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Distributed: Feb 20, 2009

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Sydney, Feb 20, 2009 (ABN Newswire) - Asian markets mostly ended higher Thursday. Japan's Nikkei 225 ended up 0.3%, as exporters cheered for a recent weakness in the yen. Shanghai Composite rose 0.8% and Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index was also slightly higher in a choppy trade session. But South Korea stocks ended down the fourth day this week. The sustainability of the rising streak could be a question amid the negative outlook in global markets. Today Seoul shares opened 3 per cent lower, dragged by the financial sector.

Asia Economy Watch

Korea plans to set up a corporate restructuring fund to buy bad assets from local financial institutions and companies. The envisioned corporate restructuring fund will be financed through the issue of government-guaranteed bonds.

It is reportedly that China is considering setting aside funds to support companies pursuing mining resources abroad, as part of a stimulus plan for the steel industry. The Chinese government will encourage large companies to develop overseas mines independently or in the form of joint ventures, in order to secure resources assets.

Company News

Hong Kong Resources Holdings Co. (HKG:2882) said in a statement today that privately held Chinachem Group bought a 9.34% stake in it for HK$120 million, or 100 million shares for HK$1.20 each.

Idemitsu Kosan Co. (TYO:5019) will be working with Japan Wind Development Co. (TYO3:2766) to set up wind turbines and provide power to businesses. This would be the first large-scale effort in Japan to sell green electricity to companies not involved in power generation.

China Aviation Oil (Singapore) Corp (SIN:C47) has tendered to buy 115,000-225,000 tonnes of jet fuel for end-March to April delivery, market sources said on Friday.

Toyota (TYO:7203) said Friday it will further suspend production in Japan to cope with slumping global demand and mounting inventories of unsold vehicles, after the company shutting down output for 14 days at its 11 domestic plants during the first three months of this year.

Singapore beverage and property conglomerate Fraser & Neave's (SIN:F27) stock tumbled sharply after news that its long-standing franchise agreements with The Coca- Cola Company Inc would not be extended. The company has associated with Coca-Cola more than 70 years.

Mitsubishi Corp. (TYO:8058) will acquire 33.4 per cent of an Indonesian nickel mining project for about 13.5 billion yen from French firm Eramet SA(EPA:ERA).

Japan's Bridgestone Corp. (TYO:5108) plans to cut tire production by 21.5 per cent on the year to 1.46 million tons in 2009 as part of its response to declining global demand.

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Michelle Liang
Asia Business News Asia Bureau
Tel: +61-2-9247-4344

  Related Companies

>>>        Bridgestone Corporation
>>>        China Aviation Oil (Singapore) Corp. Ltd
>>>      Eramet SA
>>>        Fraser and Neave Limited
>>>        Hong Kong Resources Holdings Co.
>>>        Idemitsu Kosan
>>>        Japan Wind Development Co., Ltd.
>>>          Mitsubishi Corporation
>>>           Toyota Motor Corporation

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