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Kyodo Economic News Summary --5-.

TOKYO, Sept. 5 Kyodo

---------- APEC finance chiefs paper over forex flexibility issue

PHUKET, Thailand - Finance ministers from the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum agreed Friday to obliquely urge China and other economies to let currencies rise while admitting that a free-floating currency would not always be best for them.

The accord that the ministers barely managed to reach struck a delicate balance between a camp led by the United States, which pushed hard for including in the ministers' joint statement a reference to freer exchange rates, and China and other economies with fixed exchange rate regimes.

---------- Japan economic gauge over boom-or-bust line for 3rd month

TOKYO - The government said Friday its key gauge of the current state of Japan's economy stayed above the boom-or-bust threshold of 50% in July for the third month in a row, partly due to an improvement in production data.

The index of coincident economic indicators came to 77.8%, up from a revised 63.6% in June and a revised 59.1% in May, the Cabinet Office's Economic and Social Research Institute said in a preliminary report.

---------- Japan's household spending falls 3.9% in July on yr

TOKYO - Japan's overall household spending fell 3.9% in July in real terms from a year earlier, resuming a downward trend that halted in June, according to preliminary government data released Friday.

Japanese households spent an average of 303,296 yen per household in July, the Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications said.

---------- S&P cuts long-term rating on Nichimen, raises Nissho Iwai

TOKYO - Standard & Poor's (S&P) said Friday it cut its long-term rating on Nichimen Corp. to B from B-plus while raising its long-term rating on Nissho Iwai Corp. to B-pi from B-minus-pi.

The rating actions reflect the expectation that the two trading houses' credit qualities will converge in the medium to long term due to their management consolidation, the U.S. rating agency said.

---------- Racing car engine maker Mugen to hand over operations...

SAITAMA, Japan - Racing car engine maker Mugen Co. said Friday it will hand over all of its operations, facilities and 150-person workforce to M-TEC, a company to be set up by a relative of Soichiro Honda, the late founder of Honda Motor Co., Oct. 1.

The location of M-TEC will remain the same as that of Mugen, said the company, whose President Hirotoshi Honda and former auditor Norio Hirokawa were indicted in July on charges of evading 1 billion yen in corporate tax.

---------- Tokyo stocks end mixed, techs up, banks down on profit-taking

TOKYO - Tokyo stocks closed narrowly mixed Friday, sandwiched between bargain-hunting in technology issues and profit-taking on bank and other shares which have risen sharply in recent sessions.

The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average inched up 3.82 points, or 0.04%, to close at 10,650.77, after moving between 10,592.93 and 10,707.75.

---------- Cash bond, futures prices close higher on buybacks

TOKYO - Prices of 10-year Japanese government bonds (JGB) and JGB futures closed higher Friday for the third straight session as banks and other institutional investors kept buying middle- to long-term cash bonds on dips.

In interdealer trading, the yield on the key No. 253 10-year, 1.6% JGB dropped 0.045 percentage point from Thursday to 1.435%.
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Publication:Japan Weekly Monitor
Date:Sep 9, 2003
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