Oil prices rise again

SINGAPORE: Oil prices rose on Wednesday as traders nervously watched a tropical storm in the Caribbean and the fighting in the Middle East, fearing supply threats. Light sweet crude for September delivery was up to $75.29 a barrel in midafternoon Asian electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. September Brent rose to $76.32 a barrel at London’s ICE Futures exchange. — AP

$22.04b P’pine budget

MANILA: Philippine president Gloria Arroyo will seek a national budget of $22.04 billion in 2007 to support a massive investment programme. Budget Secretary Rolando Andaya said the 2007 budget proposal was a pro-growth measure that increases spending in all areas except for debt service, thanks to robust tax collection. The government has announced an infrastructure programme. — AFP

Australia hikes rates

SYDNEY: Australia’s central bank raised interest rates by 25 basis points to a six-year high of six per cent on Wednesday in an effort to head off inflationary pressures in a booming economy. The widely-anticipated move by the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) board came after the headline annual inflation rate hit four per cent in the June quarter, well above the bank’s overall target range of two to three per cent. — AFP

Loan for Indonesia

MANILA: The ADB announced on Wednesday it had signed a $350 million private sector loan to help develop a natural gas project in Indonesia. The loan to the Tangguh Liquified Natural Gas Project in Irian Jaya will help in the building and operation of gas production wells, platforms and a liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility. The facility will export gas initially to China, South Korea and the West Coast of North America. — AFP

BoJ plan to hike rate

TOKYO: A top Bank of Japan (BoJ) official suggested on Wednesday there is room for another interest rate hike by year’s end, saying the central bank’s policy of slow adjustments doesn’t preclude further increases in the next several months. BoJ board member Atsushi Mizuno, speaking in the southwestern city of Fukuoka, reiterated the central bank’s pledge to move its key rate slowly in the wake of last month’s increase to 0.25 per cent from virtually zero, the first increase in six years. — AP

Japan, US unions’ ties

DETROIT: Japan’s auto workers would like to join forces with US unions, a leader of the Confederation of Japanese Auto Workers said. Labour leaders of both countries need a common agenda, according to Isao Yoshida, the leader of a JAW delegation touring North America. Yoshida sidestepped a question on whether Japanese workers would

assist the US United Auto Workers as they try to organise US workers at plants operated here by Honda, Nissan and Toyota. — AFP

BMW on cruise mode

FRANKFURT: Automaker BMW AG said on Wednesday that its second-quarter net profit climbed by more than 17 per cent amid a healthy rise in sales. The Munich-based company said it earned $1 billion or $1.53 a share, in the April-June period. Sales rose by eight per cent to $16.8 billion from euro12.16 billion. — AP

Fake products seized

KATHMANDU: Police in cooperation with Unilever Nepal Ltd has confiscated fake Fair & Lovely beauty cream from Gongabu Bus Park area. Issuing a press release on Wednesday, Unilever Nepal — the makers of Fair & Lovely, Sunsilk shampoo, Lux soap and Vim powder — said that the fake beauty cream produced in India, Malaysia and Arabian countries were confiscated from the market. The company has requested the customers to inform if they find such fake products being sold in the market. Legal action has already been initiated to those involved in sales and imports of fake products. — HNS