Personal finances advices

Afghan finance minister sees boom in indian, chinese investment


Jan 30 Afghanistan expects Chinese and Indian investments in iron ore and copper mining to buoy its economy after NATO troops withdraw in 2014, the country's finance minister said on Wednesday. A group of Indian companies which in 2011 won rights to mine iron-ore in Bamiyan, in central Afghanistan, should invest from $10 billion to $13 billion, and Chinese firms should commit from $5 billion to $7 billion on the Aynak copper deposit in Logar province, Omar Zakhilwal told a news briefing in Geneva. The Afghan government is trying to reassure foreign investors its economy will not sink following the NATO withdrawal. Gross domestic product should grow 10 percent this year, in line with the 10-12 percent annual expansion over the past decade, and expand by 6 percent next year, Zakhilwal said. Asked about the withdrawal of U.S.-led troops, Zakhilwal said: "There will be an impact, no doubt about it, but it is not to the extent it is reported. The leaving of the military will not lead to the collapse of the economy."

Referring to China and India, he said: "As we move forward beyond 2014, when international assistance comes down, of course we expect it will be substituted by the private sector .... We believe the involvement of the private sector and private investment certainly has a more lasting impact on our economy than even aid."Afghanistan signed a 25-year contract with China National Petroleum Corp in late 2011 covering drilling and a planned refinery in the northern provinces of Faryab and Sar-e-Pul, the first major oil production in the country.

CNPC, which has started oil production, should invest from $1 billion to $1.5 billion, Zakhilwal said. Investors have to factor in the threat from the Taliban, who have fired rockets at mining projects and planted improvised explosive devices along roads.

In late November, most of the roughly 170 Chinese workers who fled rocket attacks at Aynak, the largest foreign investment project in Afghanistan, returned because of improved security, the mining minister told Reuters at the time. Afghanistan was among countries classed as being at "very high risk" of corruption in a report issued by watchdog Transparency International UK on Tuesday. But Zakhilwal, who signed an agreement with the United Nations on Tuesday for training of Afghan officials in governance, said reports of corruption were exaggerated and the country had made "significant improvement" in recent years. Afghanistan expected to become a member in the next month or two of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, he said, adding that some of its measures exceeded requirements.

Albanian government to pay debts, vat to business pm


* Albanian PM says to pay debts to private sector* Cycle of debt has created a financial deadlockTIRANA, Sept 19 Albania's government will pay debts and un-reimbursed VAT totalling 400 million dollars to the private sector to break a deadlock hurting the economy, new Prime Minister Edi Rama said on Thursday. Both the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund have advised the previous government to pay the money because it was hurting businesses and linked it to rising bad loans."We cannot continue to tolerate the deadlock created by the debt to the private sector," Rama told a conference of the Central Bank of Albania and Oxford University. "We are working to re-pay this debt as soon as possible."

He said the debt had pinned down the economy, choked businesses and practically paralysed to a considerable degree the power of banks because of the whole chain of debt."We cannot ask the banks to be more active if we do not re-pay the debt and we shall repay it at any cost," Rama said.

Lending to the economy increased by just 0.9 percent in the second quarter of this year compared to the same period of 2012. A weak economy and perception of insecurity by businesses is holding back demand for credits in addition to more stringent conditions by banks. Albania's gross domestic product grew 1.7 percent last year. However, this marked a slowdown in rates of annual growth of 6 percent over a decade until 2009 when the recession in neighbours Italy and Greece hurt one of Europe's poorest states.

Rama, whose government was installed on Sunday, did not say where he would find the money to make the payments, which will help businesses to re-invest and repay their loans. Albania's public debt at the end of the first quarter of this year stood at 63.3 percent of GDP, exceeding a maximum 60 percent recommended by the International Monetary Fund. The budget deficit for the first eight months of 2013 was 54 billion leks

Asian banks provide 800 mln euros in loans to russias gazprom


MOSCOW Dec 12 Japan's Mizuho Bank, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp and JPMorgan Chase & Co have provided 800 million euros ($848 million) in loans to Gazprom, the Russian gas giant said in a statement on Monday. The loan was provided for four years, it added.

The banks and Gazprom were expected to finalise the deal during Russia's President Vladimir Putin's visit to Japan on Dec. 15-16, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters last week.

Brazil to cut subsidized loans to companies govt source


BRASILIA Oct 23 Brazil will slash the limit for subsidized loans it gives to companies under the so-called PSI program, a source at President Dilma Rousseff's economic team said on Friday.

Brazil's national monetary council will announce later on Friday that the new limit for PSI operations will be 19.5 billion reais