BRIEFS

BRIEFS

INDIA: 'NO PANIC' AFTER

CREDIT RATING DOWNGRADENEW DELHI - Moody's Investors Services lowered India's credit ratings in a move widely linked to recent nuclear tests, but the government said there was no cause for alarm.

''No need to panic. India is a large, diverse country,'' Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha said after the New York-based credit rating agency announced its downgrading of India's ratings.

The downgrading by Moody's came after the United States announced the details of economic sanctions it imposed to punish India for its controversial nuclear tests in May.

Pakistan, which staged retaliatory tests, also received sanctions.

IBERIA BUYS UP TO 76

AIRLINERS FROM AIRBUS

PARIS - Airbus Industrie is selling up to 76 single-aisle jet airplanes to Iberia, Spain's largest airline, in what the European consortium said was its largest ever order placed by a European carrier.

No price was disclosed.

The contract, signed Friday at Airbus headquarters in Toulouse, France, includes 50 firm orders for a total of 31 Airbus A320s and 19 A321s, a company statement said. It also includes 26 options for A320s.

The orders appeared to be a setback for Airbus' main competitor and world leader, Boeing Co. Airbus said the new aircraft are to replace the airline's existing fleet of older Boeing 727s and DC-9s used in its European and North African routes. Airbus said 77 customers have placed 1,713 firm orders for its A320 line. So far, 831 single-aisle Airbuses have been delivered.

WORLD BANK COTTON LOAN

TO UZBEKISTAN DELAYED

TASHKENT, Uzbekistan - The release of the first $36 million tranche of the World Bank's cotton loan to Uzbekistan is being delayed until August or September by the slow pace of land reform in the Central Asian republic, an official said.

The World Bank's board approved the loan program, totaling $270 million, to finance Uzbekistan's cotton-growing industry at the end of last year.

However, the loan is conditional on the adoption of certain market-oriented land legislation which Uzbekistan has so far failed to carry out.

The money will be spent on creating a land register, setting up an agricultural business center and creating an international cotton exchange in Samarkand.

RUBIN TO VISIT FOUR

ASIAN NATIONS ON TRIP

WASHINGTON - U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin is traveling to Asia this week, the Treasury Department said.

He'll spend three days in China from Thursday, the day President Clinton is set to arrive to meet Chinese officials. Mr. Rubin will later travel to Malaysia, Thailand and South Korea.