Sydney, Feb 12, 2009 AEST (ABN Newswire) - Yesterday Asian share markets ended broadly lower after Wall Street's massive sell-off over the revised proposal to shore up U.S. banks. Japanese markets were closed for a public holiday. Hong Hong's Hang Seng Index dropped 2.5%, while South Korea's Kospi gave up 0.7%.

Today Seoul and Tokyo markets opened lower despite the rebound in the US. Hong Kong and Shanghai shares are likely to be volatile on the weak trade data from mainland China.

Asia Economy Watch

Bank of Korea today cut its main interest rate by a half-percentage point to a record low of 2%. It is the central bank's sixth cut in four months and more aggressive than many economists expected.

China's export totalled 90.45 billion US dollars in January, down 17.5 percent year on year. It is the third consecutive month for China's export to see a decline. Economists forecast the export will continue sliding in the future due to the weak overseas demand.

Japanese wholesale prices fell 0.2 percent in January from a year earlier for the first year-on-year decline in five years and one month due to sharp declines in oil and raw material import prices, stoking deflation fears in the country, the Bank of Japan said.

Company News

India's Tata Teleservices Maharashtra (BOM:532371) said yesterday the open offer to its shareholders by Japanese telecom major NTT DoCoMo (TYO:9437) has been rescheduled to February 19. In November last year, NTT DoCoMo said it would launch an open offer for a 20 per cent stake in Tata Teleservices.

The Taiwan-based Hon Hai Precision Industry (TPE:2317) reported its sales revenue of NT$92.395 billion for January, dropping 24.3% from December 2008 or 12.1% from a year earlier. But the company's Chairman Terry Gou said Wednesday the company won't post a net loss in 2009.

Woori Finance Holdings Co.(SEO:053000), South Korea's top financial services company, said Thursday its 2008 earnings tumbled 76.6 percent from a year earlier due to higher loan-loss reserves.

The Indian arm of Australia's Babcock & Brown Ltd. (ASX:BNB), Babcock and Brown India Pvt. Ltd., is shutting its India operations as part of the parent company's global restructuring.

India's Tata Communications Ltd. (BOM:500483.BY) is said to invest US$430 million in Asia including Singapore to build an Internet data center and a cable system.

Yesterday shares of Toshiba Corp.(TYO:6502) rose 3.1% after the company disclosed it has teamed up with two other Japanese companies to purchase a 19.95% stake in Canadian miner Uranium One (TSE:UUU). Toshiba hopes to sell the uranium to customers for whom it builds nuclear power plants.

China Railway Construction Corp. (HKG:1186) said today it has signed a contract with a Saudi Arabia government unit to build a railway for A$1.77 billion.


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

Related Companies

Woori Finance Holdings Co., Ltd.       
Uranium One, Inc.       
Toshiba Corporation       
Tata Teleservices (Maharashtra) Limited       
Tata Communications Limited       
NTT DoCoMo        
Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., Ltd.       
China Railway Construction Corp Limited      
Babcock & Brown Limited        

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