September 8th, 2011
02:23 PM GMT
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In the opulence of probably the world’s most luxurious hotel, finance ministers from more than 20 Arab countries have gathered to examine the state of the global economy. They are also calculating the impact the debt crisis in Europe and the slowdown in the United States could have at the crossroads of East and West, the Middle East.

But nearly nine months into the Arab Spring, the finance ministers who are in charge of regional economies without the benefit of huge oil and gas reserves have expressed deep concerns about funding transitions in Egypt and Tunisia and potentially in Syria and Yemen.

The Chairman of the Arab Monetary Fund Jassim Al Mannai painted a picture of a prolonged period of economic uncertainty: "The fear is that economies of countries whether those that witnessed political shifts or those that are still witnessing political unrest today, will take a long time before they recover and go back to normal.”

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September 8th, 2011
06:45 AM GMT
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(CNN) – The summer bloodletting from multinational banks isn’t over.

HSBC, a huge employer in Hong Kong and an anchor in a city known as Asia’s financial hub, announced that 3,000 people – roughly 10% of its workforce – will be out of a job by 2013.

The cuts are part of HSBC’s plans to eliminate 30,000 positions worldwide.

HSBC employees won’t be alone hitting the bricks with resumes in hand. This week, the Charlotte Observer – the hometown paper for Bank of America – wrote the largest bank in the U.S. plans to shed between 25,000 and 30,000 jobs.

Last week, Dutch bank ABN Amro said it will cut 2,350 jobs. In Stockholm, Nordea, the largest bank in the Nordic region, plans to cut 2,000 workers.  The week before Swiss bank UBS announced 3,500 job cuts.

Other layoffs reported in recent months:
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September 8th, 2011
03:46 AM GMT
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(CNN) – Kei San is a Japanese chef who lives in Hong Kong. He also hosts a television cooking show showcasing Japanese seafood.

Lucky for him, his uncle is a fisherman in Hokkaido who supplies him with succulent Hokkaido scallops. But his uncle has seen his business plummet more than 50% because of the nuclear crisis in Fukushima. Even though Hokkaido is 840 kilometers from the nuclear site, the global concern over radioactive contamination has hurt all Japanese food exports.

"My uncle is 60 years old and he's thinking of retiring early. Business is so bad he's basically taking a few months off as a vacation," Kei San says.

Six months after the March 11 trio of calamities – earthquake, tsunami then nuclear disaster – sales of sushi, soba, ramen and other Japanese food industry staples has not fully recovered – and it may be some time before it does. The main obstacle is the lingering doubts about the safety of Japanese food both in Japan and overseas.
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Filed under: BusinessHong KongJapan


September 8th, 2011
03:28 AM GMT
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CNN's Felicia Taylor talks to fashion icon Karl Lagerfeld on his latest fashion line.

Filed under: Business


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