China paper hints at anti-Japan sanctions BEIJING: The mouthpiece of China’s Communist Party warned on Monday that Japan’s economy could suffer for up to 20 years if Beijing chose to impose sanctions over an escalating territorial row. Anti-Japanese protests have been held across China in recent days over a dispute on a group of small islands in the East China Sea claimed by both countries but controlled by Tokyo. The row intensified last week when the Japanese government bought three of the islands, effectively nationalising them, and China responded by sending patrol ships into the waters around them. Trade sanctions between Asia’s two biggest economies could cast a pall over growth on the continent, which major Western countries are counting on to drive recovery from the global slowdown. A commentary in the People’s Daily newspaper said the Japanese economy has already experienced two lost decades from the 1990s and was suffering further weakness in the aftermath of the world financial crisis and 2011 earthquake. Digital news offering aims at high ground WASHINGTON: It seems like a terrible time to be launching a news operation.But there are opportunities and niches, and the new digital media launch called Quartz from Atlantic Media Company seeks to exploit them. Quartz is set to launch in the coming weeks as a “100 percent digital” news operation covering “the most important themes of the new global economy,” said editor-in-chief Kevin Delaney. Quartz has been recruiting a small number of veteran journalists for an overall news staff of around 25 people. The operation will feature tablet and mobile displays as well as a desktop website, qz.com. “There is an opportunity to do great journalism on a digital platform,” Delaney, a former managing editor of The Wall Street Journal Online, told AFP.“It’s a great time to launch a proBject like this. We’ve learned the lessons of what works over the last few years.” Quartz will offer free content, with revenue coming from advertising, aiming to cover key global business issues and reach readers around the world.“We’re really confident in the ad-supported model,” Delaney said. “There has been strong advertiser interest.” The name Quartz was chosen “because it embodies the new brand’s essential character: global, disruptive and digital. Quartz, the mineral, is found all over the world, and plays an important role in tectonic activity,” a statement said. South Korea think-tank cuts growth forecast SEOUL: South Korea’s state-run think-tank on Monday cut its forecast for the country’s growth this year to 2.5 percent, citing the Eurozone debt crisis. The Korea Development Institute’s latest outlook is well below the government’s revised growth forecast in June of 3.3 percent, and over a percentage point below a May prediction of 3.6 percent. The country’s exports dropped sharply for a second straight month in August, suggesting the export-reliant economy is struggling with shrinking demand overseas. It said Asia’s fourth-largest economy is expected to expand 3.4 percent next year, gradually recovering from the slowdown caused by slow exports and sluggish domestic demand. Philippines tips economy to grow six percent MANILA: The Philippine economy could grow by almost six percent this year thanks to improving business optimism despite a series of destructive storms in recent months, officials said on Monday. The economy, which grew by 6.1 percent on year in the first half, could do even better in the rest of the year as the government implements measures to boost laggard sectors, socioeconomic planning secretary Arsenio Balisacan said. He added outsourced businesses, trade and tourism were all doing well and agriculture and manufacturing were expected to pick up in the second half. “With the healthy macroeconomic fundamentals and the higher business optimism, we will most likely hit the upper end of the 5-6 (percent) target,” he told a forum with investors. Heavy rains and storms last month and early-September, which left huge parts of the capital flooded, killings scores and displacing millions, had only a minimal effect on the economy, Balisacan added. He said farmers still had time to re-plant after the storms, adding that the floods affected mostly small businesses and not the large factories or call centres. Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez cited the 11.68 percent rise in tourist arrivals to 2.2 million in the first half of the year as a further reason for optimism. Central bank governor Amando Tetangco reported a 5.3 percent rise in remittances from the millions of Filipino working overseas to $13.3 billion in the first seven months of 2012.The officials also reported increased interest from potential foreign investors, following President Benigno Aquino’s election in 2010 on an anti-corruption platform. Turkish unemployment rate drops to 8 percent ISTANBUL: Turkey’s unemployment rate fell to eight percent of the workforce in the three months from May to July, the lowest in more than a decade, official data showed on Monday. The number of unemployed people fell by 311,000 over the period to reach 2.226 million, Turkish Statistics Institute (TUIK) said on its website on the basis of a survey of 95,699 people. Unemployed rate stood at 9.2 percent in the same period of 2011. Since then the number of people in jobs increased from 24.901 million to 25.577 million. Turkey’s economy staged a spectacular recovery from the global crisis, growing by 8.9 percent in 2010 and by 8.5 percent in 2011.Unemployment remains a major challenge for the government in a 73 million strong country where many young people enter the workforce each year. Turkey’s jobless rate is determined through household surveys across the country, which are then used to make a nationwide three-month projection. But experts say the figures do not reflect the overall picture because of widespread undeclared or hidden unemployment, or the employment of highly-educated people in menial jobs. Turkish unemployment rocketed to an annual 10.3 percent in 2001 following a major financial crisis, from a steady 6.5 percent in the previous year. Major Companies Declare Results By our correspondent APL announces final cash dividend of Rs32.50 KARACHI: Attock Petroleum Limited (APL) announced on Monday a final cash dividend of Rs32.50 per share though its profit-after-tax for the year ended June 30 slightly down by four percent to Rs4.12 billion from Rs4.25 billion last year, said a statement of the company. The divided was in addition to interim cash dividend of Rs17.50 per share. Therefore, total divided for the year was calculated at Rs50 per share, according to the profit and loss account of the company. The earnings per share stood at Rs59.61 from 61.58 last year. Net sales of the company rose by 39 percent to Rs176.81 billion from Rs127.03 billion last year. However, the financing cost increased by 77 percent to Rs1.21 billion from Rs682.66 million. POL earns profits of Rs11.85bn The profit-after-tax of Pakistan Oilfields Limited increased by 10 percent to Rs11.85 billion for the year ended June 30 from Rs10.81 billion earnings last year, said a statement on Monday. This translated into the earnings per share of Rs50.11 from Rs45.72 last year, according to the profit and loss account of the company. The company announced a final cash dividend of Rs35 per share. This was in addition to Rs17.50 interim dividend. Therefore, the cumulative dividend for the year stood at Rs52.50 per share. Net sales of the company increased to Rs30.82 billion from Rs27.10 billion last year. Exploration cost declined by 45 percent to Rs1.07 billion from Rs593.55 million. However, the financing cost increased by 206 percent to Rs684.57 million from Rs223.93 million. ARL profit rises to Rs2.73bn Attock Refinery Limited posted a net profit of Rs2.73 billion for the year ended June 30, which was 25 percent higher than Rs2.18 billion last year, said a statement. The net profit included profit-after-tax from refinery operations of Rs1.14 billion and income from non-refinery operations of Rs1.58 billion during the period under review. Last year, the company earned Rs1.11 billion from refinery operations and Rs1.06 billion from non-refinery operations, said the profit and loss account of the company. Therefore, total earnings per share stood at Rs32.07 from Rs25.63 last year. The company also announced a final cash dividend of Rs6 per share. This was in addition to Rs1.50 per share the company has already paid to the shareholders The sales of the company surged by 33 percent to Rs154.38 billion during the period under review from Rs116.38 billion last year. The financing cost increased by 22 times to Rs994.73 million from Rs45.45 million last year. Fauji Cement earns over half-a-billion profit Fauji Cement Company Limited reported a profit-after-tax of Rs552.59 million for the year ended June 30, which was 30 percent higher than Rs425.66 million earned in the previous year, said a statement issued by the company. The earnings per share (EPS) were calculated lower at 29 paisas against 52 paisas last year, according to the profit and loss account of the company available with the Karachi Stock Exchange. M Affan Ismail, an analyst at BMA Capital, reported that EPS diluted in the year under review due to addition of 1,905 million shares. The increase in earnings was primarily attributable to strong gross margin coupled with improved sales, he said. Phenomenal surge in cement prices coupled with meager decline in coal prices resulted in gross margin growth of nine percentage points to 27 percent. Moreover, the utilisation of additional capacity of 2.1 million tons resulted in higher sales, which further improved the profits. The net sales of the company surged by 143 percent to Rs11.52 billion from Rs4.74 billion last year. However, financing cost on loan obtained for capacity expansion kept the earnings under pressure, as the cost augmented to Rs1.83 billion from Rs103.92 million last year.