, , , , , , ,

Japanese exporters led gains as the yen headed for a second day of decline. A weaker yen boost the value of overseas income at carmakers
and electronics manufacturers when repatriated. Toyota, the biggest contributor of the MSCI Asia Pacific Index’s advance today,
gained 2.4 percent to 6,040 yen in Tokyo. Honda Motor Co., the Japanese carmaker that gets about 83 percent of sales overseas, rose 3.1 percent to 3,715 yen.
Panasonic Corp., Japan’s second-biggest television maker, jumped 6.6 percent to 796 yen.

While Asia is headed for slower growth in coming years, there are worries that the 1997 financial crisis will repeat itself,
where countries were forced to devalue their currencies and were propelled into recession. Frederic Neumann, co-head of Asian economics
research at HSBC Holdings Plc, said this will not happen as”“differences outweigh the similarities.” Today, Banking systems appear more robust,
with better regulatory systems, higher capital buffers and lower loan-to-deposit rates. There are also no “glaring” mismatches between
assets and liabilities. In the 1990s, most external borrowing was in U.S. dollars. By contrast, most of the debt that investors
have taken on in recent years is in local currency, so a surge in the dollar won’t impose a spike in debt-service costs.
Additionally, countries have more power to swap currencies at short notice, giving them firepower to fight currency attacks.

Two construction firms, Messrs Jan-de-Dul from Belgium and China Harbour Construction of China are executing a three-year project.
Messrs Jan-de-Dul is responsible for the extension of the breakwater, dredging, as well as backfilling estimated at a cost of €197 million,
while China Harbour Construction would be constructing the roads and superstructure at a cost of US$150millon.
When completed, the project is expected to position the port to receive bigger vessels, improve the turn-around time and to eliminate double handling
of cargoes.

The Forestry Commission and the Ghana Timber Millers Organisation (GTMO), which is the umbrella organisation of the timber companies,
estmate that 10 years from now the timber companies could collapse, as the timber resources are dwindling in forest areas,
especially in  the Ashanti Region. So far 60 per cent of timber companies have collapsed because they have no access to the raw material.
200,000 jobs have been lost the last decade. This has affected Ghana’s inflows from timber products. Last year was  $150 million
as against the previous average annual inflow of $200 million. The Forestry Commission has drawn up a 25-year strategic development plan
for plantation development to reverse the trend and ensure a better future for the industry.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) had planned to have a central West African payment platform. This will be possible through
the integration of the payment systems of Ghana, Nigeria, Cape Verde and the zone of West Africa Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA).
When the project will be fully implemented, it will be possible for Ghanaian  (ATM) cards to work in outlets in Nigeria and in French speaking countries
as well as Cape Verde. Traders, businessemen & travelers from the participating countries can access money from their bank accounts back home
using their local ATM cards, something that will boost cross border trade.