China's Spring to buy 21 Airbus planes for $2.04b

SHANGHAI (AFP): Chinese budget carrier Spring Airlines said it plans to buy 21 Airbus A320 planes for 12.45 billion yuan ($2.04 billion), citing growth in both international and domestic air travel. The Shanghai-listed company intends to fund the purchase in part through a private placement of shares to raise 4.5 billion yuan, according to a statement to the exchange late Monday. The single-aisle A320 has a list price of $97 million, according to Airbus. "Demand in China's domestic and international aviation market is steadily increasing," Spring said in the statement. "The company intends to reasonably expand the scale of its fleet to increase its air transport capacity."

Spring Airlines, headquartered in the Chinese commercial hub of Shanghai, was founded in 2005 and now flies more than 90 domestic and international routes, according to its website.

Spring's shares, which had been suspended since June 26 owing to a rout on China's stock market, closed up 3.21 percent on Tuesday, reversing a 10 percent plunge in early trading.

The company's net profit for the first quarter this year jumped 46.43 percent year-on-year to 254.32 million yuan.

China, the world's second-largest economy, is already Asia's biggest aircraft buyer as a growing middle class takes to the skies in ever-increasing numbers.

Last year, US aircraft giant Boeing forecast Chinese carriers will need nearly 6,000 new planes valued at $780 billion over the next 20 years, accounting for around 16 percent of world demand and nearly half of Asia's.

But China hopes part of its vast aircraft market will go to a homegrown passenger plane -- the 168-seat C919 -- in a challenge to the global dominance of Boeing and Airbus.

Chinese economic growth is also slowing and expected to soften further in coming years -- a trend industry officials say could put a dent in air travel.

China's gross domestic product expanded 7.4 percent last year, the slowest since 1990. The country's GDP grew 7.0 percent year-on-year in the second quarter, matching the 7.0 percent expansion in the first three months of this year.

Call to reduce fluctuation in

farmers’ income

ISLAMABAD (NNI): Central leader of the Businessman Panel and former vice president FPCCI Khurram Sayeed on Tuesday said farmers deserve right production decisions to reduce risks associated with their occupation. Production risk is inherent in agriculture due to multiple factors including dependence on weather that can be minimised through proper intervention, he added. Khurram Sayeed said that workshops, seminars, advertisement, distant education, and road shows can enhance awareness among the rural population majority of which is directly or indirectly associated with the agriculture. He said that livestock play an important role in risk control; it improves household welfare through reduction in income variability.

Mixed farming enables rural families to decrease exposure to risk through diversification, he added.

Grain prices are not advancing as fast as that of milk and meat which is an added incentive while sale of products like milk, yogurt, cheese, butter oil and lassi promises daily flow of income.

Grazing herds was centuries-old enabling the farmers to easily earn livelihood but now grazing areas were vanishing due to multiple reasons.

Agriculture accounts for about one-fourth of the gross domestic product, earns about 60 per cent of export revenues in primary and processed forms and provides employment for half of the increasing labour force therefore it merits proper attention, he said.

Govt plan to eliminate power subsidies lauded

ISLAMABAD (INP): Chairman of the United International Group Mian Shahid on Tuesday lauded the decision of the government to phase out power subsidies gradually terming it in the best interest of country. It is very difficult for Pakistan to survive without foreign aid in presence of power sector, energy and other subsidies, she said. Talking to Patron of Chamber of Small Traders Shahid Rasheed Butt, he said that subsidies have not benefited poor but rich while it misbalances the budget. He said that subsidies leave little funds with government to spend of public welfare, it boost demand while reduces investment in renewables. Subsidies also contributes to social injustice, discourages private sector and push up the global warming, he added.

Mian Shahid said that losses of the power subsidy have reached to an extent that it has become an issue of national security.

Different countries are paying around $2 trillion in power subsidies which if abolished will reduce global demand and decrease global warming by 13 per cent.

Our oil import bill will touch mark of $40 billion in seven years, enough to leave Pakistan bankrupt if urgent steps were not taken.

Mian Shahid said that country will be unable to cope with the circular debt in presence of power subsidies which is deterring local and foreign investors.

Thar holds 99 per cent more energy than whole gas reserves of Pakistan put together but the speed of development is frustrating, he observed.

Philippines passes new laws to boost competition

MANILA (AFP): Philippine President Benigno Aquino on Tuesday signed off on legislation to open up the shipping sector and encourage more competition in the cloistered industry. A new statute will provide greater access for international firms to the Philippines' shipping routes, replacing a 79-year-old law put in place to protect local firms. "The old law was apparently meant to encourage the development of the domestic shipping industry, to encourage them to compete. The problem was our fleet hardly grew," Aquino said. "This led to an absurd situation where the entire market was controlled by a few." Despite the shipping sector's vast potential in the archipelago nation, the industry accounted for a measly 0.23pc f the Philippines' GDP in 2013.

, according to a government study.

During the ceremony, Aquino claimed that the lack of competition had made shipping cargo across the Philippines with domestic companies more expensive than exporting goods with foreign carriers to nearby countries.

In accordance with the new law, foreign-flagged vessels will be allowed to ship imported goods and transport Philippine-made exports within the country.

Aquino also signed the Philippines' first anti-trust act, which aims to prevent businesses from stifling competition and bans companies from pricing goods below cost.

Individuals or companies found violating the new law can be fined 100 million pesos ($2.2 million) and sentenced up to seven years in prison.

The passage of the legislation comes a week before Aquino is set to deliver his final state of the union address, where he is expected to tout the raft of reform measures enacted by his administration during his five years in office.

Greece wants to finalise new bailout deal by August 20

ATHENS (AFP): The Greek government said Tuesday it wants to finalise the agreement with its international creditors for a third bailout by August 20. After parliament has voted on a second batch of required reforms, the government "will immediately resume negotiations with the (lender) institutions, EU, ECB and IMF, which should take until August 20 at the latest," said government spokesman Olga Gerovassili. Greece has agreed to carry out tough reforms in exchange for a three-year international bailout of up to 86 billion euros ($93 billion) aimed at keeping it in the eurozone and reviving its sickly economy. The government submitted the second batch of reforms to parliament on Tuesday.