Oil prices below $60

LONDON: World oil prices dived under $60 per barrel on Monday, striking the lowest levels for more than six months, as supply tensions continued to ease, dealers said. New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in November, sank by one dollar to 59.55 dollars per barrel in electronic deals before the official opening of the US market. That was the lowest value since March 9 and marked a fall of 24 per cent. — AFP

Koreas unlikely to talk

SEOUL: Economic talks between South and North Korea are unlikely to resume this month amid tensions over the North’s latest missile tests and nuclear weapons program, officials said on Monday. Both sides had agreed three months ago to resume the talks in Pyongyang in September. But no firm dates have been discussed with less than a week left until the end of September, according to officials at the South’s unification ministry. — AFP

Big surplus in France

PARIS: French finance minister Thierry Breton forecast that the government would post a five-billion-euro surplus this year, enabling the country to reduce its public debt. Speaking on France Europe Express, Breton said the 6.4-billion-dollar surplus would be “used entirely to pay down the debt.” The minister said that “in 2006 for the first time France will reduce its debt by two per centage points of GDP.” — AFP

Honda’s fuel-cell car

TOKYO: Honda Motor plans to launch a new hydorgen powered fuel-cell vehicle in Japan and the United States in 2008 as the battle for the “green” car market intensifies, a report said on Monday. The Japanese carmaker has improved its FCX Concept fuel-cell vehicle, making the power-generating mechanism 20 per cent smaller and 30 per cent lighter than that offered in 2002, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun said. Honda’s car will now be able to run for 570 km on a full tank of hydrogen. — AFP

Nissan sells truck unit

TOKYO: Nissan Motor Co said that it was cutting its capital ties with Nissan Diesel Motor, selling its remaining six per cent stake in the revitalised truck maker to Sweden’s Volvo AB. Volvo said separately that it was paying Nissan about 500 million kronor (69 million dollars) so as to boost its share in the Japanese truck maker from 13 per cent to 19 per cent. — AFP

P’ppines’ borrowings

MANILA: Foreign borrowing by Philippines government is expected fall by nearly 58 per cent to 130.7 billion pesos ($2.59 billion) next year as state revenues rise, Budget Secretary Rolando Andaya said. He said total 2007 borrowings would fall 26.49 per cent to 390.8 billion pesos, with foreign component down by 179.5 billion pesos to 130.7 billion pesos. — AFP

President at NCCCI

KATHMANDU: Rajesh Kaji Shrestha has been elected unopposed as the president of Nepal-China Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCCI) at the eight annual general meeting of the chamber held yesterday. The AGM also elected 25-member executive commitment. Dibya Kumar Shrestha, former president of NCCCI is also included in the executive committee. Similarly, Tribhuvandhar Tuladhar, Jyoti Kumar Begani and Rajubabu Shrestha have been elected as first vice-president, second vice-president and third vice-president, respectively. — HNS

Sharma off to Geneva

KATHMANDU: Dr Shankar Sharma, former vice-chairman of the National Planning Commission (NPC) is leaving for Geneva tomorrow to participate at the 53rd annual session of the Trade and Development meet of UNCTAD being held from September 28 to 29 in Geneva, says a press statement. At the meet he is to speak on Asian LDCs and on the importance of improving productive capacities. His main role during the meeting is to convince donors and development partners to increase their aid to LDCs. — HNS