Weak orders point to sharp slowdown in US Arab Times by alicejenny


									                                                                                                                                                                                                                     ARAB TIMES, FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 2012
   BUSINESS                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          40

                             US lawmakers press for duties on China imports                                                                                         Canadian auto union reaches deal with Chrysler

   Eight US lawmakers urged                     to exclude Chinese solar panels           the intent of the petition that was              The Canadian Auto Workers union              The contracts cut wages for new        Canada was the most expensive
   President Barack Obama’s admin-              containing cells made in another          filed by the US industry, and invite             agreed to a new labor contract with       hires and freeze pay for current          place in the world to make cars and
   istration on Wednesday to broad-             country from preliminary duties of        the circumvention of the anti-dump-              Chrysler, ending weeks of talks           workers. But the contracts also           trucks, and warned they could
   en the scope of proposed duties              more than 30 percent.                     ing and countervailing duty orders,”             with the Detroit automakers and           give them lump-sum payments to            move production south if the CAW
   on billions of dollars of solar pan-           They argued that would allow            the lawmakers said.                              avoiding strikes and the possibility      cover inflation and for ratifying the     didn’t cut costs. The CAW repre-
   els from China, as the US govern-            Chinese solar panel producers to              SolarWorld America, an Oregon-               production will move to the United        deal.                                     sents about 21,000 auto workers in
   ment nears its final rulings in the          escape US duties by outsourcing           based subsidiary of Germany’s                    States.                                      Chrysler workers will vote on the      Canada and about 16 percent of
   case.                                        cell production to another country,       SolarWorld AG, has led the drive                   CAW President Ken Lewenza               deal this weekend. Ford workers           auto production in North America.
      The lawmakers, led by Oregon              even if the materials for the cells       for the United States to impose                  said    Wednesday      night   that       ratified their agreement last                Under the agreement new work-
   Democratic Senators Ron Wyden                come from China and the final solar       duties on Chinese-made solar                     Chrysler matched the four-year            Sunday and GM workers are voting          ers will receive 60 percent of the
   and Jeff Merkley, criticized an earli-       panels are assembled there.               products, which it says are unfairly             agreements the union reached with         Wednesday and Thursday.                   current top wage of $33.89
   er Commerce Department decision                “This would appear to undermine         priced and subsidized. (RTRS)                    Ford and GM this month.                      The auto companies had said            Canadian dollars (US$34.74). (AP)

                                                                                           American exports to GCC total nearly $38 bln

US, Gulf countries agree to strengthen trade ties
The United States on Thursday said                                                                           ‘Advanced world may experience another downturn’
it has signed a framework agreement
with Saudi Arabia and other mem-
bers of the Gulf Cooperation
Council to explore ways to boost
trade and investment with the oil-
                                               Developing economies should brace for shocks, warns IMF
rich region.                                   WASHINGTON, Sept 27, (AFP):                 study found.                                global economy, and the US fiscal cliff      adopted inflation targeting and flexible       Growth in the emerging market and
   The GCC also includes Bahrain,              Emerging market and developing                 But the relative calm since the glob-    — automatic tax increases and                exchange rates, the IMF noted, and          developing countries bounced back
Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the United             economies should brace against              al economy exited recession in 2009         spending cuts at year-end — are              made their fiscal and monetary poli-        from the global financial crisis, fueling
Arab Emirates. Total two-way trade             looming risks from Europe and the           could       prove     short-lived,    the   expected to sharply slow already             cies more countercyclical, allowing         talk of a decoupling from the
between the United States and the              United States, the IMF said in a report     Washington-based global lender              tepid growth in the world’s largest          them to stimulate and cool growth as        advanced economies’ woes.
                                               Thursday.                                   warned.                                     economy.                                     necessary.                                     The crisis in Europe has already
GCC totaled almost $100 billion last              Over the past decade, less devel-           “There is a significant risk that          In addition, the IMF cautioned                “Further spikes in global uncertain-     slowed growth in the major emerging
year, with the US running about a              oped economies had longer uninter-          advanced economies could experi-            about the risks of external shocks,          ty are possible, and sudden stops           market economies this year, notably
$24 billion trade deficit.                     rupted growth and shallower down-           ence another significant downturn, as       such as a decline in commodity prices        could emerge once again if greater          in China, India and Brazil.
   “This important trade and invest-           turns than their developed counter-         continuing sovereign and banking            and sudden stops in capital inflows          risk aversion leads to capital out-            “There’s still monetary policy to do
ment agreement will help to grow               parts, the International Monetary           tensions in Europe and the so-called        and, domestically, from credit booms.        flows” from emerging market and             something about the economy,” said
                                               Fund said in its latest World               fiscal cliff in the United States threat-     “To guard against such risks, these        developing economies, the IMF said.         Jorg Decressin, IMF deputy director
and strengthen our economic ties               Economic Outlook report.                    en to put the brakes on growth,” the        economies will need to rebuild their         If the external situation worsens,          of research, at a news conference
with the Gulf Cooperation Council,                Better policies and less frequent        IMF said.                                   buffers to ensure that they have ade-        “these economies will likely end up         launching the report.
which is a key strategic US partner            economic shocks contributed to the             For the IMF, public debt-strapped        quate policy space,” it said.                ‘recoupling’       with      advanced          But, he noted, some economies
in the Middle East and North Africa            record-setting performance, the IMF         Europe remains the biggest risk to the        Many of those economies have               economies.”                                 “have more room for maneuver.”
region,” US Trade Representative
Ron Kirk said in a statement.
   US goods exports to the GCC                 electrical machinery, and optical and       $62 billion of oil, aluminum, fertil-         US foreign direct investment in              The United States already has             and investment framework agree-
totaled nearly $38 billion in 2011,            medical instruments.                        izers, organic chemicals and other          GCC countries was $23.5 billion in           free trade agreements with Oman             ments with the four other GCC
led by vehicles, machinery, aircraft,            The United States imported nearly         goods from the region last year.            2010, USTR said.                             and Bahrain and individual trade            members.

