Wednesday, January 30, 2013

China's narrow focus on oil in South Sudan won't work: U.S. envoy

China needs to move beyond a narrow focus on oil issues in South Sudan and help tackle that country's larger political disputes with Sudan, the outgoing U.S. special envoy to the two African states said on Wednesday.

Ambassador Princeton Lyman said he had worked closely with Chinese officials more than two years, during which time South Sudan seceded from Sudan in 2011 to become the world's newest nation.

China is Sudan's biggest ally and is the largest investor in the oil industry there and in South Sudan - a position that Western diplomats say gives Beijing the best chance of defusing tensions between Khartoum and Juba over sharing oil wealth and ending violence on both sides of their shared boundary.

But Lyman said the disputes, which have shut down landlocked South Sudan's oil output, underscore the limits of staying aloof from political problems.

"They have weighed in very significantly on the oil issue. But what China doesn't like to do is to get involved in some of the underlying political problems that are keeping the oil from flowing," he told reporters in Washington.

"Without that stability and (with) the danger of conflict on the border, the chances of having a long-term productive oil sector is threatened, so they can't just concentrate on the oil and just pretend that the other things aren't bearing on it," he said.

China has long held up as its foreign policy mantra non-interference in countries' internal affairs, a principle it first enunciated in 1954 - long before it was an economic power with interests around the globe. (Reuters)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Malaysia News: RM500m worth of properties to be up for sale at Mapex

Some RM500 million worth of properties from both local and foreign developers will be up for sale at the Malaysia Property Expo (Mapex) in October.

Mapex committee chairman Datuk Ng Seing Liong said over 50 developers have registered to take up 145 exhibition booths at the event where a total of 227 booths are expected to be set up.

"Though we have not finalised the total number of foreign participants attending this year's Mapex, we expect properties on sale to be around RM500 million," he told reporters on Thursday.

Mapex, a property exhibition event, is hosted by the Real Estate and Housing Developers' Association (Rehda).

This year's three-day Mapex will be held at the Mid Valley Convention Centre here from Oct 19.

Ng said Rehda is expecting at least 50,000 visitors to the exposition, which will also feature several talks by experts in the property investment and legal fields.

"Mapex is an ideal platform gathering of property developers, financiers, legal experts and also property consultants all under one roof to assist the home buying public in making informed decision in their property investment," he said.

He said over the years, Mapex has grown to become the signature property event of the country, receiving an average participation of about 80 developers in each exposition.

"Firmly established as the leading property exhibition in Malaysia since its inception in 2000, the latest edition of Mapex brings together property developers from all over Malaysia to offer a wide range of properties to prospective buyers and investors," he said.

Among the developers who have confirmed their participation are S P Setia Bhd, Sime Darby Properties Sdn Bhd, Perbadanan Kemajuan Negeri Selangor (PKNS), IJM Properties Sdn Bhd, Berjaya Land Bhd, I & P Group Sdn Bhd, Lebar Daun Sdn Bhd and Sunway Integrated Properties. (Bernama)

Hong Kong’s Largest Bullion Vault Signals Rising Asia Wealth

Hong Kong’s largest gold-storage facility, which can hold about 22 percent of the bullion now in Fort Knox, will open in September to meet rising demand from banks and the wealthy, according to owner Malca-Amit Global Ltd. (3271)

The facility, located on the ground floor of a building within the international airport compound, has capacity for 1,000 metric tons, said Joshua Rotbart, general manager for the Hong Kong-based company’s Malca-Amit Precious Metals unit.

11-Year Rally

Immediate-delivery gold rallied from 2001 to 2011 as investors sought protection from weaker currencies and the risk of inflation, and central banks boosted holdings. The metal traded at $1,605.93 an ounce at 3:04 p.m. in Hong Kong today, 2.7 percent higher this year. It rose 10 percent in 2011. Gold held in exchange-traded funds reached a record 2,413.61 tons on July 5, according to data tracked by Bloomberg.

The U.S. Bullion Depository Fort Knox in Kentucky, held as an asset of the nation at book value of $42.22 an ounce, holds 147.3 million ounces (4,582 tons) at present, according to data on the U.S. Mint website. In total, U.S. holdings of gold amount to 8,133.5 tons, according to World Gold Council data.

China’s gross domestic product expanded 7.6 percent in the second quarter, the least in three years, a report showed on July 13. Gold demand in the country may increase 13 percent to 870 tons this year, according to a revised forecast this month from the WGC, which abandoned a target for usage to gain as much as 30 percent to 1,000 tons. Last year, demand in the world’s second-largest economy grew 20 percent to 769.8 tons.

Increasing Wealth

Asia-Pacific millionaires outnumbered those in North America for the first time last year, according to Capgemini SA and Royal Bank of Canada’s wealth-management unit. The number of individuals in the region with at least $1 million in investable assets rose 1.6 percent to 3.37 million, helped by increases in China and Indonesia, according to the firms’ World Wealth Report, released last month. So-called high-net-worth individuals in North America dropped 1.1 percent to 3.35 million.

Singapore’s Push

Singapore is also among economies in Asia vying for a greater share of the bullion trade. In February, the government announced a plan to exempt investment-grade gold, silver and platinum from a goods and services tax, starting from October. The aim is to raise the city-state’s share of the global gold trade to as much as 15 percent in five to 10 years from about 2 percent, according to IE Singapore, the external trade agency.