Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Star Online: Business

Posted: 12 Jan 2014 08:00 AM PST

YOU'VE heard it before - desperate people need desperate measures. If you are one of those who have been worrying about the pending increase in your cost of living and are wondering how to make ends meet in 2014, the frugal list below may come in handy for you.

You may not have been so frugal before but learning one frugal lesson at a time can certainly help you find 'new money'. Who knows, in 30 days you might even surprise yourself. Check this out.

1. Drink water.Stop ordering expensive drinks.

2. Batch your errands. Always have a shopping list.

3. Stay home more. Spend time with yourfamily.

4. Cancel subscriptions. You may not even miss them.

5. Do it yourself. Learn to be a handy man or woman.

6. Stop paying interest. Pay in cash or don't buy if you can't afford it.

7. Travel on a budget. Budget travels can be fun.

8. Use cellphone sparingly. Optimise on free messaging services.

9. Cut or colour your own hair. Ask a friend to help you.

10. Maintain your things. Pay for fewer repairs.

11. Save energy. Do a good deed for the environment.

12. Buy bargain clothing. Dress down.

13. Plan ahead. Buy in bulk.

14. Cook ahead. Freeze the extras.

15. Don't wash clothes so often. Re-wear them at least twice.

16. Save on groceries. Shop on discount days and discount vouchers.

17. Frugal festivals. Keep them simple.

18. Look for used items first. They can be as good as new.

19. Eat out less except on weekends.

20. Bag lunch to work. It's healthier.

21. Don't window shop. Don't get tempted.

22. Use the library. Read online.

23. Find free entertainment on the Internet.

24. Find frugal exercise like walking.

25. Stay healthy and keep medical bills low.

26. Carpool, walk or cycle if you can.

27. Look for discounts. Don't be shy to ask.

28. Sell your clutter. Get organised too.

29. Reduce smoking. Protect your lungs.

30. Stop clubbing. Care for your liver and eardrums too.

Posted: 12 Jan 2014 07:51 PM PST

SINGAPORE: The dollar faced fresh pressure in Asian trade Monday as lacklustre US jobs data fuelled speculation about the Federal Reserve's plans to wind down its stimulus programme.

The euro bought US$1.3678 in mid-morning Singapore trade from US$1.3666 in New York on Friday. The greenback eased to 103.29 yen from 104.15 yen. The euro bought 141.27 yen from 142.33 yen.

Japanese financial markets were closed for a public holiday.

The greenback's losses extended those seen in New York on Friday after data from the US Labor Department showed the economy added a mere 74,000 jobs in December, well below the consensus estimate of 197,000.

The unemployment rate dropped to 6.7%, from 7.0% in November, although that was mostly because more people had given up looking for work.

The Fed last month said it would cut its monthly bond purchases by US$10bil to US$75bil in January as the economy shows signs of strengthening and the unemployment rate falls. Analysts were eagerly awaiting the jobs numbers as they were seen to likely influence whether further cuts would follow swiftly.

"The dollar traded much lower against all majors following the appalling jobs report," Desmond Chua, market analyst at CMC Markets in Singapore, wrote in a note.

He said the dollar was likely to remain pressured below the US$105.30 yen level owing to "the outlook in the US looking slightly bleak before US consumer confidence and retail sales data later this week".

However, French bank Credit Agricole said the jobs data was not likely to alter the Fed's plan to continue with its so-called "tapering".

"Adverse weather may have played a role in the weakness, while complicating matters was the drop in the unemployment rate to 6.7% largely due to people leaving the jobs market," it said in a note.

The lender said the euro faced downside risks after European Central Bank (ECB) president Mario Draghi last week said the ECB governing council had discussed using "all eligible instruments allowed by the (EU) treaty" if inflation in the 18-nation economic bloc continues to fall.

"From that angle, it cannot be ruled out that more aggressive policy action such as quantitative easing will be considered if monetary conditions tighten further," Credit Agricole said - AFP.

Posted: 12 Jan 2014 07:29 PM PST

JAKARTA: Indonesia, among the world's biggest suppliers of natural resources, halted all mineral ore exports on Sunday to try to promote domestic processing, but threatening the country's nickel and bauxite industries worth more than US$2bil in annual shipments.

Halting exports of nickel ore could spark the biggest shake-up in the global nickel industry in more than five years, with Chinese stainless steel factories that make everything from kitchenware to cars and buildings set to hurt the most.

In one of his most far-reaching economic policy decisions since taking office nearly 10 years ago, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono approved the mineral ore export ban.

But in last minute changes at the weekend, he diluted it to allow exports of copper, iron ore, lead and zinc concentrates to continue, giving a reprieve to US mining giants Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold and Newmont Mining Corp, which together produce 97% of Indonesia's copper.

No such relief was offered to the nickel and bauxite industries, clouding the future for state-owned nickel miner PT Perusahaan Perseroan Aneka Tambang (Antam) and hundreds of other smaller miners.

"Minerals that have to be refined before export are bauxite, nickel, tin, chromium, gold and silver because they don't have intermediate products," Sukhyar, director general of coal and minerals at the ministry, told Reuters.

The long-planned ban hopes to eventually boost Indonesia's profits from its mineral wealth by forcing miners to process their ores before export. But officials fear a short-term cut in foreign revenue could widen the current account deficit, which has undermined investor confidence and battered the currency.

Indonesia is also the world's biggest exporter of refined tin and thermal coal, and home to the fifth largest copper mine and top gold mine. Mineral shipments totalled US$10.4bil in 2012, around 5% of total exports, according to the World Bank.

Yudhoyono's last-minute regulation significantly lowers the minimum processing requirements for copper, manganese, lead, zinc and iron ore to be defined as concentrates.

However, officials have said that such exports would only be allowed until 2017.

Under the proposed changes government officials said 66 companies, which include Freeport and Newmont, would be allowed to continue to export "processed mineral" as they have provided assurances to the government that they would soon build the necessary smelters.

"As long as they can fulfill the requirements, Freeport and tens of national miners are still allowed to export," Industry Minister M.S. Hidayat told Reuters.

More details are expected to be announced this week.

The companies likely to feel the most impact from the ban are miners of nickel and bauxite, numbering in the hundreds.


Shortly before the ban took effect, Freeport halted copper exports and said it would not resume them until there was clarity on which minerals can be shipped.

Freeport Indonesia CEO Rozik Soetjipto told Reuters he believed the company would be allowed to continue shipping copper concentrate, but was awaiting government confirmation.

Freeport, Indonesia's dominant copper producer with 73% market share, has not made a shipment from its remote Papua port since Dec. 15, said union official Virgo Solossa.

A company spokeswoman said Freeport continued to provide copper to a local smelter.

More than 100 mining companies have been forced to reduce or shutdown operations because of the uncertainty. Along with Freeport, Indonesian miner Perusahaan Perseroan Aneka Tambang (Antam) also stopped nickel ore exports a few days ago, the firm's corporate secretary Tri Hartono said.

The Indonesian Mineral Entrepreneurs Association said it plans to challenge the ban in the Supreme Court and Constitutional Court, the two highest courts in the country.


A major economic impact could make the ban a hot political issue in this year's legislative and presidential elections in the world's fourth most populous country.

Thousands of mine workers have already been laid off ahead of the ban, sparking protests in Jakarta.

"We call on all mining workers to prepare to go on the streets and swarm the presidential palace if the government goes ahead with the implementation of the ban," said Juan Forti Silalahi of the National Mine Workers Union in a statement on Saturday.

Police have been stationed at ports and around mines to secure those places in case of public disturbances, said national police spokesman, Boy Rafli Amar - Reuters.

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