Asia

Hellas Telecommunications II, parent of Greece's Wind Hellas, said it had begun talks to seek support from shareholder Weather Investments as it expects to run short of cash and is considering restructuring alternatives. Weather Investments is an Italian holding company majority-owned by Egyptian tycoon Naguib Sawiris, with mobile, fixed, Internet and international communication operations in Algeria, Bangladesh, Egypt, Greece, Italy, Pakistan and Tunisia.
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Japan is on the verge of a reluctant revolution, The Wall Street Journal reported. On Sunday, voters here are poised to remove the country's ruling party from power after 54 years of nearly continuous rule. Polls show voters in Sunday's election heavily favor the Democratic Party of Japan, an 11-year-old collection of market reformers, union leaders and consumer activists that has never held full political power.
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Bankruptcy petitions in Hong Kong surged 36 percent in July from the same month a year ago, but the jump was lower than an 89 percent year-on-year rise in June as the economy picked up, government data showed on Friday. The territory recorded 1,475 bankruptcy petitions last month, down 9 percent from 1,619 in June and compared to 1,081 in July 2008, Reuters reported. Read more.
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Yu Yongding, the Chinese economist whose calls for liberalizing the yuan heralded its 21 percent gain since 2005, said the government should reduce sales aimed at keeping the currency weak so it can someday float freely, Bloomberg reported. “The People’s Bank of China should try to reduce intervention on the exchange rate as much as possible,” Yu, a member of the central bank’s monetary policy committee from 2004 to 2006, said in an interview.
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A new article published in the latest overseas edition of China's Communist Party flagship newspaper addresses an issue of growing urgency in global financial markets: how to best manage the world's largest pile of foreign reserves, The Australian reported. With more than $US2 trillion in stock, China faces a number of challenges as it seeks to diversify its foreign reserves without hurting the value of its massive US dollar assets, including Treasuries. The commentary highlighted two major problems.
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World stock markets have fallen despite Japan becoming the latest country to officially come out of recession, the BBC reported. Analysts say that investors are worried that they may have been too quick to predict an economic rebound during recent rallies. Leading Wall Street markets fell about 2% lower after similar losses in the UK, mainland Europe and bigger drops in Asian markets. "There is now a realisation that coming out of a recession is one thing, but building a recovery is another," said Justin Urquhart Stewart, director at Seven Investment Management.
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As central bankers keep pumping huge sums into the global financial system, they are also pumping up one of the riskier investment strategies in the currency market, The Wall Street Journal reported. Known as the "carry trade," the strategy involves borrowing money in countries such as Japan where interest rates are low, then investing it where rates are higher and pocketing the difference. After flourishing during the boom years, the trade all but disappeared as big currency swings led to heavy losses amid the financial crisis.
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The author of an editorial linking Rio Tinto Group’s actions in China to 700 billion yuan ($102 billion) in excess charges for the steel industry said the article was his own opinion and used previously published data, Bloomberg reported. Jiang Ruqin, an employee with the Jiangsu Province Administration for the Protection of State Secrets, said he has no involvement in a legal case against four Rio employees detained last month, and that no “leaders” assigned him to write the essay or reviewed the piece before publication.
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Creditors filed for the liquidation of the troubled Ssangyong Motor with the Seoul Central District Court, Wednesday, a desperate move to put pressure on occupiers of a building at the company's plant amid growing fears that the occupation will soon threaten the survival of not only the automaker but also its suppliers, The Korea Times reported. Choi Myung-hoon, the spokesman for the creditors, said, "With the standoff continuing, more than 1,900 part suppliers are exposed to bankruptcy.
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Qantas Airways Ltd. Chief Executive Alan Joyce said he doesn't expect Australia's national carrier to merge with another airline for at least a decade, The Wall Street Journal reported. Mr. Joyce also predicted that at least one competitor will drop out of the cramped Pacific route between Australia and the U.S, and confirmed that Qantas has suspended plans to list its frequent flyer business indefinitely. Merger talks between Qantas and British Airways PLC. fell through last year and Qantas has also held merger discussions with Singapore Airlines Ltd.
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