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Making sense of Asia’s sky-high spot LNG prices | Wood Mackenzie

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The project was thought to be quite successful and received a lot of demands and requests from partners to continue in the immediate future. Apart from the main agenda of the meetings, partners also participated in a fringe meeting of the International Network of Civil Society Organisations on Competition INCSOC for Asia to discuss strategies and methodologies for undertaking rigorous advocacy activities on competition in their respective countries.

All stakeholders, within and across borders, are expected to join hands in making this happen. Reduced connection fee, call-rate push up number of cell-phone users Besides, the connection and call charges of both the state-owned and private cellular phone operators have shown a sharp decline during the same period.

This sharp rise in the number of subscribers has also been possible, as the mobile phone companies are offering various promotional offers time to time including lower tariff, lower connection fee etc. However, the market sources said, smuggled mobile phone sets are frequently being sold at lower prices and a stiff competition is also compelling the importers to sell their products at relatively low prices.

Besides, many branded handsets are now being manufactured in India and some other neighbouring countries, which is also contributing to reduction of the prices. Recently, the Bangladesh Telegraph and Telephone Board BTTB has reduced the connection fee of its land-phone by 40 per cent to stay in the competition. The connection charge is now Tk 6, for Dhaka and Chittagong metropolitan areas, Tk 4, for other district areas and Tk 2, for thana areas.

Even the state-owned mobile phone company Teletalk has lso reduced its connection charge to Tk 1, from its previous price of Tk 2,, though only for the subscribers staying outside the areas of Dhaka and Chittagong metropolitan cities, Savar and Gazipur district.

Teletalk Managing Director Obaidullah said, very soon the company will offer new packages and reduced tariff rates for the customers to stay in the competition. A year ago almost all mobile phone operators sold one prepaid SIM at above Tk 1,, which is now being sold only at Tk All the five mobile phone companies are now offering a number of promotional offers including reduced tariff rate for some selected numbers.

Prices of rice mark substantial rise in the wholesale markets Although the harvesting of Irri-Boro was just over, the prices of rice in the wholesale and kitchen markets marked a substantial rise in late June, reports Bangladesh News. Price of a sack of rice of different varieties has gone up by Tk 15 to Tk 30, especially medium quality Najirshal was being sold at much higher price than others. Market experts have expressed their concern over the present rising trend of prices of rice and said every year prices of rice begin to go down towards the end of the month of Ashar in the wholesale markets due to abundant supply of rice contrary to the trend of the current year.

Wholesalers said farmers are selling paddy at higher prices although the supply of rice to the market is adequate resulting in the rise in the prices of rice. They said that bumper production of rice could be achieved in the current season. But the production cost was much higher as the prices of fuel and fertilizer remained high. Mohammad Ali, a retailer of Krishi market said the prices of all types of rice are witnessing an upward trend while price of Najirshal marked the highest increase.

Wholesale rice traders in Dhaka said the newly harvested rice did not have nay impact on the price of rice. In the meantime, fixed-lines languished at around 40, subscribers. Given the booming mobile market, it is surprising to find other sectors of the market in the doldrums. Internet penetration remains particularly low, with the services on offer being notably expensive in comparison to other countries in the region.

As its efforts are directed towards building up its telecommunications infrastructure, the country continues to struggle with the legacy resulting from years of civil war and instability. Ongoing political problems in the period since the end of the war have made it hard to put the necessary administrative institutions in place.

This has had a major impact on the telecom sector, which remains in need of serious regulatory reform and a general strengthening of the regulatory role. For a period, the absence of a properly functioning government saw all infrastructure projects involving international aid suspended and government funded projects were also constrained, with a corresponding impact on foreign investor confidence.

This had a negative effect on the telecom sector. Beginning next month, customers of the bank will be able to borrow up to 60 percent of the purchase price of their home and spread the repayments over a period of up to 15 years.

