Sumitomo chief sees energy potential

JIJI

Major trading house Sumitomo Corp. aims to beef up its natural resources and energy operations, said its president, Kuniharu Nakamura.

Nakamura said Sumitomo will strive to increase its assets from the current ¥7 trillion as the company was able to strengthen its financial base in the past four years.

Sumitomo intends to promote its resources business, which is smaller in scale than other divisions of the company, he said, noting, “Business opportunities in the areas of resources and energy, foods and water supply are expected to increase in India and other Asian countries and African nations where populations are seen growing.”

In these countries, demand for steel and chemical products is expected to increase since more office buildings and houses will be built, Nakamura said.

In Africa, Sumitomo plans to set up more representative offices to step up its information-gathering activities, he said.

Nakamura also said Japan should join Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade talks at an early date and negotiate specific terms for the country’s possible participation in the pact.

“Japan would be placed at a disadvantage in terms of competition unless it participates (in the TPP negotiations),” he said.

Nakamura said the greatest attention should be paid to the United States in predicting the course of the world economy for 2013, stressing that the country should take measures to avert the “fiscal cliff.”

Europe is expected to take a considerable period of time to achieve an economic recovery, while China will likely be able to maintain economic growth of 7 to 8 percent and is expected to implement steps to spur domestic demand, he said.

Turning to Japan, Nakamura said he expects manufacturers will increase exports somewhat if the yen falls to 85-90 against the dollar.