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The Independent Online
South Africa wins a credit rating

South Africa's peaceful political transition was yesterday acknowledged by two US credit rating agencies, Moody's and Standard & Poor's, which assigned it a credit rating.

Moody's gave the republic a Baa3 rating, which Chris Liebenberg, Minister of Finance, said was 'considered investment grade by the international community'. S&P gave a BB rating with a 'positive outlook'. The ratings will allow South Africa access to a wider range of capital markets.

Upwardly mobile

The number of mobile telephone users surged over the summer, with Vodafone adding 123,000 net new subscribers, more than twice the level added by the company between July and September last year. Its rival Cellnet added 133,000 net new subscribers, bringing its total to 1.28 million compared with Vodafone's 1.45 million.

House prices fall

House prices fell by 2.9 per cent during September according to Nationwide Building Society. This is the steepest one-month fall since October 1990, but prices are still 1.4 per cent higher than a year ago. The fall follows two months of price rises. Nationwide expects house prices to remain roughly stable.

Extra licence

The Department of Trade and Industry is to offer a fifth licence for the provision of mobile data services following an industry-wide consultation. It has received expressions of interest from four organisations wishing to bid for the licence.

Rates hope

Commerzbank AG's chairman, Martin Kohlhaussen, said there was scope for 'a modest further reduction in money market rates', adding that fears about inflationary overheating in North America and Britain spreading to Continental Europe were wrong.

Truce at TSB

The finance union Bifu has postponed a planned announcement of industrial action at TSB to allow last-minute peace talks. Negotiators from the union and TSB management agreed to meet at the conciliation service Acas tomorrow.

BAA proposal

British Airport Authority has proposed building a new dollars 300m terminal to improve the Philippines' rundown international airport in Manila.

Warburg salary

A caption to a picture of Sir David Scholey, chairman of SG Warburg, published on 1 October, should have said that the group's top salary rose by 113 per cent over the past three years while total shareholders' return rose 40 per cent.

WORLD MARKETS

New York: Blue chips ended on a mixed note as investors weighed data showing inflation still a threat. The Dow Jones Average was up 3.70 at 3,846.89.

Tokyo: A late surge took the Nikkei average to 19,650.03, an 86.22-point gain, after it had hovered around Friday's closing levels for most of the day.

Hong Kong: The lightest trade for three months saw the Hang Seng ease 28.75 to 9,492.49.

Sydney: With trade subdued by the Labor Day holiday in New South Wales, the All Ordinaries index edged up 2.3 to 2,030.9.

Bombay: The return of speculative buyers signalled an upturn, with the index climbing 58.46 points to end at 4,339.46.

Johannesburg: Selective demand propped up industrials but golds drifted lower on a slack bullion price. The overall index eased four points to 5,672.

Paris: After touching a 1994 low in thin trade the CAC-40 index closed 26.42 adrift at 1,852.83.

Frankfurt: Closed (holiday).

Zurich: Losses on other European bourses helped to send the Swiss Performance Index down 19.43 points to 1,663.96.

London: Report, page 26.

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