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Sydney, Feb 6, 2009 AEST (ABN Newswire) - Asian markets opened higher today after Wall Street's gains. Yesterday Asia's major indexes closed broadly weaker on the further gloomy economic data of the US. Tokyo and Shanghai markets were slightly down while Hong Kong stocks gained 0.9% on hope of Chinese government's support to the mainland shares.

Asia Economy Watch

The Finance Ministry of Japan said the nation's foreign exchange reserves at the end of January fell from late December after the decline of U.S. Treasury bond prices and the appraisal value of its euro-denominated assets, but stayed above the US$1 trillion for the third consecutive month.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecasts South Korea's economy would contract by 4 percent this year, sharply down from its earlier forecast for 2 percent growth.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) projects a 6 per cent growth for 2009, 1.5 percentage points below its earlier forecast while the International Monetary Fund (IMF) anticipated a growth of 5.1 per cent.

Company News

Nissan Motor Co. (TYO:7201) said it is considering applying for loans from the government and expected to raise 50 billion yen to strengthen its finances.

Chinese computer giant, Lenovo Group Ltd.(HKG:0992), will refocus its efforts on China and other emerging markets with a new management team, replacing its American chief executive with Chairman Yang Yuanqing, and bringing back its co-founder to head the board.

The district court in Seoul has approved Ssangyong Motor's(SEO:003620) application to reschedule debts with its creditors under court receivership, clearing the first hurdle for the troubled automaker to normalize its operations.

It is reportedly that Japan's Asahi Breweries Ltd. (TYO:2502) and South Korea's Lotte group are discussing a joint acquisition of Oriental Brewery Co.(OB), which controls about 40% Korea market, for an estimated 100-150 billion yen.

Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings Ltd. (HKG:1038) plans to sell its stakes in three of its four power plants in China to its 39%-owned Hongkong Electric Holdings Ltd. (HKG:0006) for HK$5.68 billion.

Japan Airlines Corp. (TYO:9205) is likely to post a 26 billion yen group pretax loss for the April-December period due to a steep decline in business travel amid the global economic downturn.

Suzuki Motor Corp. (TYO:7269) said it expects to post an operating profit in the current year ending March 31. One of the major reasons for Suzuki's strength during the global downturn is its success in the Indian market.


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

Related Companies

Suzuki Motor Corporation       
Ssangyong Motor Co., Ltd.       
Nissan Motor Co., Ltd         
Lenovo Group Limited       
Japan Airlines Company, Ltd       
Hongkong Electric Holdings Limited       
Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings Ltd.     
Asahi Group Holdings, Ltd.       

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