The Jakarta Globe RSS: Business http://www.thejakartaglobe.com 2013 The Jakarta Globe Your City, Your World Sun, 21 Dec 2014 02:31:55 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/images/jakarta-globe.gif http://www.thejakartaglobe.com China Offers $3 Billion in Aid and Loans to Neighbors: Xinhua http://thejakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/?p=359498 Sat, 20 Dec 2014 20:21:10 +0700 Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said the offer included $1 billion for infrastructure, $490 million for poverty alleviation and $1.6 billion in special loans for China's production capacity export, Xinhua news agency said.

During a speech to the fifth summit of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Economic Cooperation in Bangkok, Li also pledged $16.4 million to dredge waterways along the Mekong River to prevent natural disasters.

"These are important parts of our efforts to upgrade China-ASEAN cooperation ... we are ready to work with the five countries to build a new framework to deepen cooperation and bring the GMS comprehensive partnership to a new level," Li said.

He said China planned to export high-level production capacity in electricity, telecommunications, steel and cement to its neighbors on regional transportation routes, Xinhua reported.

Li is in Thailand attending a two-day summit of leaders of Mekong River region countries, the biggest international gathering in Thailand since its military seized power.

China will finance projects by offering special loans, currency swaps in cross-border transactions and by allowing a role for private enterprises, Li said.

On Friday, China said it would build an 867-km rail network in Thailand and buy two million tonnes of its rice..

Li offered $20 billion in loans for Southeast Asia during a regional meeting in Myanmar last month. It is not clear if the money announced in Bangkok was part of that figure or represented new funds.

More than $120 billion has been promised by China since May to Africa, Southeast Asia and Central Asia as Beijing tries to present a softer, more cooperative side to the world following months of tension over territorial issues and other problems.

"We'll create new levels of industrial cooperation. China has become the most important trade partner in the sub region and our investment will increase. . . We have every reason to draw on each others' strengths," Li added.

China has set nerves of edge in Southeast Asia with its claims to the South China Sea, which have rankled Vietnam and the Philippines in particular.

Southeast Asia has also emerged as a new area of strategic competition between China and the United States, and China has been keen to present a softer side to the region, partly though offering massive new funding for infrastructure projects.

Reuters

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Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said the offer included $1 billion for infrastructure, $490 million for poverty alleviation and $1.6 billion in special loans for China's production capacity export, Xinhua news agency said.

During a speech to the fifth summit of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Economic Cooperation in Bangkok, Li also pledged $16.4 million to dredge waterways along the Mekong River to prevent natural disasters.

"These are important parts of our efforts to upgrade China-ASEAN cooperation ... we are ready to work with the five countries to build a new framework to deepen cooperation and bring the GMS comprehensive partnership to a new level," Li said.

He said China planned to export high-level production capacity in electricity, telecommunications, steel and cement to its neighbors on regional transportation routes, Xinhua reported.

Li is in Thailand attending a two-day summit of leaders of Mekong River region countries, the biggest international gathering in Thailand since its military seized power.

China will finance projects by offering special loans, currency swaps in cross-border transactions and by allowing a role for private enterprises, Li said.

On Friday, China said it would build an 867-km rail network in Thailand and buy two million tonnes of its rice..

Li offered $20 billion in loans for Southeast Asia during a regional meeting in Myanmar last month. It is not clear if the money announced in Bangkok was part of that figure or represented new funds.

More than $120 billion has been promised by China since May to Africa, Southeast Asia and Central Asia as Beijing tries to present a softer, more cooperative side to the world following months of tension over territorial issues and other problems.

"We'll create new levels of industrial cooperation. China has become the most important trade partner in the sub region and our investment will increase. . . We have every reason to draw on each others' strengths," Li added.

China has set nerves of edge in Southeast Asia with its claims to the South China Sea, which have rankled Vietnam and the Philippines in particular.

Southeast Asia has also emerged as a new area of strategic competition between China and the United States, and China has been keen to present a softer side to the region, partly though offering massive new funding for infrastructure projects.