This, according to its Chief Executive, Dean Cleland, will bring home ownership to those that could only have dreamt about it before. Other banks operating in Cambodia do provide home loans but they are either tied to in-house property developments or are of a short tenor and have to be repaid over a much quicker period, making repayments often unaffordable. With initial interest rates set at 9. Land must be registered by the local Cadastral Office, responsible for issuing registered land certificates.

The bank will not lend against unregistered properties. Cleland concedes that the lack of registered land titles in Cambodia will hamper the efforts to provide home loan mortgages. The bank currently pays 4 percent interest on a month term deposit. The bank says its interest rates are linked to US Federal Reserve rates currently 5 percent for overnight cash.

Cleland says this means interest rates can go up as well as down — something his front-line sales staff will be required to communicate to applicants. The availability of long-term mortgages could well give an added boost to what is already viewed by some as an overheating housing market. But Cleland disagrees. The bank has four branches in Phnom Penh and two in Siem Reap. Next month will see the opening of its Sihanoukville branch office, which is to be followed by a further branch in Battambang scheduled to open before the end of the year.

India Inc is not only scaling up the size of its overseas acquisitions but there have been several instances of Indian firms buying out companies abroad that are larger in size compared to them.

Oil drilling major Aban Loyd, which had a turnover of Rs For instance, Tata Coffee, though its acquisition of EOC gets access to a hundred-year-old American brand and one of the major coffee retailing firms of the US. Farm growth via market regulation In a recent meeting on electricity regulation, Bhupinder Singh Mann, the chief of the formidable Bharatiya Kisan Union, said that any subsidies or free power to farmers are actually a subsidy to the consumer, because the prices which farmers get does not cover the whole production cost.

Alas, Mann and majority of farmers in India do not realise the fact that not only the subsidies, but also the bulk of the surplus, are captured by intermediate trade and are not passed on to the consumer. They also seem to be ignorant of the amendments to the Agriculture Produce and Marketing Act, which if implemented, can lead to better price recoveries by farmers.

The amended Act has been passed by the Centre but agriculture being a state subject, it is up to the states to implement it. The amended provisions enable farmers to short-circuit the intermediate trade and sell directly to consumers. The amended law also allows contract farming and this has raised the hackles of activists like Mann and they are more involved in debating contract-farming than in helping farmers get better prices for their produce.

For every Rs 10 the consumer spends on buying one kg of tomatoes, on an average only Rs 3 goes to the farmer. It gets worse in the case of specialty farm goods, such as gnocchi mushrooms. Under another study, Towards a Functional Competition Policy for India, made by CUTS, a comparative analysis was done for price received by farmers for cotton from sale to various agencies. Price realised from sale to the village merchant, trader or commission agent ranged between Rs per quintal, and the realisation was much higher, between Rs , when sold to the Cotton Corporation of India or to millers.

Thus, the situation can be improved by providing alternative marketing avenues through cooperative marketing agencies and public agencies that reduce structural concentration of traders.

Certain innovative marketing mechanisms have been developed in some states to enhance competition at the retail level and to benefit both producers and consumers. Under these arrangements, farmers are allowed to sell directly to consumers on selected days and time. Alas, their scale is small and mainly farmers from nearby areas to the cities can take advantage of this marketing channel.

The economy grew between 7. Laos — a poor, Southeast Asian country of about 6. Its government has partially liberalised the economy to encourage development, but has kept a tight grip on political power.

The value of exports shot up by more than 73 percent compared to last year, the report said. The agriculture and forestry sector grew by 3.

The Lao kip currency is stable, with the dollar dropping to less than 10, kip for the first time in several years. The government said future economic priorities include safeguarding intellectual property rights, promoting domestic fuel sources and constructing sports facilities for the Southeast Asia Games competition in , the Vientiane Times reported.

A World Bank report in March reported that foreign investment in mining and hydropower lifted the economy of Laos to 7 percent in compared to 6. The World Bank also noted that poverty in the communist nation has fallen from 46 percent of its people in the early s to The stage has been set for another foreign beer battle in Southeast Asia. Blistering prices more a function of limited liquidity than justifiable fundamentals. Gavin oversees our Asia Pacific research helping companies identify and build their international growth strategies.

