BIZ BRIEFS

Eurozone confidence

PARIS: Eurozone indicators to be released in the coming week will show that economic confidence has improved slightly as a result of the euro’s recent decline. The renewed rise in oil prices will limit any optimism and will also push inflation higher. — AFP

Thai shopping spree

BANGKOK: Thais are on a shopping binge in the country’s ever-expanding malls, and ringing up debt from credit cards and personal loans, prompting economists to warn a hangover may be around the corner when the bills arrive. — AFP

US housing boom

WASHINGTON: With US home prices going through the roof, more Americans are using

‘creative financing’ to buy their dream house — but experts say the moves only add to speculative fever in an already red hot market. The traditional 30-year fixed rate mortgage is giving way to newer schemes which offer lower monthly payments and help buyers. — AFP

Press lauds Blair’s role

LONDON: Britain’s newspapers demanded prime minister Tony Blair drive the EU in a new direction after talks on the EU budget collapsed in Brussels. Talks ended with no agreement on the EU’s 2007-2013 spending plans with Blair’s call for wide-ranging budget reforms and intransigence on Britain’s rebate proving the sticking point amid the turmoil. But despite failing win the battle, the British press backed Blair. — AFP

Supermarket closure

TOKYO: Japan’s 10 major supermarket operators will close a record 92 outlets in this businesse year. The leading business daily Nihon Keizai reported the number of store closures

will exceed openings for the first time in three years. The supermarket operators will open a total of 83 outlets in the year to March 2006, mostly focusing on food. — AFP

Meet on poverty

KUALA LUMPUR: Finance ministers and business leaders from the Muslim world will meet in the Malaysian capital this week to devise ways to lift their countries out of poverty by unleashing their untapped economic potential. Malaysia is leading the charge for a focus on the economy as a means to bring development and prosperity to troubled Muslim-majority nations, and drain support for radicalism and conflict. — AFP

Ex-Tyco boss guilty

NEW YORK: A jury found former Tyco International chief Dennis Kozlowski and his top lieutenant guilty of grand larceny, fraud and falsifying business records. The verdict left Kozlowski and former CFO Mark Swartz facing up to 25 years in prison on the grand larceny counts alone. — AFP