India signs trade deal

New Delhi: India is set to ink a far-reaching preferential trade agreement with a Latin American grouping on the margins of a meeting among trade ministers of 20 developing countries (G-20) being held here on March 18-19. — HNS

Oil prices still above $53

VIENNA: Crude futures fell on Tuesday amid signals that the OPEC will maintain its current production output at its upcoming meeting in Iran. Analysts said that with prices well over $50 a barrel, OPEC oil ministers were not interested in adding further volatility to the market. — AP

Jet, Sahara eye ASEAN

KUALA LUMPUR: Indian carriers, Jet Airways and Air Sahara will start maiden flights to Malaysia and Singapore in a bid to secure a stake in lucrative Southeast Asian routes. — AFP

EU suffers budget blues

BRUSSELS: EU monetary affairs chief Joaquin Almunia voiced disappointment on Tuesday after finance ministers failed to agree on rewriting battered budget rules, instead calling a new meeting for later this month. — AFP

Retail sales in HK dip

HONG KONG: Hong Kong’s retail sales growth slowed in January compared to the previous month as Chinese Lunar New Year shopping inflated the comparison base in 2004. However, retail sales continued to show broad-based gains in January. — AP

Reform in P’pines mooted

MANILA: Multilateral donors led by the World Bank on Tuesday said they will raise development assistance to the Philippines if the government speed ups its fiscal reform programme. The donors met with president Gloria Arroyo and her key economic managers in a consultative meeting to convey the message. — AFP

ECB not to raise rates

FRANKFURT: The IMF believes that the European Central Bank (ECB) should not raise its key interest rates while economic growth in the 12-country eurozone remains so anaemic. — AFP

US fattens tariff on pigs

WASHINGTON: The US pushed up planned tariffs on Canadian pigs in a trade row in which US livestock farmers claim they are harmed by unfair subsidies north of the border. — AFP

France aims to boost trade

KUALA LUMPUR: France aims to double trade with Malaysia in three years and use the country

as a springboard to tap Southeast Asia’s fast growing markets. — AFP