Lockdowns, recession and massive oversupply were all testing new floors for LNG prices. None of us could have foreseen what happened this winter. Cost of supply became an irrelevance as Asian spot LNG prices went into orbit. How did the industry call the market so wrong? And what will be the impact on prices through the rest of ?

Have you ever seen anything like this before? Not really. There are several market and fundamental factors at play — cold temperatures in North Asia and hence stronger gas demand , supply constraints, a tight chartering market and bottlenecks at the Panama Canal. All three had steadily run down stocks through late autumn and with early winter prices previously expected to remain soft, buyers were ill-prepared for the uptick in competition for cargoes that we saw from October onwards.

However, because of supply constraints at several liquefaction plants across Asia Pacific, this volume of spot simply was not available. Unfortunately for many generators, there are limits to available spare capacity. Part of the problem is that nuclear generation has been extremely poor in Japan through the compulsory shutdown of a number of units, while in South Korea, spare coal capacity has been reduced due to clean air policies.

In both countries, oil generation has not been able to return fast enough to help with the demand spike.

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Street argument leads to arrests over stolen cars and guns in Adelaide's south Posted 5h ago 5 hours ago. More Just In. Back to top. The most important data for compiling such rankings is turnover, not the number of subscribers, he said. Tong Viet Trung, Director of Viettel Mobile, said that it is necessary to standardize the means of calculating subscriber bases. Government policy now rejects monopoly, but many economic players still attempt to benefit from their formerly privileged monopoly positions.

The same thing is happening to enterprises that have been in business for a long time. What does this mean? It does not realise that monopoly is something it is granted, not something built up by talent. I think that all units in the sector as well as the Ministry of Posts and Telematics are fully aware that we are going to join WTO and open our telecommunications market.

If the situation cannot be improved, we could be in for serious consequences. First of all, our telecommunications sector cannot grow stronger if our enterprises are busy undercutting each other. We are opening to the world, so it is likely that we will be put at a disadvantage when we have to compete with stronger competitors. By rejecting monopoly in some sectors, the Government is striving for healthy competitive environment in which our enterprises can grow stronger together and cope with competition from outside.

Secondly, we are now in the process of integration so foreign telecommunications enterprises will be authorised to operate in Vietnam in the near future. Are these enterprises forced to grin-and-bear-it in cases of disputes with VNPT? They should not have to. It is no good if there is no order or fairness for all enterprises on the market. If they accept the situation, compromise or make concessions, competition in our telecommunications market could be distorted.

The Ministry of Posts and Telematics must issue forceful and clear decisions on matters relating to connections and give more support to new enterprises, not favour their own child, VNPT. If the ministry does not do that, it loses credibility. The electricity sector has also made many difficulties for consumers for a long time due to its monopoly, although EVN Telecom is now having trouble competing with other exclusive units.

Competition is a useful tool for economic development. The Government should not let some enterprises hold monopolies and become entrenched. In the future, we will need some giants in each sector instead of only one giant like today because our giants are much smaller than those from the outside. If our giants learn to associate with others in their field, then they will be strong enough to compete with foreign enterprises when Vietnam joins the WTO.

The department of the Ministry of Trade plays an important part in establishing order in competition. In the future, national law will not always apply when disputes arise. The department must be well-prepared for that right now. Many have even mortgaged those shares to access further bank loans to buy even more shares, market insiders say.

Opaque state-owned enterprises remain the main recipients of bank credit, typically borrowing on an unsecured basis at concessionary interest rates. The bottom line and underlying profitability is not what is motivating investors, however. Some local analysts believe that the recent ramping up of share prices has exceeded the underlying value of most Vietnamese banks and that even the biggest foreign banks might balk at current asking prices.

