Making a profit in Burma

European companies operating in Burma face all sorts of pitfalls – pressure from their governments, campaigns by activists, boycotts by customers. So why do so many continue to work there?

Companies exist to make money, and there are plenty of opportunities to turn a profit in Burma.

But the US and several other nations have squeezed most of their firms out of Burma by maintaining tough sanctions.

Europe has imposed arms embargoes, asset freezes, import bans and penalties for companies knowingly supporting military activity or repression.

But there is no blanket ban on firms investing in the country – so travel agents, insurance firms, haulage companies, energy firms and telecom conglomerates can continue to work there.

In fact, doing business with the junta is “not so different from most other places”, according to one Western executive who has worked with the generals.

Analysis

Basically, Burma being a third-world country with a political crisis gives MNC’s (Multi National Corporations) a chance to exploit workers and the resources of the country. The military rule also makes more money out of this as the companies give them much more money than they give to the poorer people working in Burma. Hence, the economic growth for individuals or for the countries society.

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Ford’s third-quarter profits jump to $1.7bn

US motor company Ford has reported net income of $1.7bn (£1.08bn) for the third quarter, a rise of 68% on the same period a year ago.

The company’s improved performance came as it increased its share of the US market and buyers paid more for its cars and trucks.

It was Ford’s sixth straight quarterly profit.

Ford chief Alan Mulally said that new cars and aggressive cost-cutting had helped to boost profits.

‘Growing product strength’

“This was another strong quarter and we continue to gain momentum with our One Ford [transformation] plan,” said Mr Mulally, Ford’s president and chief executive.

“Delivering world class products and aggressively restructuring our business has enabled us to profitably grow even at low industry volumes in key regions.

Japan ready to intervene again on strong yen

TOKYO — Japan on Friday voiced concern over the rise of the yen to fresh 15-year highs against the dollar and signalled it was ready to wade back into markets to intervene amid fears of a global devaluation battle.

“I am very concerned about the current situation,” Prime Minister Naoto Kan told parliament when asked about the yen’s strength, which puts Japan’s growth-driving exporters at a disadvantage by making their products more expensive overseas.

“We will take decisive steps when necessary, from the perspective of curbing excessive fluctuations in exchange rates,” Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda told a regular press conference.

Amid expectations the US Federal Reserve will adopt further easing measures to pump more liquidity into the world’s largest economy and further weaken the dollar, the unit Thursday plunged to fresh 15-year lows against the yen.

A surprise policy tightening move by Singaporean authorities to widen the trading band of its currency on Thursday also added to pressure on the greenback and pushed the Singaporean unit to record highs.

On Friday the dollar stood at 81.42 yen, little changed from 81.44 in New York Thursday, after the unit earlier plunged to a 15-year low of 80.89 yen.

 

China’s trade surplus falls to $16.9bn

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-11530198

The gap between China’s imports and exports narrowed in September, official data has shown.

But analysts say the decline is unlikely to ease the pressure on Beijing to strengthen its currency.

The US has been among its strongest critics, claiming China deliberately undervalues the yuan, boosting China’s exports by making them cheap.

China’s trade surplus fell to a five-month low of $16.9bn (£10.7bn), down from $20bn in August.

Exports rose 25.1% year-on-year in September to $145bn, but the pace of growth was slower than the 34.4% growth seen in August.

Imports rose 24.1% year-on-year to a record high of $128.1bn, compared with August’s growth of 35.2%.

US creates $30bn small business fund

The US Senate has backed a bill that will establish a $30bn (£19.5bn) fund for small businesses.

President Obama’s Democrats won a 61-38 vote to pass the legislation, with backing from two Republicans.

The measure is designed to help open up lending for small businesses, cut their taxes and boost Small Business Administration loan programmes.

The new loan fund would be available to community banks to encourage lending to small businesses.

Supporters say banks should be able to use the fund to access up to $300bn in loans.

Coffee prices on the rise

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — You may soon find yourself paying more for your morning coffee – if you aren’t already.

A trifecta of bad news has sent coffee futures soaring 44% since June, and companies such as Dunkin’ Donuts, Green Mountain and Maxwell House are passing on those costs.

Bad weather in South America is threatening crops. Brazil and top exporter Vietnam are talking about hoarding their stocks. And U.S. stockpiles are reportedly at 10-year lows.

That means higher prices for U.S. coffee companies, which, in turn, may mean higher prices for consumers.

Asia Slowdown to Have `Serious’ on Affect Europe, Economy Chief Rehn Says

Slower economic growth in China, India or other Asian economies would have a “serious negative impact” on Europe’s growth, the European Union’s economic chief said.

Olli Rehn, the EU commissioner for economic and monetary affairs, said yesterday in a Bloomberg Television interview that a slowdown in the U.S. recovery and turmoil in the sovereign debt markets also could cause concern in Europe.

Strengthening global growth helped Europe’s economy show the fastest expansion in four years in the second quarter after the Greek budget crisis earlier damped confidence in the euro currency and forced governments to step up deficit-cutting measures. Euro-area growth is likely to decelerate in the second half of the year as signs of a slowdown in the U.S. and China dim export prospects.

In the U.S., the world’s biggest economy, the Commerce Department may revise lower its second-quarter growth rate to the slowest since the recovery began, according to the median forecast of economists in a Bloomberg News survey. China’s expansion eased to 10.3 percent in the second quarter and industrial production cooled more than forecast in June, data showed last month, signaling a deeper second-half slowdown.