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Sydney, Feb 19, 2009 AEST (ABN Newswire) - Yesterday Asian markets ended lower after big overnight losses on Wall Street and on concerns about European banks. Tokyo's Nikkei index reached its lowest since October. Shanghai Composite saw a massive 4.7% fall in a single day. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index ended up 0.6% and Taiwan's Taiex gained 0.2%.

Today the Asian markets broadly opened lower with more selling after Wall Street's overnight slump.

Asia Economy Watch

Taiwan government has released its fourth-quarter gross domestic product figure, which shrank by a near 50-year record of 8.36 per cent. This was far worse than the government's previous forecast of a 1.73 per cent contraction. The government yesterday revised its 2009 GDP forecast from 2.12 per cent to -2.97 per cent. Taiwan's central bank cut interest rates by a quarter point to record lows following the release of the GDP figures.

The Bank of Japan was expected to announce moves to ease a corporate credit crisis but keep its interest rate unchanged at 0.1 percent on Thursday

Company News

Singapore water company Hyflux (SIN:600) has posted record sales and is counting on China's increased state spending on infrastructure to sustain earnings growth. The company reported a 79 per cent rise in full-year net profit.

China's Internet-search engine company Baidu Inc.(NASDAQ:BIDU) said its fourth-quarter net income rose 31% as its number of online-marketing customers surged.

It is reportedly China's Hunan Valin Iron and Steel Group, parent company of Hunan Valin Steel (SHE:000932), is poised to grab a strategic stake in Fortescue Metals Group (ASX:FMG) through an investment.

South Korea's No. 2 beer maker Oriental Brewery has drawn interest from Japan's Asahi Breweries Ltd (TYO:2502) and Kirin Holdings Co (TYO:2503) and Korea's Lotte Group, in a deal worth about US$700 million, a newspaper reported on Thursday.

Mitsubishi Motors Corp (TYO:7211) said it will cut its longstanding ties with Chrysler LLC, which is on the verge of bankruptcy.

Taiwan's Asustek Computer Inc. (TPE:2357) said yesterday its board had approved a plan to buy back up to NT$2.88 billion worth of shares on the open market to protect the interest of shareholders and the company's credibility.
Korean automaker Ssangyong Motor Co. (SEO:003620) said it may sell the assembly lines of its sport utility vehicle Rodius if it stops production of the model.

China's Nine Dragons Paper Holdings Ltd. (HKG:2689) said late Wednesday its first-half net profit plunged 69.4% from a year earlier, on falling prices for its products and high raw material costs.

Contact

Michelle Liang
Asia Business News Asia Bureau
Tel: +61-2-9247-4344
Email: michelle.liang@abnnewswire.net


Related Companies

Ssangyong Motor Co., Ltd.       
Nine Dragons Paper Holdings Limited       
Mitsubishi Motors Corporation       
Kirin Holdings Company, Limited.        
Hyflux Ltd.       
Hunan Valin Steel Co., Ltd.        
Fortescue Metals Group Ltd          
Baidu, Inc.       
Asahi Group Holdings, Ltd.       

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