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Monthly Archives: November 2011

Analyst: Hong Kong Entered Recession Last Quarter

Hong Kong’s economy, a barometer of global growth, probably sank into recession with a contraction in the third quarter, according to Daiwa Capital Markets Ltd. and Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd.

Gross domestic product shrank 1.5 percent from the previous quarter, seasonally adjusted, said Kevin Lai, a Hong Kong-based economist at Daiwa. The report is due Nov. 11. Lai came closest in a Bloomberg News survey to predicting the 0.5 percent contraction in the second quarter.”

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Top Banks May Face a 2.5% Surcharge From G20 Basel Regulation

Citigroup Inc. (C), JPMorgan Chase & Co., BNP Paribas SA, Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, and HSBC Holdings Plc (HSBA) may face top capital surcharges of 2.5 percentage points, according to a provisional list prepared by global regulators and obtained by Bloomberg News.

The list was drawn up as part of plans by the Group of 20 nations to force banks whose failure could damage the global economy to boost their reserves by 1 to 2.5 percentage points above minimum levels agreed on by international regulators. Bank of America Corp. (BAC),Barclays Plc (BARC) and Germany’s biggest bank Deutsche Bank AG (DBK) may face surcharges of 2 percentage points, according to the list.

“You’re saying by virtue of being a bigger bank, you’re going to have to pay for that,” Joseph R. Mason, a finance professor at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, said in a telephone interview. “You’re creating an incentive for big banks to hide even more risk to get the surcharge reduced.”

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U.S. Seeks to Lower Tariffs on Environmental Goods and Services; China Calls the Push Too Ambitious

“Rejecting criticism by China that the Obama administration’s goals for this week’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit are too ambitious, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said the U.S. will “push the envelope” to promote trade in renewable energy technology.

Kirk is seeking an agreement with 20 other APEC nations to lower tariffs on environmental goods and services, a move supported by companies such as General Electric Co. (GE) and Applied Materials Inc. (AMAT) The U.S. has pushed for free trade in those products as part of the stalled Doha Round of World Trade Organization talks.

“I understand China may be uncomfortable with it,” Kirk said yesterday in an interview in Washington. “We’re always going to try to push the envelope and encourage our partners to be more assertive, more forward-thinking. We don’t serve the interests of American entrepreneurs and innovators if we go in and always see the floor as the highest level of ambition.”

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The Swiss Central Bank is Ready to Act as They Deem Swiss Franc Overvalued

“Swiss central bank Vice President Thomas Jordan said the franc remains “overvalued” and policy makers are ready to take further measures if needed.

“The minimum exchange-rate is a measure that was taken in a crisis where there was no other possibility to curb the franc’s appreciation,” Jordan said at a conference today in Lucerne, Switzerland. “We’ve always said that it’s a minimum exchange-rate and not an exchange-rate target versus the euro. At the moment, the franc remains highly valued, overvalued, and should depreciate again over time.”

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Judge blocks cigarette graphic images on packaging

About time someone got common sense and struck this down.

WASHINGTON (AP) — A judge on Monday blocked a federal requirement that would have begun forcing tobacco companies next year to put graphic images including dead and diseased smokers on their cigarette packages.

U.S. District Judge Richard Leon ruled that it’s likely the cigarette makers will succeed in a lawsuit to block the requirement. He stopped the requirement until the lawsuit is resolved, which could take years.

Leon found the nine graphic images approved by the Food and Drug Administration in June go beyond conveying the facts about the health risks of smoking or go beyond that into advocacy — a critical distinction in a case over free speech.

The packaging would have included color images of a man exhaling cigarette smoke through a tracheotomy hole in his throat; a plume of cigarette smoke enveloping an infant receiving a mother’s kiss; a pair of diseased lungs next to a pair of healthy lungs; a diseased mouth afflicted with what appears to be cancerous lesions; a man breathing into an oxygen mask; a cadaver on a table with post-autopsy chest staples; a woman weeping; a premature baby in an incubator; and a man wearing a T-shirt that features a “No Smoking” symbol and the words “I Quit”

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