Reuters

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http://thejakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/?p=359498
Jokowi’s Pledge to Take on Oil Mafia Seen Halting Bond Slump http://thejakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/?p=359427 Fri, 19 Dec 2014 22:45:02 +0700 Bloomberg]]> Bloomberg]]> http://thejakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/?p=359427 HK Billionaire Brothers at Heart of Graft Trial http://thejakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/?p=359422 Fri, 19 Dec 2014 22:46:13 +0700 Hong Kong. Thomas and Raymond Kwok, billionaire brothers and prominent Christians, count among Asia’s wealthiest tycoons and run a property empire that dominates the city’s landscape. The siblings, collectively worth $14.45 billion according to Forbes magazine, run Sun Hung Kai — Hong Kong’s biggest property developer which owns some of the city’s most recognizable real estate. But the business, which has already been dented by family infighting, has been rocked by their arrest in 2012 in a stunning swoop by graft investigators which led to a trial that ran for more than seven months. Friday’s verdict, which saw 63-year-old Thomas found guilty of corruption but Raymond, 61, cleared of all charges, has left questions over the next step for the family empire. The marathon trial centered around claims the brothers had bribed former chief secretary Rafael Hui to be their “eyes and ears” in the government. Hui and the elder Kwok were convicted over a HK$8.5 million ($1.1 million) payment which Hui began receiving in the months before his 2005 appointment to the government’s second-highest post. The brothers looked relaxed before their regular court appearances, often posing for photographers in neat suits and well-coiffed hair. Both devout Christians, they called on their faith to vehemently deny the charges laid against them. Thomas said he would draw on his Christian beliefs to fight the case, quoting from the Bible as he said “light will shine in the darkness.” Raymond, who is also the chairman of major telecommunications firm SmarTone, was seen taking rigorous notes during court hearings, which started in May. The pair inherited the firm from their father Kwok Tak-seng in 1990, after the death of the patriarch who made his fortune in the grocery business and the garment industry before branching out into real estate. But while Sun Hung Kai remains the city’s top property developer by market capitalization, the road has been far from smooth. Older brother Walter was also made joint chairman as part of their father’s legacy, but was ousted in a boardroom coup in 2008. He had been the victim of a kidnapping for ransom in the previous decade, an ordeal whose effects were cited during the internal turmoil. Educated at Harvard and Cambridge, Thomas and Raymond are jointly rated 64 on Forbes’ list of the world’s billionaires. But while they are heavyweights in Hong Kong’s business community, the siblings also strike a note of eccentricity at times. As the trial reached a head last month Thomas Kwok headed to the Noah’s Ark theme park that he helped found in the west of Hong Kong, on Ma Wan island. The park includes a hotel in a giant wooden ark and a computerized reconstruction of the biblical “great flood.” One of Sun Hung Kai’s best-known pieces of real estate in Hong Kong — the Central Plaza tower — houses the world’s highest church, where Thomas reportedly drops in for services. Share values in the company have taken a hit over the years, particularly after the boardroom drama and arrests, and investors were braced for the impact of the trial result. Sun Hung Kai has been consistently trading below its main rival Cheung Kong since the scandal erupted, and financial analyst Francis Lun said it was time for the brothers to hand over the reins. “If they step down from the company, it’s a new start and it would be better for the company,” Lun said. Their resignation would not spell the end of the dynasty as the next generation of Kwoks are already in management positions and the company’s trust guarantees the family will retain control, he added. “They actually have the third generation in management positions already. They are just waiting to bring them up the corporate ladder,” he said. “The way the old Kwok set up his trust, he wanted his family to stay as one unit so that they could perpetuate the control of Sun Hung Kai.” Agence France-Presse]]> Hong Kong. Thomas and Raymond Kwok, billionaire brothers and prominent Christians, count among Asia’s wealthiest tycoons and run a property empire that dominates the city’s landscape. The siblings, collectively worth $14.45 billion according to Forbes magazine, run Sun Hung Kai — Hong Kong’s biggest property developer which owns some of the city’s most recognizable real estate. But the business, which has already been dented by family infighting, has been rocked by their arrest in 2012 in a stunning swoop by graft investigators which led to a trial that ran for more than seven months. Friday’s verdict, which saw 63-year-old Thomas found guilty of corruption but Raymond, 61, cleared of all charges, has left questions over the next step for the family empire. The marathon trial centered around claims the brothers had bribed former chief secretary Rafael Hui to be their “eyes and ears” in the government. Hui and the elder Kwok were convicted over a HK$8.5 million ($1.1 million) payment which Hui began receiving in the months before his 2005 appointment to the government’s second-highest post. The brothers looked relaxed before their regular court appearances, often posing for photographers in neat suits and well-coiffed hair. Both devout Christians, they called on their faith to vehemently deny the charges laid against them. Thomas said he would draw on his Christian beliefs to fight the case, quoting from the Bible as he said “light will shine in the darkness.” Raymond, who is also the chairman of major telecommunications firm SmarTone, was seen taking rigorous notes during court hearings, which started in May. The pair inherited the firm from their father Kwok Tak-seng in 1990, after the death of the patriarch who made his fortune in the grocery business and the garment industry before branching out into real estate. But while Sun Hung Kai remains the city’s top property developer by market capitalization, the road has been far from smooth. Older brother Walter was also made joint chairman as part of their father’s legacy, but was ousted in a boardroom coup in 2008. He had been the victim of a kidnapping for ransom in the previous decade, an ordeal whose effects were cited during the internal turmoil. Educated at Harvard and Cambridge, Thomas and Raymond are jointly rated 64 on Forbes’ list of the world’s billionaires. But while they are heavyweights in Hong Kong’s business community, the siblings also strike a note of eccentricity at times. As the trial reached a