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Sydney, Feb 2, 2009 AEST (ABN Newswire) - Asian markets are expected to drop after the plummet on Wall St. On Friday Japan's Nikkei stock average lost 3.1 per cent, sliding on economic woes and a tumble by Toshiba Corp after it was hit by news it may merge part of its chip operations, a loss forecast, and a ratings cut. The benchmark Hang Seng Index closed up 123.78 points, or 0.94 per cent, at 13,278.21. The Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchanges open today after the week-long Chinese New Year holidays.

Asia Economy Watch

South Korean exports in January dropped more than expected by a record 32.8 percent from a year earlier, official data showed on Monday, adding to economic gloom in the face of a deepening global recession. The Ministry of Knowledge Economy also said imports in January lost 32.1 percent over a year earlier.

Ministry of Finance of China revealed that the nation swung into deficit last year after a huge burst of government spending in the year's final weeks to combat the economic slowdown. Combined spending of central and local governments was 1.66 trillion yuan in December, up 30.8 per cent on a year earlier.

Company News

China Hydroelectric, a United States-based power company with assets on the mainland China, plans to raise as much as US$200 million from an initial public offering in Hong Kong, sources said.

Hyundai Kia Automotive Group said that January sales of Hyundai Motor Co.'s(SEO:005380) Chinese subsidiaries, Beijing Hyundai Motor Co. rose 35 percent from a year before to come in at 42,790 units, while that of Kia Motors' Corp.'s (SEO:000270) Chinese unit Dongfeng Yueda Kia Motor Co. increased 15 percent over the same period to be recorded at 17,607 units.

India's Suzlon Energy Ltd.(BOM:532667) posted a net loss in its fiscal third quarter, hurt by rising costs and a provision to conduct repair work at the wind-turbine maker's overseas plants. But Suzlon said it expects the industry's outlook to turn favorable by 2010 as easing credit and lower costs boost demand from the U.S., Europe, China and India.

Japan's Panasonic Corp(TYO:6752)(NYSE:PC) is likely to book a US$3.9 billion net loss in the business year ending in March on restructuring costs amid shrinking demand, a source said on Monday.

For the nine months ended Dec. 31, Japan's Mizuho Financial Group Inc. (TYO:8411)(NYSE:MFG) posted a consolidated net loss of 50.55 billion yen, a sharp deterioration from profit of 393 billion yen a year earlier.

South Korea's Posco (SEO:005490) said Monday it will cut steel production by about 200,000 metric tons in February to keep inventories low amid a slump in global demand.

NTT DoCoMo Inc. (TYO:9437)(NYSE:DCM) of Japan said its net profit fell 30% in its fiscal third quarter as revenue dropped on falling handset sales and weaker demand from corporate clients.

China's E-Commerce giant, Ltd. (HKG:1688), plans to help small companies in China to secure more than CNY6 billion worth of loans from eight Chinese banks this year under its expanded loan-assistance scheme.


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

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China Hydroelectric Corporation Limited        

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