Hong Kong (CNN) – Forget the red-hot property market of mainland China - a new forecast says investors should be looking south.
Jakarta - Indonesia's burgeoning capital of nearly 10 million people - is predicted to be Asia's top real estate market in 2013, ahead of cities such as Hong Kong, Singapore and Sydney in "Emerging Trends in Real Estate - Asia Pacific 2013," a real estate forecast released this week by PriceWaterhouseCoopers and the Washington D.C.-based Urban Land Institute.
The recommendation to buy into Jakarta-based property may raise eyebrows, but PriceWatershouseCoopers says Indonesia's economic turnaround over the past few years has impressed international investors.
"Interest rates and inflation are under control, and while GDP is growing at around 6.5% annually, foreign direct investment is increasing at a much higher rate—39% in the first half of this year," the survey said. "Driven by increased demand from foreigners and locals alike, office rents shot up 29% year-on-year in the third quarter, according to (property services firm) DTZ."
Mumbai, India (CNN) - India has been a nation of tea drinkers for centuries, but in the past decade coffee consumption has been growing. From Starbucks to Costa Coffee, coffee giants are moving into India, converting consumers from chai to cappuccino.
Last month, Starbucks opened its first outlet in India, partnering with Indian firm Tata.
“There's a tremendous amount of coffee being sold and served in this market,” Howard Schultz, Starbucks chairman and CEO, told CNN’s Mallika Kapur.
Tokyo (CNN) – As if the world economy didn't have enough bad news, with the ongoing eurozone debt crisis, the slowdown in China and the U.S. teetering on the edge of the "fiscal cliff."
Now the territorial dispute on ownership of East China Sea islands between Beijing and Tokyo is echoing on the global stage, as China's top banker pulled out of the IMF meeting here in a move widely seen as a protest for the Japanese government's purchase of the islands – known as Diaoyu in China and Senkaku in Japan.
Zhou Xiaochuan, the governor of the People's Bank of China, was scheduled to deliver the Per Jacobsson lecture, a prestigious speaking spot reserved for financial luminaries such as Alan Greenspan and PIMCO CEO Mohamed A. El-Erian. His deputy, Yi Gang, will give the address instead, but coming after representatives from China’s four largest banks decline en masse to attend the IMF meetings because they are being hosted by Japan.
Kazakhstan (CNN) - The thriving east-west trade that once spanned Central Eurasia along the famed Silk Road may soon be restored to its former glory thanks to growing transport and trade links being rolled out.
Central Asian countries have been working closely together to construct transport corridors, promote energy security, and remove trade barriers. They have shed outdated trade policies and adopted new rules to increase commerce.
Kazakhstan is one example where this is happening. Merchants passed through here on the ancient Silk Road hundreds of years ago. And now that trade between East and West is booming again, the government has decided it needs to upgrade its infrastructure.
Japan (CNN) - They are called Senkaku by Japan, and Diaoyu by China, and these East China Sea islands are the topic of an increasingly bitter dispute between the two countries.
Both Japan and China claim the uninhabited islands, which lie between Taiwan and Okinawa and are rich in natural resources.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda told CNN’s Paula Hancocks a deal is almost done to buy them from the Japanese family who owns them, and to nationalize them. The deal is reportedly worth $26 million.
Hong Kong (CNN) - With the number of visitors from the Middle East to Asia on the rise, Hong Kong is re-examining what it has on offer to entice more travelers to its sights.
Since 2000, the number of visitors to Asia from the Middle East has surged from around 600,000 to over 1.6 million annually.
But Hong Kong only attracts a small portion of those visitors, a situation it is trying to change by promoting itself as a gateway to China for Mid Eastern travelers.
The city already has a sizeable Muslim population. According to Mohammed Khan, one of 15 Muslim leaders of Hong Kong's Islamic Council Union, there are no firm estimates of the number of Muslims in Hong Kong but at his “guestimate, it's around half a million people.“
Japan has won back its top spot as the most important partner of the United States in Asia, moving China to the second spot, according to an opinion poll of the "general public" conducted in the United States.
The survey asked 1,200 people in the continental United States to select the most important U.S. partner from a list that included Japan, China, Russia, India, Korea and Australia.
(CNN) – Just days after Facebook took the plunge with a multi-billion dollar shares sale in the U.S., another high-profile brand, Formula One, appears to have accelerated its own plans for a public listing in Singapore.
The Asian city-state is also one of the more unique stops on the 20-race Grand Prix calendar, as the race is staged at night under floodlights. FULL POST
(CNN) – Eduardo Saverin, one of the co-founders of Facebook, gave his first major interview published Thursday in the wake of a growing backlash against his renunciation of U.S. citizenship.
Pressure has grown from U.S. lawmakers to tighten tax code on expatriates after press reports surfaced that Saverin – a native of Brazil who became a U.S. citizen as a teenager after his family moved to the U.S. – renounced his U.S. citizenship, which was published April 30 on the U.S. Federal Register. Saverin, who has lived in Singapore since 2009, is now a permanent resident of the city.
The public release of his renunciation, coming on the eve of Facebook’s initial public offering (IPO), has raised hackles.
“I’m not a tax expert,” Saverin told the New York Times. He said he filed to renounce his citizenship in January 2011 and it became official in September. “We complied with all the known laws. There was an exit tax.” Bloomberg estimates the billionaire paid exit taxes of about $365 million.
Delta Airlines' decision to buy an oil refinery has caught the imagination. It seems to make a lot of sense and if the numbers actually come true it will look like a stroke of genius.
Delta says that it could get savings of $300 million a year by cutting out the middle man and refining its own jet fuel, all for the cost of one medium-size new airliner. It sounds like a no-brainer so I put the question to a CEO of an Asia airline: did he think that individually or as a group that Asian airlines would get together to look at a similar arrangement.
It does make some sense. According to Cathay Pacific Airways, fuel costs accounted for 41.5% of total operating costs last year. That's a lot higher than the 30% average for global airlines. The reason why Cathay and other Asian arilines have proportionally higher fuel bills is that they are mainly long-haul operators, and the fuel component of a long-haul flight can be twice as high as a short-haul flight - 60% fuel cost on long-haul versus 30% on short haul.
Fuel costs were the main reason by long-haul budget airline AirAsia X to cut back its services. Its short-haul flights are still performing strongly.
But buying a refinery is not on anyone's agenda among Asian airlines. Not yet at least. But what is on the radar relating to fuel costs is fracking - the process of extracting gas and oil through hydraulic pressure fracturing of rocks. It has revolutionized the gas industry in the U.S. Gas prices are at a 10-year low, prompting oil-energy users such as power companies to look at switching to gas-fired plants, a relatively easy transtition.
As oil users switch to gas, airlines are hoping there could be a knock-on effect to the price of oil as demand starts to fall. It may be a long shot at this stage, but in the airline industry it's one of the very few bright spots on an otherwise bleak outlook for controlling one of the biggest costs in the business.
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