head last month Thomas Kwok headed to the Noah’s Ark theme park that he helped found in the west of Hong Kong, on Ma Wan island. The park includes a hotel in a giant wooden ark and a computerized reconstruction of the biblical “great flood.” One of Sun Hung Kai’s best-known pieces of real estate in Hong Kong — the Central Plaza tower — houses the world’s highest church, where Thomas reportedly drops in for services. Share values in the company have taken a hit over the years, particularly after the boardroom drama and arrests, and investors were braced for the impact of the trial result. Sun Hung Kai has been consistently trading below its main rival Cheung Kong since the scandal erupted, and financial analyst Francis Lun said it was time for the brothers to hand over the reins. “If they step down from the company, it’s a new start and it would be better for the company,” Lun said. Their resignation would not spell the end of the dynasty as the next generation of Kwoks are already in management positions and the company’s trust guarantees the family will retain control, he added. “They actually have the third generation in management positions already. They are just waiting to bring them up the corporate ladder,” he said. “The way the old Kwok set up his trust, he wanted his family to stay as one unit so that they could perpetuate the control of Sun Hung Kai.” Agence France-Presse]]> http://thejakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/?p=359422 Nigeria Toughens Currency Trading Curbs to Halt Naira Fall http://thejakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/?p=359371 Fri, 19 Dec 2014 21:00:11 +0700 Lagos. Nigeria's central bank on Friday announced new measures to curb currency speculation as part of an effort to defend the naira which has been hit hard by the collapse in global oil prices. The move comes after a currency devaluation and a cut in the 2015 growth forecast and less than two months before general elections, with President Goodluck Jonathan trying to assure voters that Nigeria's financial future remains healthy. Customers who purchase foreign currency through the interbank market or an authorized trader must use the funds within 48-hours, said a statement issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). "Failing [this], such funds must be returned to the CBN for re-purchase at the Bank's buying rate," it said, warning that sanctions would be imposed on those who fail to comply. The measure targets speculators who seek profit by buying up foreign currency in hopes that the naira will continue to fall. Nigeria, Africa's largest oil producer, depends on crude exports for 70 percent of government revenue and some 90 percent of its foreign exchange earnings. The government has said that plummeting crude prices have put huge strains on revenue and have announced a series of measures to respond to the crisis. Last month the CBN devalued the naira by eight percent to a new target rate of 168 naira to the dollar. But the currency's street value was much weaker than that, with a dollar fetching more than 180 nairas. Jonathan warned Tuesday that Nigeria could be forced to cut further the amount of oil revenue it uses for government spending if the global crude price continued to plummet. Abuja sets a so-called benchmark oil price, which has been slashed to $65 from $78 earlier this year. Revenue from oil exports up to that price go into general government spending. Crude prices have halved since June. US benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for January delivery was trading at $54.84 on Friday, while deals for Brent crude for February were done at $59.59. Bad news with election looming Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala this week slashed the government's 2015 growth forecast to 5.5 percent from 6.35 percent. Anticipated government spending in 2014 of 4.6 trillion naira ($24 billion) will also slide to 4.3 trillion naira next year, she said. But experts say that belt-tightening in an election year could cause massive headaches for the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The governments of all 36 Nigerian states last month asked for an addition $2 billion in federal money, saying their allocations had dwindled because of the revenue crunch and they were struggling to pay salaries and meet other commitments. Analysts say the PDP has a long track record of using public money to fund its campaigns and the weak federal purse could prove a boon to the opposition. Jonathan's record on national security has deteriorated each week as his repeated assurances of victory over Boko Haram insurgents have all proved hollow. The PDP had hoped that economic growth and stability could prove attractive to voters, especially since Jonathan's opponent, ex-military dictator Muhammadu Buhari, has questionable economic credentials. Agence France-Presse]]> Lagos. Nigeria's central bank on Friday announced new measures to curb currency speculation as part of an effort to defend the naira which has been hit hard by the collapse in global oil prices. The move comes after a currency devaluation and a cut in the 2015 growth forecast and less than two months before general elections, with President Goodluck Jonathan trying to assure voters that Nigeria's financial future remains healthy. Customers who purchase foreign currency through the interbank market or an authorized trader must use the funds within 48-hours, said a statement issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). "Failing [this], such funds must be returned to the CBN for re-purchase at the Bank's buying rate," it said, warning that sanctions would be imposed on those who fail to comply. The measure targets speculators who seek profit by buying up foreign currency in hopes that the naira will continue to fall. Nigeria, Africa's largest oil producer, depends on crude exports for 70 percent of government revenue and some 90 percent of its foreign exchange earnings. The government has said that plummeting crude prices have put huge strains on revenue and have announced a series of measures to respond to the crisis. Last month the CBN devalued the naira by eight percent to a new target rate of 168 naira to the dollar. But the currency's street value was much weaker than that, with a dollar fetching more than 180 nairas. Jonathan warned Tuesday that Nigeria could be forced to cut further the amount of oil revenue it uses for government spending if the global crude price continued to plummet. Abuja sets a so-called benchmark oil price, which has been slashed to $65 from $78 earlier this year. Revenue from oil exports up to that price go into general government spending. Crude prices have halved since June. US benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for January delivery was trading at $54.84 on Friday, while deals for Brent crude for February were done at $59.59. Bad news with election looming Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala this week slashed the government's 2015 growth forecast to 5.5 percent from 6.35 percent. Anticipated government spending in 2014 of 4.6 trillion naira ($24 billion) will also slide to 4.3 trillion naira next year, she said. But experts say that belt-tightening in an election year could cause massive headaches for the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The governments of all 36 Nigerian states last month asked for an addition $2 billion in federal money, saying their allocations had dwindled because of the revenue crunch and they were struggling to pay salaries and meet other commitments. Analysts say the PDP has a long track record of using public money to fund its campaigns and the weak federal purse could prove a boon to the opposition. Jonathan's record on national security has deteriorated each week as his repeated assurances of victory over Boko Haram insurgents have all proved hollow. The PDP had hoped that economic growth and stability could prove attractive to voters, especially since Jonathan's opponent, ex-military dictator Muhammadu Buhari, has questionable economic credentials. Agence France-Presse]]> http://thejakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/?p=359371 Rupiah to Play Pivotal Role in 'Adjustment Tariff' on Electricity in 2015 http://thejakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/?p=359286 Fri, 19 Dec 2014 20:26:06 +0700  Jakarta. The Indonesian government plans to impose an "adjustment tariff" for electricity in January next year, in an effort to eliminate the subsidy for middle to upper-income classes and medium to large-scale businesses, a top official at the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry said on Friday. The adjustment tariff would take into account the rupiah exchange rate, the Indonesian crude oil price (ICP) and inflation, resulting in a variable electricity price set to customers, as opposed to fixed prices that are being pay today. "From those three components, the rupiah exchange rate against the US dollar makes up 75 percent of the electricity tariff adjustment, while ICP is 20 percent and inflation is 5 percent. So if the ICP falls but the rupiah increases, that means the electricity rate will also have an increase," said Jarman, director general of electricity at the ministry. Jarman said that starting next year the electricity subsidy will only be provided for customers using 450 to 900 watts of capacity and for small-scale industries. The government has raised the electricity tariff to the middle to upper-class customers by 34 percent so far this year, in a move to help reduce expenses for the state budget. "If energy is not cheap, then people would be economical in their electricity usage," Jarman  said. The rupiah this week has tumbled against the US dollar to its lowest since 1998, while crude oil prices in the international markets are at their lowest in five years. For this year, the rupiah has lost 2.6 percent against the dollar, while the ICP has fallen 21 percent.  ]]>  Jakarta. The Indonesian government plans to impose an "adjustment tariff" for electricity in January next year, in an effort to eliminate the subsidy for middle to upper-income classes and medium to large-scale businesses, a top official at the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry said on Friday. The adjustment tariff would take into account the rupiah exchange rate, the Indonesian crude oil price (ICP) and inflation, resulting in a variable electricity price set to customers, as opposed to fixed prices that are being pay today. "From those three components, the rupiah exchange rate against the US dollar makes up 75 percent of the electricity tariff adjustment, while ICP is 20 percent and inflation is 5 percent. So if the ICP falls but the rupiah increases, that means the electricity rate will also have an increase," said Jarman, director general of electricity at the ministry. Jarman said that starting next year the electricity subsidy will only be provided for customers using 450 to 900 watts of capacity and for small-scale industries. The government has raised the electricity tariff to the middle to upper-class customers by 34 percent so far this year, in a move to help reduce expenses for the state budget. "If energy is not cheap, then people would be economical in their electricity usage," Jarman  said. The rupiah this week has tumbled against the US dollar to its lowest since 1998, while crude oil prices in the international markets are at their lowest in five years. For this year, the rupiah has lost 2.6 percent against the dollar, while the ICP has fallen 21 percent.  ]]> http://thejakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/?p=359286 Nissan-Renault Has Suspended Orders on Some Models in Russia http://thejakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/?p=359302 Fri, 19 Dec 2014 17:10:19 +0700 A new Nissan Juke car model leaves the showroom building in Jakarta on March 20, 2012. Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn at a press conference in Jakarta on Tuesday said the Japanese automaker company Nissan will revive its old and affordable brand Datsun to attract emerging markets such as Indonesia. Nissan will invest 400 million USD in its western Java plant to increase its production capacity  from 100,000 to 250,000 vehicles a year by 2014.  AFP PHOTO / ROMEO GACAD A new Nissan Juke car model leaves a showroom building. (AFP Photo/Romeo Gacad)[/caption] Tokyo. Japan’s Nissan Motor and French partner Renault have stopped taking orders for some cars in Russia and could raise prices on others if the ruble’s plunge continues, alliance Chief Executive said on Friday. “We have suspended taking orders,” Ghosn told reporters at Nissan’s headquarters in Yokohama. “We didn’t do it overall, just on some models. We said, ‘Sorry, until we see where this situation is going we don’t take orders.’” The Russian currency has tumbled about 50 percent against the dollar so far this year, putting pressure on automakers who have had to raise prices and contend with falling demand. Nissan has already increased prices on half of models sold in Russia by 5 percent to 8 percent. Ghosn said Nissan had hiked prices on more expensive models made in Russia but using high levels of imported parts. Russia is Nissan’s fifth-largest market and the Japanese firm’s alliance with Renault, of which Ghosn is chairman and CEO, gives it a majority stake in Avtovaz OAO , Russia’s largest automaker. Ghosn, who said Nissan and Renault were gaining market share in Russia, wants to triple sales there in the next three years. Taken together, the Nissan, Renault and Lada brands represent account for over a third of vehicles sold in Russia. The executive said he remained confident that the Russian market would “stabilize”, but that the plummeting value of the ruble made it hard to make longer-term plans at present. “The bad news is that the market is shrinking. This is bad news for everyone,” Ghosn said. “When the ruble sinks it’s a bloodbath for everybody. It’s red ink, people are losing money, all car manufacturers are losing money.” Reuters]]> A new Nissan Juke car model leaves the showroom building in Jakarta on March 20, 2012. Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn at a press conference in Jakarta on Tuesday said the Japanese automaker company Nissan will revive its old and affordable brand Datsun to attract emerging markets such as Indonesia. Nissan will invest 400 million USD in its western Java plant to increase its production capacity  from 100,000 to 250,000 vehicles a year by 2014.  AFP PHOTO / ROMEO GACAD A new Nissan Juke car model leaves a showroom building. (AFP Photo/Romeo Gacad)[/caption] Tokyo. Japan’s Nissan Motor and French partner Renault have stopped taking orders for some cars in Russia and could raise prices on others if the ruble’s plunge continues, alliance Chief Executive said on Friday. “We have suspended taking orders,” Ghosn told reporters at Nissan’s headquarters in Yokohama. “We didn’t do it overall, just on some models. We said, ‘Sorry, until we see where this situation is going we don’t take orders.’” The Russian currency has tumbled about 50 percent against the dollar so far this year, putting pressure on automakers who have had to raise prices and contend with falling demand. Nissan has already increased prices on half of models sold in Russia by 5 percent to 8 percent. Ghosn said Nissan had hiked prices on more expensive models made in Russia but using high levels of imported parts. Russia is Nissan’s fifth-largest market and the Japanese firm’s alliance with Renault, of which Ghosn is chairman and CEO, gives it a majority stake in Avtovaz OAO , Russia’s largest automaker. Ghosn, who said Nissan and Renault were gaining market share in Russia, wants to triple sales there in the next three years. Taken together, the Nissan, Renault and Lada brands represent account for over a third of vehicles sold in Russia. The executive said he remained confident that the Russian market would “stabilize”, but that the plummeting value of the ruble made it hard to make longer-term plans at present. “The bad news is that the market is shrinking. This is bad news for everyone,” Ghosn said. “When the ruble sinks it’s a bloodbath for everybody. It’s red ink, people are losing money, all car manufacturers are losing money.” Reuters]]> http://thejakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/?p=359302 China Revises Up Size of 2013 Economy, Sees No Effect on 2014 Growth http://thejakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/?p=359093 Fri, 19 Dec 2014 14:29:01 +0700 Beijing. China revised up the size of its economy in 2013 but sees that having little effect on economic growth this year, amid expectations that Beijing may roll out more stimulus to support the slowing economy. Gross domestic product was up 3.4 percent to an estimated 58.8 trillion yuan ($9.5 trillion) in 2013, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Friday, following a new economic census. That marks a rise of 1.9 trillion yuan, or $305 billion, in the size of the Chinese economy that year, slightly below the entire gross domestic product of Malaysia during the same period, according to World Bank statistics. The upward revision of GDP, which reflected greater contribution from the services sector that may create more jobs as factories struggle, will do little to ease pressures on the government to support the slowing economy, analysts say. "The economy still faces downward pressure and the government is likely to lower its growth target for 2015," said Tang Jianwei, an economist at Bank of Communications who expected the government to maintain policy stimulus next year. Services accounted for 46.9 percent of 2013 GDP, up from an initial estimate of 46.1 percent, while the secondary sector — which includes manufacturing and construction — accounted for 43.7 pct of GDP, down from 43.9 pct. The third economic census, which was published earlier this week, showed that the services sector had expanded at a faster clip than the manufacturing sector between 2009 and 2013. The statistics bureau said it was still revising the historical GDP data series, which could show revised economic growth for 2013 and previous years. "The revision of 2013 GDP could affect the size of 2014 GDP but will basically not affect GDP growth for 2014," the bureau said in a statement. Some analysts had previously expected the GDP revision to make it easier for the government to meet its growth target of around 7.5 percent in 2014. The past two censuses led to a 16.8 percent revision to 2004 GDP size and a 4.4 percent increase in 2008. China's economic growth weakened to 7.3 percent in the third quarter, and November's soft factory and investment figures suggest full-year growth will miss Beijing's 7.5 percent target and mark the weakest expansion in 24 years. Economists who advise the government have recommended that China lower its growth target to around 7 percent in 2015. The bureau did not say whether it had added research and development (R&D) spending into GDP or revised the way it calculates the value of "housing services". "If they had chosen the new methodology, the final revised numbers would have been significantly higher, Angela Beibei Bao, China analyst at Rhodium Group in New York. R&D spending, which is around 2 percent of GDP, is classified as a business cost, not investment, in China. China has been trying to improve its statistical system amid widespread skepticism about the reliability of its data. Reuters]]> Beijing. China revised up the size of its economy in 2013 but sees that having little effect on economic growth this year, amid expectations that Beijing may roll out more stimulus to support the slowing economy. Gross domestic product was up 3.4 percent to an estimated 58.8 trillion yuan ($9.5 trillion) in 2013, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Friday, following a new economic census. That marks a rise of 1.9 trillion yuan, or $305 billion, in the size of the Chinese economy that year, slightly below the entire gross domestic product of Malaysia during the same period, according to World Bank statistics. The upward revision of GDP, which reflected greater contribution from the services sector that may create more jobs as factories struggle, will do little to ease pressures on the government to support the slowing economy, analysts say. "The economy still faces downward pressure and the government is likely to lower its growth target for 2015," said Tang Jianwei, an economist at Bank of Communications who expected the government to maintain policy stimulus next year. Services accounted for 46.9 percent of 2013 GDP, up from an initial estimate of 46.1 percent, while the secondary sector — which includes manufacturing and construction — accounted for 43.7 pct of