                   Shell seeks balanced PIB
                                                                                           ‘Weak’ orders point to sharp
   Nigeria bill may make
   projects ‘non-viable’
   LAGOS, Sept 27, (RTRS): Shell               the PIB will either enable or strangle
                                                                                           slowdown in US manufacturing
   thinks the tax terms in a landmark          that competitiveness,” Sunmonu
   Nigerian oil bill are so uncompetitive      said.                                                                                      New jobless claims fall to 2-month low
   they risk rendering offshore oil and           Little is known about secretive
   gas projects unviable, the firm’s man-      terms on offshore contracts, analysts
   aging director and industry sources         say the terms for onshore are much          WASHINGTON, Sept 27, (RTRS): Orders for long-last-                                       dived 13.2 percent, the largest drop since January 2009, when the econ-
   said.                                       more favorable than the deals in exis-
                                                                                           ing US manufactured goods fell sharply in August, sug-                                   omy was in the throes of a recession. The decline primarily reflected
      Nigerian President Goodluck              tence now.                                                                                                                           weak demand for aircraft and automobiles, although orders were down
   Jonathan approved the latest draft of
   the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) last
                                                  Nigeria exports some 2 million
                                               barrels per day (bpd) of oil, but could
                                                                                           gesting the main engine of economic growth was stalling                                  for a wide range of goods.
   month, and parliament is expected to        double that with a better-managed           and offsetting the hopeful sign provided by a drop in new                                     Excluding transportation, orders were off 1.6 percent.
   open debate over the next few weeks.        industry, foreign oil majors say. They                                                                                                    “It just shows the manufacturing side of the economy continues to labor
      In comments from a stakeholders’         also say fiscal terms need to compen-       claims for jobless benefits.                                                               here, and in fact, contract,” said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment officer at
   forum that Shell — Nigeria’s leading        sate them for the extra security risks         The Commerce Department said on Thursday durable goods orders Solaris Group in Bedford Hills, New York. Economists polled by Reuters had
   oil producer — sent to Reuters on           of operating here such as piracy, kid-                                                                                                                                            expected orders for durable goods —
   Wednesday, Shell Nigeria Managing           napping and oil theft by armed gangs.                                                                                                                                             items from toasters to aircraft that are
   Director Mutiu Sunmonu welcomed                An amnesty ended political mili-                                                                                                                                               meant to last at least three years — to
   the bill’s arrival in parliament, but       tancy in the oil-rich Niger Delta in
   warned it may stifle investment if its      2009, but industrial scale oil theft                                                                                                                                              fall 5 percent, with non-transporta-
   terms are not improved.                     continues.                                                                                                                                                                        tion orders rising marginally.
      “A balanced PIB is what is                                                                                                                                                                                                 Underscoring the economy’s weak-
   required — one that will provide                                                                                                                                                                                              ness, the government revised its
   optimal revenue to the government              “All of this has had a huge impact                                                                                                                                             measure of second-quarter growth to
   whilst providing sufficient incentives      on both cost and revenues, but we                                                                                                                                                 just a 1.3 percent annual pace from
   for new investment to fuel growth,”         can live with them ... provided the
                                               underlying fiscal regime is positive,”                                                                                                                                            1.7 percent, largely to reflect the
   Sunmonu said. It must also “take                                                                                                                                                                                              impact a drought in the Midwest had
   local business challenges into consid-      Sunmonu added.
   eration as well as the impact on exist-        A bill seeking to overhaul                                                                                                                                                     on farm inventories.
   ing investments,” he added.                 Nigeria’s oil sector would lead to a                                                                                                                                                 Housing has been one of the econ-
      “What we have seen of the draft          halt in new investments if passed in                                                                                                                                              omy’s relative bright spots, but a
   PIB to date does not indicate a bill        its current form due to onerous fiscal                                                                                                                                            report showing that contracts to buy
   that fits these criteria,” he said.         terms, the head of ExxonMobil’s                                                                                                                                                   previously owned US homes fell in
      If it becomes law, the bill should       Nigeria operations said Thursday.                                                                                                                                                 August provided a counterpoint to
   end years of regulatory uncertainty            Mark Ward, who also leads a
