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Updated: 2012-06-26 07:42

(China Daily)

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What's news

A robot serves a dish to diners at a restaurant in Harbin, capital of Heilongjiang province, on Thursday. The restaurant hopes to attract customers with the use of 18 robots as its "employees". Zhang Qingyun / Xinhua

Ethiopia inks $1.5b rail deal with Chinese company

Ethiopia signed a $1.5 billion agreement with State-owned China Communications Construction Co to build a railway to carry potash from mines being developed in the northeast of the African nation.

The 360-kilometer line, which will transport passengers and freight, is due for completion by July 2015, Ethiopia's Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Sunday.

Benchmark power station coal price falls

China's benchmark power station coal price at Qinhuangdao port declined the most in more than three years amid inventories that are almost a third higher than 12 months ago.

Coal with an energy value of 5,500 kilocalories per kilogram fell 7.2 percent to a range of 670 yuan ($105) to 690 yuan per metric ton as of Sunday, according to China Coal Transport and Distribution Association. That's the biggest decline since December 2008, and the first time prices have fallen below 700 yuan since April 2010.

NIOC to move fuel-oil trading head to China

National Iranian Oil Corp will relocate its head of fuel-oil trading to Beijing from Teheran to oversee oil supply to China.

Maziar Hojjati, the fuel-oil marketing manager at the state producer's headquarters in the Iranian capital, will head the company's Beijing office, Hojjati said on Monday.

He said he expects to start working in Beijing next month.

Vestas to close plant in Inner Mongolia

Danish wind turbine manufacturer Vestas Wind Systems said on Monday it will close a factory in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia autonomous region, and cut 300-350 jobs in the process, due to forecast low demand for kilowatt turbines in the future.

The world's biggest wind turbine manufacturer said it would phase out production of kilowatt turbines, including the V52-850 kilowatt and V60-850 kilowatt turbines produced at the Hohhot factory to be closed.

"On the basis of thorough internal analyses, Vestas projects a low market demand for the kilowatt platform in the coming years," the company said.

Nissan to give Dalian jobs boost with new factory

Nissan Motor Co, the biggest Japanese carmaker in China, will invest 5 billion yuan ($784 million) to build a new plant in the northeastern city of Dalian to cater to demand in the world's biggest vehicle market.

The factory in Liaoning province will be able to make 150,000 cars a year when it starts production in 2014, and this may be expanded to 300,000 units in the future, according to Nissan's China venture in a news release on Monday. The plant will be its sixth manufacturing site on the mainland.

"Nissan's focus has been in the southern part of China and it needs to expand to the northeast to accommodate its growth," Nissan Executive Vice-President Hiroto Saikawa told reporters in Dalian on Monday.

Money-market rate falls from 4-month high

China's money-market rate dropped from a four-month high on speculation cash supply will rise once banks complete month-end reserve requirements.

Lenders have to park funds with the central bank on the fifth, 15th and 25th of each month. Policymakers may cut the reserve ratio for banks "soon" and use reverse repurchase agreements to improve money supply and boost loans, China Securities Journal reported on its front page, citing unidentified market sources.

"The cash shortage is temporarily easing," said Liu Junyu, a bond analyst at China Merchants Bank Co, the mainland's sixth-biggest lender.

Greentown climbs in HK trading on stake sales

Greentown China Holdings Ltd rose to the highest in 16 months in Hong Kong trading after the developer agreed to sell stakes in nine real estate projects to Sunac China Holdings Ltd.

Greentown said on Friday it will sell the stakes for 3.37 billion yuan ($530 million) to Sunac and will make a 232 million yuan gain from the transactions, helping repay loans and boost capital.

Greentown has been accelerating deals to sell land and other holdings to raise cash as government curbs to avoid the formation of an asset bubble weigh on prices and the cash flow of developers.

Yuan reaches weakest level in 7 months

The yuan sank to its weakest level in almost seven months, before closing little changed, after the People's Bank of China lowered the currency's reference rate amid concern Europe's debt crisis will hurt exports.

The central bank set its daily fixing 0.3 percent weaker, the steepest cut since March 12, at 6.3230 per US dollar, after strengthening the rate in the run-up to last week's meeting of leaders from the Group of 20 nations.

The yuan closed at 6.3633 per US dollar in Shanghai, little changed from 6.3642 at the end of last week, according to the China Foreign Exchange Trade System. It touched 6.3827 on Monday, the weakest level since Nov 29. The currency is allowed to trade as much as 1 percent on either side of the daily fixing.

Embraer to re-start aircraft building in Harbin

The Chinese government has given approval to Embraer SA to re-start building aircraft at its plant in Harbin, closed since the second quarter of 2011, after it landed an order from China's ICBC Financial Leasing Co for five of its Legacy 650 jets, with the option for five more.

The world's fourth-biggest plane maker will be able to build both its 600 and 650 models at the plant.

'Subsidized purchasing' key for struggling car industry

China has no imminent plans to introduce more stimulus policies to help revive vehicle demand in the world's biggest auto market, according to a senior official with the country's top economic planner.

The National Development and Reform Commission is still studying the feasibility for measures to subsidize vehicle purchases in rural areas, said Chen Jianguo, deputy director of the agency's industry coordination department.

"We're still looking into the issue of whether such policy is even needed," Chen said in an interview in Dalian, adding "it is common sense" that there's no need for the same kind of stimulus policies introduced in 2009.

Sinopec oil and gas production rises

Crude output by China Petroleum & Chemical Corp, or Sinopec, in the first five months of this year rose 1.3 percent from a year ago to 17.9 million metric tons, and natural gas production increased 13.9 percent to 6.8 billion cubic meters, China Petrochemical Corp, the parent company, said on its website on Monday.

Publicis concerned about advertising slowdown

Publicis Groupe SA, the French multinational advertising and communications company, said strong business in China is making up for slower growth in Europe.

However Maurice Levy, chief executive, warned that Chinese advertisers were not planning to increasing their budgets this year, and its fortunes in the country is now one of his top concerns, despite sales growing by 15.3 per cent in the first quarter.

Publicis has made more than a dozen acquisitions this year in countries such as China and India as well as in the Middle East as high unemployment and austerity programs by European governments crimp spending by consumers and companies at home.

Agencies - China Daily

(China Daily 06/26/2012 page14)