GDP, down from 43.9 pct. The third economic census, which was published earlier this week, showed that the services sector had expanded at a faster clip than the manufacturing sector between 2009 and 2013. The statistics bureau said it was still revising the historical GDP data series, which could show revised economic growth for 2013 and previous years. "The revision of 2013 GDP could affect the size of 2014 GDP but will basically not affect GDP growth for 2014," the bureau said in a statement. Some analysts had previously expected the GDP revision to make it easier for the government to meet its growth target of around 7.5 percent in 2014. The past two censuses led to a 16.8 percent revision to 2004 GDP size and a 4.4 percent increase in 2008. China's economic growth weakened to 7.3 percent in the third quarter, and November's soft factory and investment figures suggest full-year growth will miss Beijing's 7.5 percent target and mark the weakest expansion in 24 years. Economists who advise the government have recommended that China lower its growth target to around 7 percent in 2015. The bureau did not say whether it had added research and development (R&D) spending into GDP or revised the way it calculates the value of "housing services". "If they had chosen the new methodology, the final revised numbers would have been significantly higher, Angela Beibei Bao, China analyst at Rhodium Group in New York. R&D spending, which is around 2 percent of GDP, is classified as a business cost, not investment, in China. China has been trying to improve its statistical system amid widespread skepticism about the reliability of its data. Reuters]]> http://thejakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/?p=359093 Bangladesh Development 'Threatens Fragile Sundarbans' http://thejakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/?p=359078 Fri, 19 Dec 2014 13:37:31 +0700 Bangladeshi villagers collect oil from their skiff in the Shela River in Mongla on Dec. 13, 2014, after an oil-tanker carrying 350,000 litrers of furnace oil collided with another vessel. (AFP Photo/Sharif Sarwar) Bangladeshi villagers collect oil from their skiff in the Shela River in Mongla on Dec. 13, 2014, after an oil-tanker carrying 350,000 litrers of furnace oil collided with another vessel. (AFP Photo/Sharif Sarwar)[/caption] Dhaka, Bangladesh. Bangladesh’s rapid development on the doorstep of the ecologically fragile Sundarbans mangrove forest means “environmental disasters” like this month’s oil spill in the massive delta are increasingly likely, experts warn. A cargo ship last week crashed into an oil tanker in thick fog in a river of the Sundarbans, whose intricate network of waterways is home to rare dolphins, endangered Bengal tigers and other animals. Authorities failed to organize a proper clean up until four days after the sunken tanker spewed tens of thousands of liters of oil into a dolphin sanctuary — ordering villagers and fishermen armed only with sponges and pans to scoop up the thick tar. The Bangladeshi government opened up the delta in 2011 to large commercial vessels — a decision environmental experts described as a “bomb waiting to explode”. The world’s largest mangrove forest faces further threat from a range of projects underway to feed Bangladesh’s booming economy, including a coal-fired power plant and a massive grain silo. “The forest has lost half its cover in the last five decades. Now we’ve laid the groundwork to put the last nail in its coffin,” Bangladesh’s top independent wildlife expert, Mohsinuzzaman Chowdhury, said of the projects. Chowdhury said he feared not only increased pollution from the projects but larger numbers of workers who would place greater stress on the delicate forest. “Presently, around one million people are directly or indirectly dependent on the forest. But in the next decade, this number could grow to more than five million,” Chowdhury said. [caption id="attachment_359080" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]An oil-soaked duck attempts to preen itself in Mongla on Dec. 13, 2014, after an oil-tanker carrying 350,000 liters of furnace oil collided with another vessel in the Shela River in Mongla. (AFP Photo/Shaikh Mohir Uddin) An oil-soaked duck attempts to preen itself in Mongla on Dec. 13, 2014, after an oil-tanker carrying 350,000 liters of furnace oil collided with another vessel in the Shela River in Mongla. (AFP Photo/Shaikh Mohir Uddin)[/caption] World Heritage site The $1.7 billion power plant is being built 14 kilometers from the northern entrance of the delta to provide much-needed power to the impoverished but rapidly developing country. Bangladeshi authorities came under fire over the 1,320-megawatt plant during a recent conference in Dhaka on efforts to save the world’s tiger population. National forestry chief Yunus Ali said his department initially “raised concern” over the plant being built on the banks of the Poshur river that flows into the forest. “But the authorities have since adopted an environment management plan to mitigate any possible negative impact,” he said. A senior Sundarbans forest official cast “doubt” on the assessment, saying he was concerned waste from the tons of burnt coal would be dumped in the river when the plant finally becomes operational in 2018. “Our main concern is waste and hot water management. Definitely, the plant would pump sludge in the Sundarbans’ rivers. It will also spew thick dust, which will spread to the forest,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. Local populations have long been allowed to hunt and fish in the Sundarbans, parts of which are Unesco World-Heritage listed. Spread over 10,000 square kilometers, the delta is roughly two-thirds in Bangladesh and one-third in neighboring India. Bangladesh in 2011 allowed boats carrying everything from oil and cement to food to sail through the delta from the key southern port of Chittagong in the Bay of Bengal to the country’s center — slashing cost and travel time. A once-dormant port built at the far end of the Poshur river has seen increasing numbers of boats arrive in recent years as Bangladesh’s economy records six percent annual growth. A 50,000-metric ton silo being built on the edge of the delta and set to open is also expected to bring increased ships transporting grain. [caption id="attachment_359081" align="alignleft" width="300"]A photograph made available on Dec. 12, 2014 shows the Southern Star 7 after it has been lifted from the water as it got sunk in the Sela river in the Sunderbans, Bangladesh on Dec. 10.  (EPA Photo) A photograph made available on Dec. 12, 2014 shows the Southern Star 7 after it has been lifted from the water as it got sunk in the Sela river in the Sunderbans, Bangladesh on Dec. 10. (EPA Photo)[/caption] ‘Compromising conservation’ Dead fish, crabs and other wildlife have washed up since the oil spill, which experts have called a disaster, although the overall impact is not yet known. There were fears for the endangered Bengal tiger, several hundred of whom live in the Sundarbans, along with 300 species of birds and Irrawaddy dolphins. A multi-year study by New York-based World Conservation Society spotted 6,000 dolphins in the waterways, making it the largest known home for the rare mammal. Located at the mouth of the Ganges and Brahmaputra rivers between India and Bangladesh, the delta is also an important spawning ground for the latter’s multibillion dollar hilsha fish and shrimp industries. Y.V. Jhala, a professor at the Wildlife Institute of India, said the power plant’s impact plus increased shipping would be “disastrous” and would endanger a “whole range of aquatic animals and the Bengal tigers." “By allowing ships to move through the forest, Bangladesh is compromising conservation ... [for the sake of] development,” he said, suggesting a total ban on shipping through the forest and relocating the plant. “The Sundarbans’ ecosystem is too precious to be compromised. It has a great economic value and acts as a buffer against environment catastrophe from cyclones blowing in from the Bay of Bengal. “Losing it will be a too big a loss for humanity.” Agence France-Presse]]> Bangladeshi villagers collect oil from their skiff in the Shela River in Mongla on Dec. 13, 2014, after an oil-tanker carrying 350,000 litrers of furnace oil collided with another vessel. (AFP Photo/Sharif Sarwar) Bangladeshi villagers collect oil from their skiff in the Shela River in Mongla on Dec. 13, 2014, after an oil-tanker carrying 350,000 litrers of furnace oil collided with another vessel. (AFP Photo/Sharif Sarwar)[/caption] Dhaka, Bangladesh. Bangladesh’s rapid development on the doorstep of the ecologically fragile Sundarbans mangrove forest means “environmental disasters” like this month’s oil spill in the massive delta are increasingly likely, experts warn. A cargo ship last week crashed into an oil tanker in thick fog in a river of the Sundarbans, whose intricate network of waterways is home to rare dolphins, endangered Bengal tigers and other animals. Authorities failed to organize a proper clean up until four days after the sunken tanker spewed tens of thousands of liters of oil into a dolphin sanctuary — ordering villagers and fishermen armed only with sponges and pans to scoop up the thick tar. The Bangladeshi government opened up the delta in 2011 to large commercial vessels — a decision environmental experts described as a “bomb waiting to explode”. The world’s largest mangrove forest faces further threat from a range of projects underway to feed Bangladesh’s booming economy, including a coal-fired power plant and a massive grain silo. “The forest has lost half its cover in the last five decades. Now we’ve laid the groundwork to put the last nail in its coffin,” Bangladesh’s top independent wildlife expert, Mohsinuzzaman Chowdhury, said of the projects. Chowdhury said he feared not only increased pollution from the projects but larger numbers of workers who would place greater stress on the delicate forest. “Presently, around one million people are directly or indirectly dependent on the forest. But in the next decade, this number could grow to more than five million,” Chowdhury said. [caption id="attachment_359080" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]An oil-soaked duck attempts to preen itself in Mongla on Dec. 13, 2014, after an oil-tanker carrying 350,000 liters of furnace oil collided with another vessel in the Shela River in Mongla. (AFP Photo/Shaikh Mohir Uddin) An oil-soaked duck attempts to preen itself in Mongla on Dec. 13, 2014, after an oil-tanker carrying 350,000 liters of furnace oil collided with another vessel in the Shela River in Mongla. (AFP Photo/Shaikh Mohir Uddin)[/caption] World Heritage site The $1.7 billion power plant is being built 14 kilometers from the northern entrance of the delta to provide much-needed power to the impoverished but rapidly developing country. Bangladeshi authorities came under fire over the 1,320-megawatt plant during a recent conference in Dhaka on efforts to save the world’s tiger population. National forestry chief Yunus Ali said his department initially “raised concern” over the plant being built on the banks of the Poshur river that flows into the forest. “But the authorities have since adopted an environment management plan to mitigate any possible negative impact,” he said. A senior Sundarbans forest official cast “doubt” on the assessment, saying he was concerned waste from the tons of burnt coal would be dumped in the river when the plant finally becomes operational in 2018. “Our main concern is waste and hot water management. Definitely, the plant would pump sludge in the Sundarbans’ rivers. It will also spew thick dust, which will spread to the forest,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. Local populations have long been allowed to hunt and fish in the Sundarbans, parts of which are Unesco World-Heritage listed. Spread over 10,000 square kilometers, the delta is roughly two-thirds in Bangladesh and one-third in neighboring India. Bangladesh in 2011 allowed boats carrying everything from oil and cement to food to sail through the delta from the key southern port of Chittagong in the Bay of Bengal to the country’s center — slashing cost and travel time. A once-dormant port built at the far end of the Poshur river has seen increasing numbers of boats arrive in recent years as Bangladesh’s economy records six percent annual growth. A 50,000-metric ton silo being built on the edge of the delta and set to open is also expected to bring increased ships transporting grain. [caption id="attachment_359081" align="alignleft" width="300"]A photograph made available on Dec. 12, 2014 shows the Southern Star 7 after it has been lifted from the water as it got sunk in the Sela river in the Sunderbans, Bangladesh on Dec. 10.  (EPA Photo) A photograph made available on Dec. 12, 2014 shows the Southern Star 7 after it has been lifted from the water as it got sunk in the Sela river in the Sunderbans, Bangladesh on Dec. 10. (EPA Photo)[/caption] ‘Compromising conservation’ Dead fish, crabs and other wildlife have washed up since the oil spill, which experts have called a disaster, although the overall impact is not yet known. There were fears for the endangered Bengal tiger, several hundred of whom live in the Sundarbans, along with 300 species of birds and Irrawaddy dolphins. A multi-year study by New York-based World Conservation Society spotted 6,000 dolphins in the waterways, making it the largest known home for the rare mammal. Located at the mouth of the Ganges and Brahmaputra rivers between India and Bangladesh, the delta is also an important spawning ground for the latter’s multibillion dollar hilsha fish and shrimp industries. Y.V. Jhala, a professor at the Wildlife Institute of India, said the power plant’s impact plus increased shipping would be “disastrous” and would endanger a “whole range of aquatic animals and the Bengal tigers." “By allowing ships to move through the forest, Bangladesh is compromising conservation ... [for the sake of] development,” he said, suggesting a total ban on shipping through the forest and relocating the plant. “The Sundarbans’ ecosystem is too precious to be compromised. It has a great economic value and acts as a buffer against environment catastrophe from cyclones blowing in from the Bay of Bengal. “Losing it will be a too big a loss for humanity.” Agence France-Presse]]> http://thejakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/?p=359078 Lower Oil Prices Expected to Boost Asian Demand Growth in 2015 http://thejakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/?p=359044 Fri, 19 Dec 2014 13:29:13 +0700 Singapore. Lower oil prices could boost demand in Asia in 2015, with spot interest for diesel, Asia's most widely used fuel, picking up in countries like Vietnam, Philippines and Indonesia, traders and analysts said. Asia's oil demand is expected to grow 660,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 31.11 million bpd in 2015, up from this year's growth of 610,000 bpd, according to estimates by oil and gas consultancy KBC Advanced Technologies. The region will add 310,000 bpd of refining capacity next year, which means demand growth will outpace supply in Asia. "For next year, we expect demand to pick up strongly mainly because prices have been quite low," said Jit Yang Lim, a senior staff consultant of KBC's energy economics division. "We expect prices to remain low next year with Brent to stay at about $70 a barrel, which means demand may pick up more strongly compared with last few years when Brent was hovering at about $110 per barrel on average." Brent crude oil futures have lost about half its value since June to below $60 a barrel, on worries about oversupply. Already, diesel demand has picked up. Importers from Vietnam and the Philippines increased spot purchases of the oil product this month, said traders who supply fuel to these countries. Indonesia's diesel demand could pick up by 6 percent next year, with rising demand from the mining sector encouraged by higher coal prices, traders said. "With lower fuel prices, they will make money. Oil prices at around $55 to $65 a barrel will mean good news for the industrial and mining sector," said a Jakarta-based trader. Demand for fuel oil, a shipping and blending fuel, could go up as lower prices encourage more shipowners to ramp up speed and as more refineries use the fuel as feedstock for secondary units being added, traders and analysts said. "Although Asian regional fuel oil demand is in structural decline, we forecast demand to be higher in the next quarter reflecting the lower absolute prices supporting purchases," said Jonathan Leitch, principal downstream analyst at Wood Mackenzie. Demand growth for transport fuel gasoline will outpace supply growth in 2015, he said. While the removal of subsidies in Asia could curb some demand, a drop in overall prices will mean that the impact will be muted, analysts said. "Removal of subsidies will have some dampening effect but maybe just for a few quarters and should pick up strongly after. Prices have already dropped below pump prices level and even with removal of subsidies, prices remain low," KBC's Lim said. Overall, refining margins will improve to $4.50 a barrel next year, from this year's $4.30, Lim added. The increase could have been higher if not for a slowdown in China's economic growth and refinery capacity additions globally, he said. Overall, there will be a 1.83 million bpd of incremental crude distillation unit capacity, which will dampen oil product margins, especially for diesel as many refineries are geared towards maximizing diesel production, he said. Reuters]]> Singapore. Lower oil prices could boost demand in Asia in 2015, with spot interest for diesel, Asia's most widely used fuel, picking up in countries like Vietnam, Philippines and Indonesia, traders and analysts said. Asia's oil demand is expected to grow 660,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 31.11 million bpd in 2015, up from this year's growth of 610,000 bpd, according to estimates by oil and gas consultancy KBC Advanced Technologies. The region will add 310,000 bpd of refining capacity next year, which means demand growth will outpace supply in Asia. "For next year, we expect demand to pick up strongly mainly because prices have been quite low," said Jit Yang Lim, a senior staff consultant of KBC's energy economics division. "We expect prices to remain low next year with Brent to stay at about $70 a barrel, which means demand may pick up more strongly compared with last few years when Brent was hovering at about $110 per barrel on average." Brent crude oil futures have lost about half its value since June to below $60 a barrel, on worries about oversupply. Already, diesel demand has picked up. Importers from Vietnam and the Philippines increased spot purchases of the oil product this month, said traders who supply fuel to these countries. Indonesia's diesel demand could pick up by 6 percent next year, with rising demand from the mining sector encouraged by higher coal prices, traders said. "With lower fuel prices, they will make money. Oil prices at around $55 to $65 a barrel will mean good news for the industrial and mining sector," said a Jakarta-based trader. Demand for fuel oil, a shipping and blending fuel, could go up as lower prices encourage more shipowners to ramp up speed and as more refineries use the fuel as feedstock for secondary units being added, traders and analysts said. "Although Asian regional fuel oil demand is in structural decline, we forecast demand to be higher in the next quarter reflecting the lower absolute prices supporting purchases," said Jonathan Leitch, principal downstream analyst at Wood Mackenzie. Demand growth for transport fuel gasoline will outpace supply growth in 2015, he said. While the removal of subsidies in Asia could curb some demand, a drop in overall prices will mean that the impact will be muted, analysts said. "Removal of subsidies will have some dampening effect but maybe just for a few quarters and should pick up strongly after. Prices have already dropped below pump prices level and even with removal of subsidies, prices remain low," KBC's Lim said. Overall, refining margins will improve to $4.50 a barrel next year, from this year's $4.30, Lim added. The increase could have been higher if not for a slowdown in China's economic growth and refinery capacity additions globally, he said. Overall, there will be a 1.83 million bpd of incremental crude distillation unit capacity, which will dampen oil product margins, especially for diesel as many refineries are geared towards maximizing diesel production, he said. Reuters]]> http://thejakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/?p=359044