                                               grouping of oil majors operating in                                                                                                                                               other recent data on housing that has
   that has blocked billions of dollars of                                                                                                                                                                                       shown activity picking up.
   investment in this West African coun-       Africa’s top producer, said industry
   try.                                        players shared the view that the cur-                                                                                                                                                However, not all the news on
      The PIB is meant to overhaul             rent bill jeopardises Nigeria’s bid to                                                                                                                                            Thursday was downbeat.
   everything from fiscal terms to the         boost new investment and output.                                                                                                                                                                  Claims
   state-owned Nigerian National                  New investment in Nigeria’s oil
                                               industry has already been limited in                                                                                                                                                 A separate report from the Labor
   Petroleum Corp (NNPC). Its compre-
   hensive nature has sparked disputes         recent years due to lingering uncer-                                                                                                                                              Department showed the number of
   between lawmakers, ministers and            tainty over the bill.                                                                                                                                                             Americans filing new claims for job-
   the oil majors that have held it back          “Quite frankly, the extremely large                                                                                                                                            less benefits fell 26,000 last week to
   for more than five years. A previous        investments that are needed are seri-                                                                                                                                             a two-month low of 359,000. The
   draft never got through parliament.         ously at risk under the proposed PIB                                                                                                                                              four-week moving average for new
                                               (Petroleum Industry Bill) terms,” he                                                                                                                                              claims, a better measure of labor
                  Secure                       told a forum on the bill in the eco-
       “The current draft PIB requires         nomic capital Lagos.                                                                                                                                                              market trends fell for the first time
   significant improvement to secure              If the bill passes without signifi-                                                                                                                                            after five weeks of increases.
   Nigeria’s            competitiveness,”      cant changes, “the government’s             File photo shows Scott Richards of Saint Anselm College looks over possible jobs during a career fair for college students               The labor market has been mired in
   Sunmonu warned. “As it stands right         aspirations to grow the business and        in Manchester, NH. With college enrollment growing, student debt has stretched to a record number of US households —                  weakness with worries about higher
   now the PIB will render all deepwa-         the industry will not be met,” he said.     nearly 1 in 5 — with the biggest burdens falling on the young and poor, according to a study based on the Survey of                   taxes and deep government spending
   ter projects and all dry gas projects ...      Oil Minister Diezani Alison-             Consumer Finances released, Sept 26. Because of the sluggish economy, fewer college students than before are able to                  cuts in January, ongoing debt prob-
   non-viable.”                                Madueke has described the bill as           settle into full-time careers immediately upon graduation, contributing to a jump in debt among lower-income households
                                                                                                                      as the young adults take on part-time jobs or attend graduate school. (AP)                                 lems in Europe and slowing global
       But Magnus Abe, chair of the            fair to the government, oil firms and                                                                                                                                             growth leading employers to be cau-
   Senate petroleum committee, said            Nigerians, who have long pushed for
   Shell would have a fair chance to           a fairer shake from an industry that                                                                                                                                              tious about ramping up hiring.
   give input to the PIB before it is
                                               has left the country’s Niger Delta
                                               region badly polluted.
                                                                                                               Firms agree to settle computer spying charges                                                                        Sluggish job gains and stubbornly
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 high unemployment spurred the
       “Anybody — any Nigerian, any               Legislation to reform Nigeria’s                                                                                                                                                Federal Reserve this month into
   stakeholder — has the right to com-
   ment on the bill on or before the pub-
   lic hearing,” he told Reuters.
                                               much criticised oil sector was first
                                               introduced in 2008.
                                                  President Goodluck Jonathan sent
                                                                                           US Bank admits ‘attacks’, says data safe                                                                                              launching a third round of bond pur-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 chases to drive down already low
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 interest rates. The US central bank
       In the current draft, oil companies     a fresh version of the bill to parlia-      NEW YORK, Sept 27, (Agencies): US            ing closely with federal law enforcement                        Also:
                                                                                           Bank acknowledged Thursday its website       officials.” PNC Bank, another firm men-                                                  vowed to buy $40 billion worth of
