SYDNEY: Australia's Woodside Petroleum Ltd said the A$6.6bil Greater Sunrise gas project in the Timor Sea would likely stall amid a dispute between Australia and East Timor over splitting revenues.
Woodside previously said the project, scheduled to produce its first commercial liquefied natural gas (LNG) by 2010, could be delayed several years unless East Timor ratified a pact covering the development by the end of the year. – Reuters
SEOUL: South Korea's foreign exchange reserves jumped US$7.7bil during the first half of November, central bank data showed yesterday, which dealers said pointed to heavy intervention to control the won's surge.
HONG KONG: The government will consider raising charges at the city's airport after an initial public offering of the airport's operator, in a move to boost profitability and return on equity.
In a consultative paper to be discussed by the city's legislature on Monday, the government said the Hong Kong Airport Authority would need to demonstrate its ability to achieve a “commercial return'' comparable to the government's initial investment in the airport to make the share sale successful. – Bloomberg
SINGAPORE: The Taiwan dollar hit a three-and-half year high against the US dollar yesterday and the South Korean won powered to a new 7-year high as local exporters hedged against a prolonged dollar decline.
The Taiwan dollar traded as high as 32.62 per dollar in local trade, its strongest since March 2001, before closing local trade at 32.66. The won surged almost 1% to around 1,081 per dollar, its highest since the 1997/98 Asian crisis. – Reuters
SEOUL: Posco, South Korea's biggest steel maker, has agreed to buy iron ore worth US$2.1bil from Cia Vale do Rio Doce, while LG-Nikko Copper Inc, the country's only copper smelter, is to buy copper concentrate worth US$50mil from the Brazilian company.
Vale, the world's largest producer of iron ore, would supply 100 million tonnes of the raw material to Posco from April next year till 2015, Posco said in a statement. That is almost triple the volume of Pohang-based Posco's previous five-year contract with Vale for 36 million tonnes of ore, which expires in March 2005. – Bloomberg
HONG KONG: Macau's chief executive Edmund Ho said the government would extend tax breaks next year, including a 25% cut in salaries tax, and raise civil servants' wages by 5%.
Macau's personal income tax rate is already one of the lowest in the world, ranging between 7% and 12%. Those earning up to 95,000 patacas (US$11,875) a year are exempt. – Reuters
TOKYO: Shares in Japanese oil explorer INPEX Corp rose 20% on their stock market debut yesterday as investors were drawn to the booming energy sector, with momentum returning to Japan's initial public offering (IPO) market in general.
The US$1.5bil offering in INPEX, now owned 36% by Japan National Oil Corp, is the third largest IPO in Japan this year after the US$3.4bil sale of shares in Electric Power Development Co Ltd and the US$2.4bil offering in Shinsei Bank Ltd. – Reuters
HONG KONG: Shares in China Netcom, the smallest of China's four big telecoms carriers, rose 11% on their Hong Kong debut yesterday, at the high end of forecasts, on a view that they were cheap compared to rivals.
The jump came after its American Depositary Shares met with a surprisingly enthusiastic reception on their first day of trading in New York on Tuesday, closing 14% higher.
The warm welcome should prove encouraging for the issuers marketing three big Hong Kong initial public offerings that could together raise more than US$4bil over the next few weeks. – Reuters
NEW YORK: Department store operator J.C. Penney Co Inc said on Tuesday its third-quarter profit surged 86%, helped by stronger sales and fewer markdowns.
J.C. Penney, viewed in the industry as a retailing success story this year, also said its outlook for the holiday season, a crucial selling time, was positive.
Earnings rose to US$149mil, or 50 US cents a share, for the quarter ended Oct 30, from US$80mil, or 27 US cents a share, a year earlier. – Reuters
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