy Strategy


On March 28th, thousands of cities and communities participated in one of the largest annual global efforts to fight global warming. The event known as "Earth Hour" urged everyone to shut off their lights for one hour in order to create more awareness about how much energy people waste. Although cities from around the world participate in this event once a year, New Delhi has decided to take a more pro-active approach and implement "Earth Hour" on the last working day of every month. Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit commented by saying "It is an important concept and we will get support from the people of Delhi just as we did for the global campaign".

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india

India February Exports Down 21.7%


Amidst a declining global economy, India's exports as well as imports are continuing to decline. While India isn't as dependent on external trade as its regional peers, the malaise in the global economy, coupled with the weakening domestic demand and slowing capital inflows, has dealt a blow to Asia's third-largest economy.

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