3rd largest economy

SHANGHAI: China’s economy grew so rapidly in the first half of 2007 that it is likely to overtake Germany as the world’s third-largest by the end of this year. The January to June figures for Asia’s second biggest economy will provide fresh evidence that Beijing’s economic braking measures have had little effect. China’s sizzling economy expanded even faster than originally thought last year, with the government revising 2006 GDP to 11.1 per cent from 10.7 per cent. — AFP

Myanmar’s firms hit

YANGON: Only 10 per cent of the companies registered in Myanmar are actually operating. “Although 40,000 companies were registered in the country, the number of companies that are really operating is just 4,000,” Lt General Thein Sein said. Most of the companies that are operating have little capital and weak access to foreign markets. Outside the main cities of Yangon and Mandalay, most provinces have only one or two registered businesses. — AFP

Russia to sell off unit

MOSCOW: Russia is to sell off the major foreign assets of bankrupt oil group Yukos at auction in August with a starting price of just under $300 million. The company’s Dutch subsidiary Yukos Finance, which controls the assets, will be sold on August 15 with an opening price of 218 million euros. — AFP

Paddy plantation

Nepalgunj: Paddy plantation has started in Banke district the sufficient rainfall. Farmers here plant various varieties of paddies like Radha-4, Janaki, Mansuli and other hybrid varieties. DDO has estimated that 106,500 metric tonnes of rice will be produced in the district in 35,500 hectares of land. The government has provided 50 per cent grant in seeds for the farmers of 18 VDCs in the district. The DDO has been conducting various trainings for the farmers such as commercial farming. — RSS

Sultan lauds SMEs

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN: The sultan of Brunei called on Sunday for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to play a greater role in the country, which observers say is debating how to secure its economic future amid dwindling oil and gas resources. In a speech marking his 61st birthday, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, one of the world’s longest-reigning monarchs, called for government agencies to pave the way for increased participation by SMEs. — AFP

NZ, China trade deal

Wellington: New Zealand is prepared to consider increasing the number of Chinese workers in the country to help cement a better trade deal with Beijing, trade minister Phil Goff said. Goff said that China sought the increase as part of ongoing free trade talks. “We said that the deal might be on if there was a very ambitious offer from their side, in terms of allowing our firms to trade in services,” Goff said. The numbers would be strictly limited based around gaps in the labour market. “It’s about teachers of Mandarin, it’s about people expert in Chinese medicine.”— AFP