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NZ central bank weighs rule-changes for residential property investors WELLINGTON: The Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) said on Thursday it is looking at requiring banks to hold more capital to back loans to residential property investors, to guard against fallout should there be a housing crash.The RBNZ is to hold a month-long consultation on how to draw up and implement such a measure, which would include looking at whether it would apply to investors living on the mortgaged property, and whether servicing the loans depended on rents. "International evidence suggests that default rates and loss rates experienced during sharp housing market downturns tend to be higher for residential property investment loans than for loans to owner-occupiers," said RBNZ head of prudential supervision Toby Fiennes.The bank has been looking at such a proposal since 2013, but suspended action last year after property investors and banks raised difficulties with its proposal to target controls on borrowers with five or more ...

Thai consumer confidence at 7-month low in February, survey shows BANGKOK: Consumer confidence in Thailand fell for a second straight month in February, according to a university survey, as low commodity prices and marginal economic growth kept down domestic demand.The consumer confidence index of the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce fell to 79.1 last month from 80.4 in January and December's 81.1, an 18-month high.The February reading is the lowest since July's 78.2. While a reduction in retail oil prices from last year ...

China lowers 2015 growth target to 'around 7pc' BEIJING: China lowered its 2015 economic growth target to "around seven percent", the government said Thursday, as authorities attempt to set the world's second-largest economy on a more sustainable expansion path.The goal announced by Premier Li Keqiang comes after China's economy expanded 7.4 percent in 2014, the slowest pace in 24 years. Last year's target was "about 7.5 percent".China also lowered its target for annual inflation to "around three percent", according to the text of ...

Obama calls injured ambassador after South Korea attack WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama on Wednesday called a former aide and now US ambassador in Seoul to wish him well following a blade attack in the South Korean capital."The President called US Ambassador to the Republic of Korea, Mark Lippert, to tell him that he and his wife Robyn are in his thoughts and prayers, and to wish him the very best for a speedy recovery," said Bernadette Meehan, National Security Council spokeswoman.Copyright AFP ...

Australia PM suggests MH370 search could be scaled back SYDNEY: Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Thursday expressed hope missing Flight MH370 will be found, but suggested the search may be scaled back as he marked one year since it vanished.The Malaysia Airlines plane disappeared en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, 2014 with 239 people on board. No trace has been found despite a massive surface and underwater hunt."I do reassure the families of our hope and expectation that the ...

EU, Cuba in 'frank' talks to normalize relations HAVANA: The European Union and Cuba held a third round of "frank" talks on Wednesday aimed at normalizing relations, as Havana and Washington work through their own historic rapprochement.The two-day session in Havana, part of a dialogue that began 11 months ago, is aimed at tackling sensitive human rights issues and finalizing an agreement "on political dialogue and cooperation," meant to turn the page on a decade of estrangement.The talks are being led by European ...

Obama to enjoin new generation in Selma address SELMA: President Barack Obama will call for a new generation of Americans to take up the torch kindled by civil rights leaders 50 years ago in Selma, Alabama, when he visits the historic town Saturday.America's first black president will stand at the famed Edmund Pettus Bridge, accompanied by wife Michelle and daughters Sasha and Malia, to argue that events half a century ago are not confined to history, a White House official said.On March 7, ...


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ICT 2014

Foreign Debt $61.805bn
Per Cap Income $1,386
GDP Growth 4.14%
Average CPI 8.6%
Trade Balance $-1.703 bln
Exports $2.156 bln
Imports $3.859 bln
WeeklyFebruary 26, 2015
Reserves $15.944 bln