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Sydney, Mar 24, 2009 AEST (ABN Newswire) - All major indices in Asia opened significantly higher as the US government's plan on bad debts fires up investors' sentiment. Some markets rose 3% or more on Monday and extended their strong rising streak today with financial stocks react the most.
Asia Economy Watch

A deputy governor of the People's Bank of China said the central bank will continue investing in U.S. government bonds as Treasury bond purchases would remain an important component to China's investment plans. But China would keep close watch on them while concerning with the safety and profitability of the investments.

Japan's Land Ministry said the nationwide average of official land prices as of Jan. 1 declined 3.5% on the year to mark the first fall in three years. Prices had risen sharply in central Tokyo and Nagoya for several years through January 2008 but slid more than 10% in the latest survey.

Bank of Japan Tuesday released the minutes of its February policy board meeting. The minutes showed that with more demand for funds than anticipated, the central bank left the interest rate unchanged at 0.10% but began to buy corporate bonds and helped companies to raise funds.

Company News

Macau casino operator SJM Holdings (HKG:0880) said net profit fell 48.1 per cent last year and 77.6 per cent in the second half. The company decided to scrap a HK$12 billion plan to redevelop the 39-year-old Lisboa casino hotel as the gaming industry in Macau has been hit hard by the global credit crisis.
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is considering selling part of its 4.9% stake in Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd.(HKG:1398), reported Wall Street Journal on Monday. The move is expected to raise more than $US1 billion.

Telecommunications equipment maker Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE:ALU)(EPA:ALU) said it had been chosen by China Unicom Ltd. (NYSE:CHU)(HKG:0762) to deploy third-generation mobile networks in 14 Chinese provinces, widening its foothold as a supplier to the Chinese operator.

Mazda Motor Corp.(TYO:7261) has decided to return to a full workweek at two domestic plants in July, ending the closure due to a sharp drop in domestic and overseas sales. The car maker's monthly output is expected to increase by about 10,000 units compared with March after move.

Kia Motors Corp. (SEO:000270) on Tuesday introduced a hybrid version of its just-released Forte compact car, the first commercial hybrid model Kia and parent Hyundai Motor Co. (SEO:005380) have launched.


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

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