QNB drags QE 180 points down
THE Qatar Exchange benchmark index fell 180 points, or 2.1 percent, to 8,629 on Tuesday. It was the largest drop of Qatar bourse since August 7
Qatar National Bank (QNB) weighed on the index after its...
|China crude imports rise 6%, steady growth likely in 2012 |
|BEIJING CHINA'S crude import growth last year slowed to nearly a third of the blistering pace of 2010, as weaker economic growth that is likely to drag into the new year weighed on demand.
The world's second largest oil consumer shipped in five percent more crude oil in December than a year ago, easing from the second highest on record in November, with both numbers possibly bolstered by imports for strategic and commercial stockpiling.
"The 6 percent growth for the whole year was quite within our expectations. It shows China's easing economic growth has a link with enduser oil consumption," said Janet Kong, a research head with China International Capital Corporation (CICC).
"We don't expect China's oil demand to rebound in a big way this year like in 2009, but rather maintain a steady growth," said Kong.
China imported 21.92 million tonnes of crude in December, or 5.16 million bpd, according to General Administration of Customs.
(www.customs.gov.cn) For the whole 2011, China brought in 253.78 million tonnes, or about 5.08 million bpd, which implies incremental crude purchases were about 287,000 bpd.
|Fitch warns of European rating downgrades in Jan |
|LONDON A NUMBER of euro countries, including Italy, could see their credit ratings downgraded by the end of this month as they struggle to cope with too much debt and slowing economic growth, Fitch Ratings said on Tuesday.
Though the agency remains confident that the 17-nation eurozone will not break up over the next year, it is concerned about the weak economic outlook and is urging the European Central Bank to step up its involvement in solving the crisis, notably by buying more government bonds in the markets.
Fitch's head of sovereign ratings David Riley said the agency will give its verdict on several euro countries by the end of January. Fitch currently has Italy, Spain, Belgium, Ireland, Slovenia and Cyprus on so-called "ratings watch negative" and Riley said the reductions could be up to two notches.
Much interest in the markets centers on Italy, the third-largest eurozone economy and considered too expensive to bail out. Riley says it is the "front line" of Europe's debt crisis especially as it has to tap bond market investors heavily this year.
|China's trade surplus rose to $16.5bn in December |
|BEIJING CHINA'S import growth showed an unexpectedly sharp drop in December in a new sign the world's secondlargest economy is slowing.
December growth in imports fell to 11.8 percent, barely above half the previous month's 22.1 percent gain, customs data showed on Tuesday. Exports rose 13.4 percent, down slightly from November's growth rate. The country's politically sensitive global trade surplus widened to $16.5 billion.
The widening of China's trade surplus from $14.5 billion in November might fuel strains with the United States and other trading partners. They complain Beijing is hampering access to its markets, hurting foreign companies at a time when governments worldwide are trying to revive growth and generate new jobs.
US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geither visits Beijing this week for talks that officials say will include complaints about China's currency controls.
Washington wants an end to such controls, which critics say keep China's yuan undervalued and give its exporters an unfair trade advantage.
China's relatively robust growth has been a rare bright spot for a struggling global economy. But growth has slowed in recent months after Beijing tightened lending and investment curbs to prevent overheating.