S’pore, Pakistan FTA


Officials from Singapore and Pakistan on Friday concluded the initial round of negotiations over a possible free trade agreement. Singapore’s ministry of trade and industry said ‘fruitful discussions’ took place during the three-day long meeting. The next meeting is scheduled for November in Pakistan. — AP

Economy grows in HK


Hong Kong’s economy defied predictions and grew by three per cent in the second quarter from the previous quarter and 6.8 per cent on-year on strong exports and a sustained rise in domestic consumption and investment. Market expectations had centered on an on-quarter increase of one per cent in GDP and a 5.2 per cent on-year jump. — AP

GM on the roll


General Motors Corp, looking to maintain the momentum of its hugely popular employee-pricing discount plan, has extended the promotion until September 30. The world’s largest automaker said the plan now includes select 2006 full-size trucks and sport utility vehicles, including Chevrolet’s Avalanche and Tahoe, the GMC Yukon and the Cadillac Escalade. — AP

Japanese CPI falls


Japanese consumer prices fell by 0.2 per cent in July, signaling that the world’s second-largest economy is still mired in deflation despite signs of recovery. The falling consumer price index (CPI) followed a similar decline in June and suggests that the Bank of Japan will not waver from its ultra-loose monetary policy anytime soon as it tries to spur more borrowing and spending. — AP