Much of the credit extended by state-owned commercial banks is less than viable in commercial terms with a growing risk of default, contend some Hanoi-based financial analysts that requested anonymity. Heaps of cash have recently been funnelled into extravagant property developments based on particularly rosy projections of future domestic demand and international business growth. While local investors pour into banking shares, there are concerns internationally about the lack of effective governance mechanisms.

New regulations require banks to establish controlling committees and internal audit functions. But because of the cosy relationship between the state-owned commercial banks and the government, in practice prudent practices are not always the rule. As part of the banking reform effort — aimed at nudging the financial sector toward international norms — new rules for the classification of non-performing loans were issued in At present, there are only around 1.

Supported by the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, significant reforms have recently been implemented in the structure, regulation and operations of state-owned commercial banks. For instance, deposit insurance was instituted in , where banks pay a premium on all dong deposits placed by individual depositors. Because no Vietnamese bank has failed since the inception of the scheme, its viability remains wholly untested.

Vietnamese banks are currently not ranked by the Bank for International Settlement BIS , nor have they adopted the Basel capital accord — meaning details of risk-adjusted assets and risk-adjusted capital ratios are either not calculated or not publicly disclosed. Moreover, a new draft decree on banking governance has recently been lodged for comment and notably aims to strengthen the existing banking system by encouraging mergers and acquisitions.

It also reportedly aims to limit lending to affiliates of large shareholders and their relatives. For those foreign banks that already have a local presence, business is booming. Citigroup is now implementing a technical assistance project with the Joint Stock Military Bank — a step that the incumbent foreign banks all took before putting their money down — and is on a short list to participate in the equitisation of the state-owned Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam, known locally as Vietcombank.

If the government lifts the ownership cap, HSBC senior executives say they intend to increase that share. They are also in the growing business of providing home mortgages and car loans to up-and-coming local entrepreneurs. We look at successful businesses in the furniture, distribution, energy and telecom sectors.

The breakneck entrepreneurial expansion means there are potentially as many risks as opportunities for bankers. The government has enacted a number of new laws recently aimed at levelling the competitive playing field, in particular the Unified Enterprise Law and Common Investment Law, which will come into effect in July and remove the current two-tier price system that discriminates against foreign investors.

New intellectual property rights and bankruptcy laws, as well as measures to streamline contract enforcement and reduce registration costs, are also in the pipeline. A new decree issued earlier this year dealing with the operations of foreign-owned banks extended the maximum duration of bank licenses from 20 to 99 years, a notable concession to foreign demands. Still, foreign banks like HSBC say that they feel restricted. The main problem [preventing] foreign banks [from participating] in the state sector is a lack of transparency.

Although accession to the WTO is a foregone conclusion, Vietnamese officials are currently in negotiations with the US over a few fine points related to its bid.

All eyes are on the Communist Party Congress, which starts on April 18, for indications that the next generation of leaders will stay the reform course, particularly for the financial sector. Examination of calculations for prices for imported automotive parts declared by auto-manufacturers, a locally made car would be three times as expensive as a foreign manufactured car of the same make and model.

Yet local automobile joint ventures are definitely not being overcharged on their purchases, as components are all imported from parent companies abroad. Automobile prices in Vietnam are the highest in the region, if not worldwide. Malaysian firms tell the story of an unsuccessful national auto development strategy.

Yet the nation ranks second in terms of expense on production cost. Production costs in the Philippines are just half of what they are in Vietnam. Vietnam has 11 automotive joint ventures, which explains why manufacturers can easily engage in price transfer without intervention from any Vietnamese management authority. One or two joint ventures would be enough to provide cars to the market, yet a total of 11 automotive joint ventures are operating in the country. High import duties and other local taxes are also fingered as the main reasons for high car prices.

The tax increase is justified by taxation authorities as aiming to ensure equality between imported and locally made products. However, the move has played a major role in pushing already expensive car prices sky high, while wiping any effort by manufacturers to cut overheads. The Government continues to assert that it is foreign manufacturers who are guilty of maintaining high car prices through low localisation ratio, despite long term protection from government policy.

