Interest rates raised 0.25%
The central bank has unexpectedly hiked key interest rates a quarter of a percentage point, as the bank tries to cool high inflation amid a faster-than-expected economic rebound. The bank raised the benchmark repo rate — at which the central bank makes short-term loans to commercial banks — to 5 percent and raised the reverse repurchase rate — the rate at which it borrows from commercial banks — to 3.5 percent, with immediate effect. “These measures should anchor inflationary expectations and contain inflation going forward,” the Reserve Bank of India said in a statement after trading hours Friday.
Container houses reappear
Rocketing house prices in China’s booming south are forcing low-earners to turn to cheap homes made out of shipping containers, state media said on Friday. Clusters of container villages are cropping up around the boomtown of Shenzhen, near Hong Kong, where real estate prices can rise as high as 20,000 yuan (US$2,900) per square meter, the People’s Daily said on its Web site. An 18m² container can be rented for an entire year for just more than 2,000 yuan, the report said. The containers, fitted with kitchens, bathrooms and windows, are gaining popularity among migrant laborers, builders and students, it said.
Tax evasion investigated
German prosecutors said on Friday they were investigating about 1,100 customers and staff of Swiss bank Credit Suisse’s local operations on suspicion of hiding money from German tax authorities. “The Credit Suisse clients have investments in total of around 1.2 billion euros [US$1.6 billion],” said Dirk Negenborn, spokesman for prosecutors in Duesseldorf, Germany. He said the total amount of tax owed was unclear. Sources said the Credit Suisse information should allow German tax authorities to recover up to 400 million euros.
Icahn ups ante on Lions Gate
Activist shareholder Carl Icahn raised the stakes in his yearlong dispute with Lions Gate Entertainment Corp on Friday, launching an all-out bid to take over the movie studio following disagreements over its spending. The hostile bid comes a week after Lions Gate rejected Icahn’s offer to buy a larger minority stake and rewrote its bylaws to make such a takeover attempt more difficult in future. The new offer for all outstanding shares also raised the specter of Canadian government involvement because Icahn, an American, could own the Vancouver-based company and cause friction with the country’s cultural policies. Icahn owns almost 19 percent of Lions Gate.
Boeing speeds up production
Boeing Co will speed up production plans for its 777 and 747 models in anticipation of greater demand from commercial airlines. Boeing, the world’s second-largest aircraft maker behind Airbus, said on Friday it saw the airline industry recovering this year, followed by a return to profitability next year. That should lead to demand for new aircraft in 2012 and beyond, the company said. The company also said the speedup was necessary because of a “conservatively managed approach to production.” Boeing said it did not think the new production schedule would have a material impact on earnings this year. It expects to offer an update to its earnings forecast when it releases first-quarter results next month.