Aussie trade deficit :

SYDNEY: Australia’s deficit on trade in goods and services fell by 35 per cent in August, prompting economists to predict a surplus in the coming months. The nation’s improving exports had increased the possibility of a break in the run of 53 consecutive trade deficits. The seasonally-adjusted deficit on goods and services fell to $155 million from July. — AFP

Crude prices sink :

SINGAPORE: Crude prices fell further in Asian trade on Wednesday, hitting levels last seen in mid-February on the view that the market is more than well supplied going into the Northern hemisphere winter. With key US inventory figures due later in the day there was no reason for participants to take any aggressive positions. At 0635 GMT New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for November delivery, was down to $58.26 a barrel. — AFP

Aussie rates on hold :

SYDNEY: Australia’s central bank left interest rates on hold at a six-year high of six per cent, leaving analysts split on the liklihood of another inflation-fighting increase. The move was in line with predictions that the Reserve Bank of Australia would wait to see if increases of 25 basis points in August and in May had curbed inflationary pressures. — AFP

Sanctions hit Sukhoi :

MOSCOW: Russia’s Sukhoi aircraft manufacturer has been left without vital parts for its Super-Jet 100 project because of US sanctions. US-based firms Hamilton Sundstrand and B/E Aerospace have informed Sukhoi Civil Airplanes that they were refused supply licences by the US government. In August, the US announced sanctions against Sukhoi and Russian state arms exporter Rosoboronexport for providing Iran with equipment that could be used to develop weapons of mass destruction. — AFP

GM mum on alliance :

DETROIT: The General Motors (GM) board of directors made no comment on whether the auto giant would accept its largest shareholder’s request for an independent evaluation of a possible alliance with Renault-Nissan (R-N). GM chairman and CEO had been expected to present the board with an update of the status of the talks with Renault-Nissan. — AFP

Chinese cabs in UK :

LONDON: The world-famous black London taxi cab will soon be seen on the streets of China after its maker announced a multi-million-pound deal on Wednesday to build 20,000 vehicles per year in Shanghai.

Specialist carmaker Manganese Bronze said it had agreed a $99.7 million joint-venture deal with Chinese automaker Zhejiang Geely Holdings to produce the black cab in eastern China. — AFP

Retail chain dispute :

BANGKOK: Nine large retail chains, mostly foreign-owned groups, have agreed to freeze their outlet expansion this month in a row with the Thai government and small shops. But British supermarket giant Tesco said it will go ahead with its expansion. Commerce ministry figures show that some 400 superstores control 60 per cent of Thailand’s $26 billion retail sector, up from 40 per cent in 2001. — AFP

Airbus delivery delay :

AMSTERDAM: Delivery of the first Airbus A380 superjumbo will be delayed for at least another 10 months, Airbus’s parent company EADS said, bringing the cost of successive delays to $6.12 billion. New Airbus head Christian Streiff said because of continuing problems related to electrical wiring, the A380 would not be delivered to its first customer, Singapore Airlines, until October 2007. — DPA

Gulf countries’ ratings :

PARIS: Moody’s Investors Service said on Wednesday it had upgraded its ratings for the long-term foreign and domestic currency government bonds of six Gulf countries, citing an improvement in their economies and the prudent use of oil revenues. The governments affected by the upgrade are Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. — AFP

Toshiba to sell stakes :

TOKYO: Japan’s Toshiba Corp will keep a stake of 77 per cent in US power plant maker Westinghouse, revising its plans to sell just under half after failing to find enough buyers. US engineering group Shaw will take a 20 per cent stake in Westinghouse for $1.08 billion while Japan’s Ishikawajima-Harima Industries Co will pay $162 million for three per cent. Toshiba announced a deal in February to buy Westinghouse from British Nuclear Fuels for $5.4 billion. — AFP