Wednesday, January 09, 2008

US stocks continue downward slide

US stocks continue downward slide

New York (dpa) - US stocks continued their poor start to 2008 Tuesday amid fresh housing price warnings and rising commodity and energy prices.

President George W Bush said the weak housing market was a continuing cause of concern for the economy as a whole, while Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said he did not expect the drop in home values to come to an end any time soon.

"There is no evidence it is bottoming," Paulson told broadcaster CNBC. "The evidence would be that it has further to run."

Gold reached a record price of 884 dollars before tailing back later in the day and crude oil rose more than 1 per cent to 96.33 dollars a barrel in New York. Crude oil for February delivery hit a record 100.09 dollars per barrel Thursday.

Unemployment last week reached 5 per cent, its highest level in two years, sending stocks to their worst opening week in recent memory. A reprieve on Monday appeared to only be temporary.

The benchmark Standard & Poor's 500 Index dropped 25.99 points, or 1.84 per cent, to 1,390.19. The blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 238.42 points, or 1.86 per cent, to 12,589.07. The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index collapsed by 58.95 points, or 2.36 per cent, to 2,440.51.

The US dollar inched lower to 67.99 euro cents in New York from 68.07 euro cents Monday, and to 108.91 Japanese yen from 109.17 yen.

Gold rose 18.30 dollars to 880.30 dollars per fine ounce, after reaching a record 884 dollars earlier in the day.

06:57 Jan 09, 2008

Cabinet approves billions for Swedish jets

The cabinet has approved the procurement by the Royal Thai Air Force of six Swedish-made Gripen jet fighters with a cost of 19 billion baht.

Government spokesman Chaiya Yimwilai said the air force earlier planned to buy six US-made F-5E fighters but finally chose the Swedish jets for deployment as multi-role combat aircraft.

The package deal includes spare parts and flight training programmes. (TNA

23:05 Jan 08, 2008

Higher fuel costs not affecting industry

Surging oil prices have not adversely affected industrial factories since they have already adjusted their production costs in preparation for the situation, according to a senior official of the Industrial Economics Office.

Atchaka Sibunrueng Brimble, IEO director-general, said that factories were aware of the oil price hike and the economic slowdown in the United States.

To prepare for the unfavourable situation, each factory had restructured its production cost by shifting to count more on alternative energy such as natural gas.

She said the factories had also adjusted their logistics systems in a bid to reduce their transport costs.

To improve their logistics, she said, the government must give continued support and help boost competitiveness of Thailand's factories.

She added the Industry Ministry had already set aside a budget of about Bt500 million for 2008 to help promote their competitive edge.

Mrs. Atchaka projected the combined production capacity of industries will continue to grow from last year to 68 per cent since exports to major destinations other than the United States which also face an economic slowdown remain sound.

She believed the electronics, automotive, food, petrochemicals, and textile industries would remain major sectors for exports. (TNA)

17:35 Jan 08, 2008

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