Yuan convertibility

BEIJING: China will gradually make its currency, the yuan, fully convertible, vice-premier Huang Ju said, “We will relax restrictions on yuan transactions under the capital account in a step-by-step manner in order to achieve gradual capital account convertibility.” — AFP

Capital spending up

TOKYO: A finance ministry survey of the first quarter showed a mixed picture of robust capital

spending and lower inventories, prompting economists to see no sharp revision to overall growth figures. Corporate spending on plant and equipment by non-financial companies rose by 7.4 per cent year-on-year.— AFP

China suspends IPOs

BEIJING: The China Securities Regulatory Commission has suspended all initial public offerings

(IPOs) and additional share issues in a bid to assist its pilot state-owned share sales programme. The announcement saw the leading index of the Shanghai Stock Exchange plunge to its lowest point in eight years. — AFP

Thai economy slows

BANGKOK: Thailand’s economy slowed sharply in the first quarter of 2005, growing by 3.3 per cent due to a sharp spike in oil prices and a rise in consumer prices. The first quarter growth compared with 6.1 per cent in all of 2004. It is expected a better economic performance in future. — AFP

Siemens, BenQ eye JV

FRANKFURT: German engineering giant Siemens has agreed to set up a joint venture with Taiwan group BenQ in the manufacture of mobile phone handsets, the Financial Times Deutschland reported. Siemens was not available to comment. — AFP

ECB ruling on rate

FRANKFURT: The European Central Bank’s chief economist Otmar Issing said that he did not rule out a possible reduction of eurozone interest rates, despite the high level of liquidity in the region’s economy. — AFP