Business Briefs
Reported by Star-Bulletin staff & wire


Japanese production numbers up in August

TOKYO >> Japan's industrial production gained a seasonally adjusted 1.6 percent in August from July for the second consecutive monthly gain, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said today in a preliminary report.

The index of output at mines and factories rose to 98.2, its highest level since 98.8 in May last year, against the 1995 base of 100, the ministry said.

While uncertainty lingers over the prospects of export-driven output recovery, no signs of an export downturn have yet appeared, a ministry official said.

China Air may order at least 10 Boeing 747s

As the apparent result of political pressure from several key U.S. lawmakers, Taiwan's government-controlled China Airlines is expected to announce soon that it will purchase at least 10 Boeing 747 jumbo jets that it hadn't planned to buy.

In what will likely be seen as a decision to appease both the United States and governments in Europe, the airline will also continue with its plans to purchase at least a dozen A330 aircraft from Airbus for use on its regional routes.

China Airlines told both manufacturers in July that it was going with the Airbus planes after considering a competing bid from Boeing Co. for its top-of-the-line 777. That prompted several U.S. lawmakers to write letters to Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian, suggesting that a purchase from Boeing would be seen as crucial to future relations.

The airline is expected to announce it will order 12 Airbus A330s, plus take options on four to six additional aircraft. In addition, the airline is expected to say that it will take at least eight to 10 Boeing 747-400s. The announcement could come as soon as this week, say several people familiar with the situation.


Economist believes downturn may be over

WASHINGTON >> The head of the panel that decides the beginning and ending dates for recessions in the United States said yesterday his group may be getting closer to picking a month when the most recent recession ended -- assuming it has ended.

Stanford economist Robert Hall, chairman of the business cycle dating committee of the National Bureau of Economic Research, told an audience of business economists that it is looking like the downturn ended somewhere between last November and March of this year.

The NBER panel declared in November that America's first downturn in a decade started in March 2001, but the panel has not said when the slump ended.

For several months the NBER has said that it was getting closer to being able to declare an end to the recession but was waiting to make sure that the country did not slip back into negative growth -- a double-dip recession -- something some analysts say is still a possibility.


BNP Paribas fined for Greek trading

Athens >> BNP Paribas SA, the biggest French bank, was fined 860,000 euros ($845,810) by Greece's stock market regulator for trading on confidential information. It's the second foreign bank this year to be charged with the offense, according to a Bloomberg News report.

BNP Paribas sold 234,825 shares of Alpha Bank SA on July 20, 2001, a day after the Greek lender's stock soared 9.3 percent on speculation it would sell a stake to the French bank and form a partnership, the Capital Markets Commission said in a statement. BNP Paribas denied the speculation only after selling the shares, the regulator said.

Henri de Clisson, a spokesman for BNP Paribas, said he wasn't aware of the fine.

BNP Paribas is the parent company of First Hawaiian Bank.




>> The national office of Junior Achievement Inc. has named Richard K.C. Ching as 2002 Elementary School Volunteer of the Year. He is the owner of Hawaii Appraisal Services Co. and has served as a volunteer advisor since 1994.

>> Wildlife photographer and Hakalau National Wildlife Refuge biologist Jack Jeffrey has won the Sierra Club's Ansel Adams Award. The award honors an individual who has used still photography to further a conservation cause.

>> The Hawaii Medical Association has named family practitioner David Lee Pang as 2002 Physician of the Year and the Big Island's Sen. David Matsuura as 2002 Outstanding Legislator of the Year. Dr. Pang has spent 20 years as attending physician at Palolo Chinese Home and is president of the Hawaii Academy of Family Practice. Matsuura has been a strong supporter of reasonable medical privacy regulations and appropriate expansion of prescriptive authority for non-physicians.


>> Cherylee Chang has been elected president of the American Heart Association of Hawaii by its board of directors. She is a neurologist and medical director of The Queen's Medical Center's Neuroscience Institute/Neurocritical Care and director of The Queen's Stroke Center. Other new officers elected were: Samuel Dacanay, cardiologist; Beth Freitas, manager of The Queen's Neuroscience Institute; Jeffrey D. Lee, cardiovascular and thoracic surgeon; Gail Okamura, director of education and training at St. Francis Medical Center; Lori Thomas, attorney; and James Wille, administrator with Hawaii Health Venture.

>> Kalani Fronda is the new treasurer at CCIM for 2002-03. He has worked in the commercial real estate industry for 10 years and serves as an asset manager in Kamehameha School's endowment group. He was elected mid-year to replace Brian Matsuura.

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