Kyodo economic news summary -4-.
---------- Gov't eyes 400 bil. yen support for smaller firms
TOKYO - The government is likely to spend 400 billion yen ($3.67 billion) to help finance small and midsize companies that are struggling with rising energy and raw material costs, Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Toshihiro Nikai said Wednesday.
The credit guarantee program comes as part of the government's emergency economic stimulus package to be revealed on Friday. Nikai told reporters that the assistance for smaller firms will be the ''highlight'' of the package.
---------- Yakult sets up new drinkable yogurt plant in Mexico to double output
TOKYO - Yakult Honsha Co. said Wednesday that it has set up a second plant in Mexico to double production of drinkable yogurt, called Soful, in view of its popularity in the country.
The new facility in Guadalajara, Mexico's second-largest city, built at a cost of 2.2 billion yen, will turn out 120,000 bottles of the product per day, Yakult said.
---------- M'bishi Electric to invest 50 bil. yen to boost solar cell output
TOKYO - Mitsubishi Electric Corp. said Wednesday it will invest a total of 50 billion yen to quadruple its annual production capacity for photovoltaic cells by fiscal 2011 to meet a sharp increase in demand for solar power generation systems.
As part of the plan, the Tokyo-based major electric machinery maker will build a new plant on the premises of its Nakatsugawa Works Iida Factory in Nagano Prefecture, which produces photovoltaic cells.
---------- Nippon Oil to cut Sept. gas wholesale prices by 5.1 yen per liter
TOKYO - Nippon Oil Corp. said Wednesday it will lower its wholesale prices of gasoline for shipment in September by 5.1 yen per liter from the previous month.
The first reduction in shipment prices since November 2006, except in April when prices fell following the March 31 expiration of gasoline tax surcharges, is due to a drop in crude oil prices, the biggest Japanese oil refiner said.
---------- 3 major Japan automakers boost output, domestic sales, exports in July
TOKYO - The Toyota Motor Corp. group, Nissan Motor Co. and Mazda Motor Corp. expanded their global production, domestic sales and exports in July, the automakers said Wednesday.
The Toyota group, including Daihatsu Motor Co. and Hino Motors Ltd., increased global output 10.2 percent from a year earlier to 812,147 units, domestic sales 4.7 percent to 197,541 units and exports 12.5 percent to 246,809 units.
---------- Cumulative domestic PlayStation Portable sales top 10 mil. units
TOKYO - Cumulative sales of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.'s PlayStation Portable video game console in Japan exceeded 10 million units as of Sunday since its first model hit the market in December 2004, Enterbrain Inc. said Wednesday.
Nintendo DS, a portable game player released by Nintendo Co. also in December 2004, has already reached sales of more than 23 million units after breaching the 10 million mark in August 2006, according to the Tokyo game magazine publisher.
---------- Dollar briefly falls to upper 108 yen in Tokyo trading
TOKYO - The U.S. dollar briefly slipped to the upper 108 yen zone Wednesday in Tokyo as market players were reluctant to buy the currency due to a grim report by a U.S. governmental agency about the health of subprime-battered U.S. financial institutions.
At 5 p.m., the dollar was quoted at 109.01-02 yen, against Tuesday's 5 p.m. quotes of 109.53-63 yen in New York and 109.82-83 yen in Tokyo.
---------- Key 10-year JGB yield rises on caution over recent rise in bond price
TOKYO - The yield on the benchmark 10-year Japanese government bond rose Wednesday as bond-selling gained the upper hand due to caution about the recent rise in bond prices.
In interdealer trading, the yield on the No. 295, 1.5 percent issue gained 0.025 percentage point from Tuesday's close to 1.440 percent.