Foreign news in brief


  • Business
  • Wednesday, 05 Nov 2008

BEIJING: The parent of China’s top e-commerce firm Alibaba.com said half its revenues will come from domestic China traders in three years, up from 36% now, as internal trading patterns grow faster than exports.

Alibaba.com operates an online site connecting buyers and suppliers looking to import and export Chinese goods, but US and European consumers are being hit hard by the global financial crisis, leading to faster growth in domestic trade.

“I think it will be at least 50:50 in three years,” Joseph Tsai, chief financial officer of the Alibaba Group, told Reuters in a telephone interview on Monday.

Alibaba said it would slash its annual membership fee for exporters by about 60% to 19,800 yuan (US$2,899), hoping to attract more customers during the downturn. — Reuters

ZURICH: UBS said yesterday a government bailout is helping to stem client outflows but expected factors that helped it record a small profit to reverse in the fourth quarter.

The logo of Swiss bank UBS is pictured on a building in Zug. - Reuters

UBS, one of the European banks hit hardest by the financial crisis, had already reported most of its third-quarter figures last month when it announced it was getting a six-billion-franc capital injection from the Swiss government and was also unloading US$60bil of risky assets into a central bank fund.

The bank, the world’s largest wealth manager, said it expected market conditions to remain “challenging” and shrinking client assets to affect fees. — Reuters

TOKYO: Bridgestone Corp, the world’s largest tyre maker by sales, posted a 58% drop in third-quarter profit as higher raw materials costs eroded earnings.

Net income fell to 12.2 billion yen (US$124mil) for the three months ended Sept 30 from 29.4 billion a year earlier. Sales rose 0.9% to 859 billion yen from 851 billion.

Crude oil, which accounts for at least half of Bridgestone’s raw materials costs, increased 58% on average last quarter from a year earlier, and rubber hit a 28-year high at the end of June. — Bloomberg

SINGAPORE: Saudi Arabia has cut oil supply to some major customers with immediate effect, industry sources said yesterday, easing doubts about whether the world’s top exporter will comply quickly with Opec curbs.

The kingdom had told major oil companies it would restrict the volume they could load this month by limiting operational tolerance, a source familiar with Saudi crude sales told Reuters.

Another source with a major customer of state oil firm Saudi Aramco also confirmed that he saw evidence that Riyadh had cut supplies in November. Neither source was able to give an estimate on how much exports had been cut in total. — Reuters

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