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Stand At Unease

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No, there are no big squeezes for now. In his much-hyped address at the economic policy meet in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, on 26 August, US Fed chief Ben Bernanke stopped short of announcing the much-feared third round of "quantitative easing" (dubbed QE3) to stimulate the ailing US economy. Bernanke, though, seemed concerned over long-term unemployment, which, he said, could leave a major scar on the economy. And that's one big problem Alan Krueger — President Barack Obama's nominee to head the White House council of economic advisors — could help tackle. The focus areas of the Princeton economist include job market trends, unemployment and minimum wages. Hope that pays.

It's A Done Deal
Touted as one of the largest-ever foreign direct investments into India, UK's energy giant BP has completed its $7.2-billion acquisition of 30 per cent stake in 21 oil and gas production-sharing contracts operated by Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Industries.

Made In China
Research firm IDC says China has overtaken the US in sales and shipments of personal computers in the second quarter of FY2012. China's sales reached $11.9 billion, while that of the US fell to $11.7 billion. In shipments, China saw a rise of 14.3 per cent to 18.5 million units (y-o-y), while the US recorded a drop by 4.9 per cent to 17.7 million units.

Striking Below
The strike at its Manesar plant has hit Maruti Suzuki India where it hurts. The car maker has reported 12.74 per cent fall in sales for August to 91,442 units, against 104,791 units in the same month last year. This has prompted the company to open its new plant in Manesar a month sooner.

Booster Shot
That's a billion-dollar growth. India's biotech industry crossed the coveted $4 billion-mark last fiscal, compared to $3 billion in the previous fiscal, shows a report by advisory firm E&Y India. Vaccines, diagnostics and devices and personalised medicine are key areas of innovative growth for the sector in India, notes the global biotechnology report.

On Sale
The Cabinet has approved yet another another big-ticket PSU stake sale, clearing the way for a 5-per cent stake sale in BHEL through a follow-on public offer. The government holds 67.7 per cent in the power gear maker. The stake could fetch an estimated $940 million (about Rs 4,300 crore) to the government. provided the unions agree.

Oh! Gold
Despite the steep rise in gold prices, consumer demand in India and China have risen 38 per cent and 25 per cent (y-o-y) for the June quarter. This, when the rest of the world clocked 7 per cent. Together, these countries accounted for 52 per cent of the global demand for gold, says the World Gold Council.

Iron Demand
Mining major Rio Tinto says the world would need at least 100 million tonne of additional iron ore supply each year for the next eight years to meet demand projections in steel making. That means iron ore production would have to double over the period. Emer-ging markets account for 75 per cent of the demand, with China commanding most of it, says Rio Tinto.

Power Wind
India's wind power major Suzlon Energy is reportedly planning a $1.3-billion project in south Australia. The project will power 225,000 homes a year. Up to 180 turbines will generate 600 megawatts, says reports.

App Battle
The Financial Times has withdrawn its iPhone and iPad app following a dispute over customer data ownership. Apple's demand for selling the app through its store, giving it ownership of the data and 30 per cent of revenues, was not acceptable to FT, which has discontinued subscriptions for iOS-based devices. It has also launched its own Web-based app for all phones, including the iPhone.

Giving In
After resisting it for long, Australian mining firm Macarthur Coal has agreed to the A$4.8 billion take-over offer made by Peabody Energy and ArcelorMittal.

Compiled by Jinoy Jose P.

(This story was published in Businessworld Issue Dated 12-09-2011)