Oil prices up in Asia

SINGAPORE: Oil prices rose in Asian trade on Monday, hovering around $60 a barrel ahead of an extraordin-ary OPEC meeting this week to disc-uss a production cut to check a price decline. An output cut in the North Sea due to safety problems and exp-ected higher demand for heating fuel during the northern hemisphere winter helped drive prices higher. — AFP

More FDI in China

BEIJING: China’s actual foreign direct investment (FDI) in September was up by 2.72 per cent year-on-year to $5.4 billion. That compares with an 8.49 per cent year-on-year fall in actual FDI in August. FDI in the first nine months was down by 1.52 per cent from the same period of last year at $42.59 billion and compared to a 2.1 per cent fall over the January-August period. — AFP

$100m loan to Laos

MANILA: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) said on Monday it will lend $100 million to Laos between 2007 and 2011 in line with the country’s five-year development plan. The aid will focus on basic education and preventative health services, diversification of small farms and helping small and medium enterprises. “This will be combined with a major effort to improve public sector financial management,” the bank said in a statement. — AFP

Economic forecast

SINGAPORE: US banking giant Citigroup on Monday raised its 2006 growth forecast for the Singapore economy to 7.8 per cent from seven per cent due to a stronger-than-expected third quarter performance. A recovery in the property market should also contribute to the economy’s resilience. The revision puts Citigroup’s forecast above the government’s official target for a 6.5-7.5 per cent growth in the GDP this year. — AFP

Sweden eyes growth

STOCKHOLM: Sweden’s new centre-right government projects the economy will grow by 3.3 per cent next year and by 3.1 per cent in 2008. Unemployment is forecast at 5.8 per cent in 2007 and will drop to five per cent a year later. The jobless rate was 5.7 per cent in August. Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt’s coalition government will present the budget to Parliament on Monday. — AP

French economy up

PARIS: The Bank of France estimated on Monday that the French economy grew by 0.5 per cent in the third quarter, stronger than a previous estimate of 0.4 per cent. In its montly report, the bank said the new figure would result in growth this year of at least 2.2 per cent this year, up from a previous forecast of 2.1 per cent. The estimate was based on the bank’s monthly survey of business sentiment. — AFP

Milk holiday hurts

RATNANAGAR: The district Milk

Producers’ Association Chitwan has criticised the Dairy Development Corporation for a two-day milk holiday. Issuing a statement, Shankar Raj Bhandari, president of the association said that the farmers are bearing huge losses as they could not supply because of ‘milk holiday’. — RSS

Building oil reserves

SHANGHAI: China will begin piping crude into tanks at its second oil reserve by the end of the year, a move likely to raise demand further following record oil imports in September. The first phase of oil reserve facilities at Zhoushan, an archipelago south of Shanghai, will have storage capacity of 1.2 million cubic metres (about 7.5 million barrels of oil). — AP

Westmont eyes B’desh

DHAKA: A consortium led by Malaysia’s Westmont Group has proposed a five-billion-dollar plan to build gas and power plants in Bangladesh, an official said, in what would be the country’s biggest investment by a foreign firm. The Westmont-led consortium submitted the plan to state-owned petroleum company Petrobangla in which it said it would construct a LNG plant, a power plant and a gas development and distribution network. — AFP

Thai traders to protest

BANGKOK: Thai shopowners threatened on Monday to defy martial law and stage a protest against expansion plans by international retail giants as France’s Carrefour proposed a compromise to end the bitter dispute. The shopowners said they would ignore a ban on protests imposed after last month’s military coup and gather some 600 people on Tuesday to demand that Britain’s Tesco stop its expansion plans. — AFP

OPEC meet in Qatar

DOHA: Qatar confirmed on Sunday that it will host a meeting of the OPEC on Thursday. Qatar’s energy minister Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah said that ministers at the OPEC meeting would review the market situation and discuss production quotas. Al-Attiyah said that OPEC also will talk about ‘the possibility of reducing total oil output by one million bpd to stop any further decline in prices. — AP