World Bulletin / News Desk
Japan's Toyota Motor Corp, Nissan Motor Co and Honda Motor Co plan to slash production in China by roughly half, the Nikkei newspaper reported on Monday, as a territorial row between Asia's two largest economies cuts sales of Japanese cars in the world's biggest auto market.
Sales have plunged at Japanese car makers since violent protests and calls for boycotts of Japanese products broke out across China in mid-September over the Japanese government's purchase of a group of disputed islands in the East China Sea from their private owner.
Nissan will suspend the night shift at its passenger car factories in China and operate only during the day, the business daily said. Nissan has two passenger car factories in China, in Huadu and Zhengzhou, with two lines each. A Nissan spokesman declined to confirm the report.
Toyota and Honda plan to cut China production to about half normal levels by shortening working hours and slowing down the speed of production lines, the Nikkei said without citing a source.
A Honda spokeswoman said she was checking the report.
A Toyota spokesman could not confirm the details of the report, saying that plants in China were operating again as planned after the country's national holiday period last week and that production was taking placed based on market demand.
Toyota's China sales fell about 40 percent in September from a year before to about 50,000 cars, a senior company executive told Reuters last week. The firm is set to officially release its September China sales figures on Tuesday.
The Nikkei report did not say how long the output cuts would last.
A spokeswoman for Mazda, which halted production for two extra days in late September before it shutdown factories during the holiday season, said plants in China were operating again but declined to comment on details.
A spokesman for Suzuki Motor Corp, which in late September had stopped one of two shifts that it normally runs in China ahead of the holiday season, said production was now back to what it was prior to the holiday.
Anti-Japan sentiment across China escalated last month amid a row over a group of uninhabited islets, known as the Senkaku islands in Japan and the Diaoyu islands in China, whose nearby waters are thought to hold potentially rich natural gas reserves. They have been under Japan's control since 1895.
Demonstrators vandalised properties of Japanese companies, including a Toyota outlet in the eastern city of Qingdao that was torched, in the latest flare-up in tensions that have smouldered since the end of World War Two.
The latest production adjustments come on top of general cutbacks the Japanese automakers had been making before the protests, as the Chinese economy grew at its slowest pace in more than three years in the second quarter.
But the dramatic drop in demand for cars made by Japanese brands, which had a combined share of roughly a fifth of China's passenger car market in August before the protests, has been an unexpected boon for foreign rivals.
South Korea's Hyundai Motor Co's China sales climbed 15 percent to 84,188 vehicles last month, while Volkswagen's Audi boosted sales by 20 percent, BMW by 55 percent and Daimler's Mercedes-Benz by 10 percent.
Experts state that the crisis poses risks to the region, which is significant for oil production and exports in the world.
Federal Reserve removes word 'patient;' interest rate increase expected within months. Yellen says timing of rate rise 'not decided,' but will come anytime after April; holds current rates at 0 to 0.25 pct.
Many emerging-market currencies have fallen against the dollar in recent weeks
Anticipated Federal Reserve interest rate hikes making dollar strong against most emerging market currencies, Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan says.
European Statistical Agency says slight decline fuelled by drop in production of durable consumer goods.
EU will use all its foreign policy instruments to establish strategic energy partnerships with producing and transit countries.
Dollar strength and waning investor confidence are driving the lira lower
Greece has already received two bailouts totalling 240 billion euros but fellow euro zone member Ireland said last week that it would have to negotiate a third programme.
The Ukraine crisis has tested the loyalties of Bulgaria, a Balkan country with historical ties to Moscow and heavily dependent on Russian energy supplies.
Syria expels three United Nations aid workers hindering aid development in the country
Russia has overcome a "psychological barrier" and is ready to deepen its economic ties with China, Deputy Prime MinisterArkady Dvorkovich said
With Chancellor Angela Merkel's right-left coalition plus the opposition Greens, it was the biggest majority for any euro zone rescue package so far in the 631-seat chamber.
The agreement commits Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi to cooperate with the United States in customs issues, ease red tape at borders, reduce customs wait times and harmonize trade standards.
Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has unnerved China with his re-examination of certain projects that Chinahas invested in, including a $1.5 billion "port city" project in Colombo.
EU energy chief Maros Sefcovic invited Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Demchyshyn for talks
Gazprom and Ukrainian state energy firm Naftogaz have accused each other of not sticking to agreements on gas supplies.