Meanwhile, manufacturers argue that profits brought about by preferential treatment did little to make up for the impact of high taxes. They said that the high tax rates have resulted in smaller demand, thus the market remains immature. The Financial Express, Despite all the talk about 8K gaming, it's not something you're going to get on Day 1, if ever.

As my colleague Geoff Morrison points out in his excellent explainer here , higher frame rates and variable refresh rates are more important to a good gaming experience. The DualSense controller is bold but minimalistic, with the retro-futurism of a Space: prop mixed with a killer-robot Ghost in the Shell vibe.

While the new Xbox controller is a modestly modified take on the classic Xbox game pad, the PS5 controller has evolved far beyond the PS4 version, in both design and functionality.

The biggest improvements are the adaptive triggers which can offer variable resistance, as if you're being asked to squeeze and break a glass object , built-in mic and stronger haptic effects. My colleague Mark Serrels put it best: "I reckon the controller is a game changer and, so far, has done more to sell me on the PS5 than anything else I've messed about with.

The preloaded Astro's Playhouse game is a well-thought-out platformer, as well as a fantastic demo kit for how much a controller can influence a game. It whirs, kicks, shakes, rumbles and kicks out its own sound effects. A built-in mic lets you literally blow into the controller to perform tasks.

The larger central touchpad -- more prominent than the one found on the PS4 DualShock controller -- might give that feature more ways to be useful on games and apps, but so far most of what I've done is swiped left to open Miles Morales' smartphone.

Perhaps more important than all that, the power connection on the back is a USB-C plug. Take that, iPhone 12! To really rub it in, it even has a 3. But there are some things that don't quite feel right. The option and share buttons are tiny, and the option button -- which should provide contextual choices no matter where you are, often does nothing. The PlayStation button at the base of the controller is no longer a circle, as in the PS4 version. Instead, it's literally a cut-out PlayStation logo and much harder to hit by feel.

By default, it kicks up a lower menu bar of choices, instead of taking you back to the home screen. That's a big difference from the old PS4 behavior, and I'm not sure which I like better yet. Lastly, the Home button is right above a tiny button that turns the built-in microphone on and off, again too easy to hit accidentally while aiming for the Home button. If you thought the Xbox Series X UI felt too similar to what had come before, there's a similar fealty to the historical PS4 menu here.

A long horizontal line of square icons, each adding contextual info below, and in most cases a full background image behind it. Both major console-makers could learn something from the utilitarian nature of iOS and Android menu screens. Just show me all my stuff, let me sort it, and don't add too many bells and whistles.

I'm not there to hang out on the home screen. Settings options are nearly identical to the current PS4 version, and less granular when it comes to video output options than the Xbox version. One possible bug I ran into occasionally was when resuming from the "rest" state, the system would reboot as if it had been unplugged with a stern warning not to randomly unplug the machine.

Hopefully this is a software issue that can be patched before the retail launch. It's something you don't see very often anymore, but the PlayStation 5 comes with a preinstalled game we used to call this a pack-in. Astro's Playroom is largely meant as a demo reel for the new controller. It's a smart, classic platformer that will feel familiar to fans of the genre. The simple landscapes and characters don't necessarily show off the PS5 GPU, but the controller feels great, and both the motion controls and force feedback are used as unique game elements.

Yes, it's the same little robots from the Playroom on the PS4. My favorite experience was having to squeeze the trigger on the DualSense controller until I could break a glass sphere.

The haptic feedback was amazing. I also got a chance to play the new Spider-Man: Miles Morales game. As a new take on the highly regarded PS4 Spider-Man game, it's not going to blow your mind with new ideas, but it's a great example of a high-gloss, fast-paced action game to show off the hardware. There's a remastered version of the core Spider-Man game coming as well. Comparing it to the version, also played on the PS5, the new game looks, well, miles better -- towers glisten, textures have more detail, the entire experience feels upgraded.

I originally thought of this as basically a DLC-like add-on for the original game, but several of my colleagues vehemently disagreed, and I've come around to their way of thinking.