   will pay 50 percent profit tax for          ment in July that lays out immense                                                                                                     WASHINGTON: A software program mortgage-backed securities each
   onshore and shallow areas and a 25          changes to the industry and restruc-        was the target of “attacks” aimed at dis-    tioned in the threat, said its site was expe- developed to track the locations of rented
   percent levy for frontier acreage and       tures the state oil firm, widely seen as    rupting its system but that customer data    riencing problems on Thursday, but did                                                   month until it sees a sustained upturn
                                                                                                                                                                                      computers secretly collected confidential  in the labor market.
   deepwater areas. Current taxes on           corruption-riddled.                         and financial information were not com-      not elaborate. “Some customers may            and personal information about con-
   both were not disclosed.                       Ward argued that the new bill            promised.                                    experience difficulty logging in on the       sumers, including medical records, bank       Mortgage       finance     company
       An industry source, who could not       could push the government take from            The eighth largest US banking firm said   first attempt, but in general, customers      statements and even web cam pictures of    Freddie Mac said those purchases
   be named, said the deepwater profit         oil revenue to above 90 percent of all      it was hit by a denial-of-service attack,    have access to their accounts,” a state-      couples engaged in sex, the Federal Trade  helped push the average rate on a 30-
   tax was a worse deal than most oil          revenue.                                    which came after a threat against US         ment from the bank said.                      Commission said Tuesday in a settlement    year fixed rate mortgage down to a
   majors were getting on existing deep-          “Nigeria is already one of the most      financial companies from a group pledg-         “PNC has taken appropriate action to       that bars eight companies from any fur-    record low of 3.40 percent this week.
   water projects.                             onerous fiscal regimes and now the          ing retaliation for an online video that has maintain customer service in response to      ther cyber spying.                            In a preliminary estimate of an
       Since the PIB is supposed to gov-       government wants to make it                 sparked unrest in the Muslim world.          the difficulty experienced by other banks        The case involved seven rental compa-
   ern these retrospectively, the compa-       tougher?...That is something we                                                                                                                                                   upcoming annual revision to its main
                                                                                              “The attacks yesterday involved           over the past two weeks.”                     nies and a firm called DesignerWare LLC
   nies would lose earnings on such            don’t understand,” Ward said.               unusual and coordinated high traffic vol-       Wells Fargo’s website was experienc-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 employment measures, the Labor
                                                                                                                                                                                      of North East, Pennsylvania, which         Department said it likely undercount-
   existing investments, he said,                 Any hopes of expanding lucrative         ume designed to slow down the system.        ing problems Tuesday and Wednesday.           licensed its PC Rental Agent software to
   although there was no disagreement          offshore production would be                Customer personal and financial informa-        The problems arose after a group call-     stores so they could shut off and recover
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 ed job growth in the 12 months
   over onshore.                               quashed if the bill passes unchanged,       tion were not compromised,” said a state-    ing itself “Cyber fighters of Izz ad-din Al   computers that hadn’t been returned in     through March by 386,000.
       Sunmonu also expressed concern          Ward said.                                  ment from Nicole Garrison-Sprenger at        qassam” announced that three banks            time or had been stolen.                      But the good news on the labor
   over the terms on projects to unlock           “For deepwater: we’re done. There        the holding company US Bancorp.              would be targeted for the second week of         But the software could do much more     market was eclipsed by the weak
   Nigeria’s huge latent natural gas           are no investments that can be sup-            The statement said the attacks caused     “Operation Ababil.”                                                                      durable goods report.
   potential for domestic use in power         ported under the current terms of the                                                                                                  than that, the commission said. When an
                                                                                           “intermittent delays” but did not take          The Site Intelligence Group, which         add-on program known as Detective             Orders for non-defense capital
   plants. The country has 187 trillion        PIB,” Ward said.                            down the company’s website or mobile         monitors threats from the so-called
   cubic feet of proven gas reserves, he          Nigeria’s house recently ended a                                                                                                    Mode was activated, the software could     goods excluding aircraft, a proxy for
                                                                                           application.                                 “global jihadist network,” said the group     capture computer screen shots, furtively   business spending plans, rose 1.1
   said.                                       recess and lawmakers have said the             “Our systems are performing well          had posted a message warning against
       “A bad PIB will deter investment        bill is among the first items to be                                                                                                    take photos using the computer’s web-      percent in August, only partly revers-
   ... Nigeria needs to compete — and          debated in the new session.                 today, but we are continuing to monitor      attacks on Wells Fargo on Tuesday, US         cam, log key strokes and trick consumers   ing a 5.2 percent slide the prior
                                                                                           the situation and take any precautions we    Bank on Wednesday and PNC Bank on             into providing personal contact informa-
                                                                                           deem necessary,” she said. “We are work-     Thursday.                                     tion, according to the FTC.                month.

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