New iPad starts production
Apple Inc has started production of a thinner, more powerful version of its popular iPad tablet computers, according to unnamed sources cited by the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday. The second-generation iPad will have more memory and a front-facing camera for capabilities such as a Face Time video-conferencing feature on Apple iPhone 4 smartphones, the Journal. said. Cupertino, California-based Apple said in its latest earnings release that it sold nearly 15 million iPads in the eight months after the tablet computers were introduced last April.
Exports edge up 0.5%
Exports increased for a second month in December as the global recovery boosted demand for goods and services from Europe’s largest economy. Exports, adjusted for work days and seasonal changes, rose 0.5 percent from November, when they increased 0.5 percent, the Federal Statistics Office in Wiesbaden said yesterday. Economists had forecast a gain of 1 percent, according to the median of 16 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey. Imports dropped 2.3 percent from November, when they jumped 4.1 percent. The economy expanded a record 3.6 percent last year as companies boosted output and hiring to meet reviving global demand. With euro-region governments stepping up budget cuts, companies have relied on faster-growing markets to boost orders. BMW AG, the world’s largest luxury automaker, on Friday forecast “significant” sales growth.
Nissan’s Q3 profit up 78%
Japanese giant Nissan Motor Co yesterday said net profit in the fiscal third quarter rose 78 percent as sales in Asia and China offset weak demand at home and the impact of a strong yen. Unlike its peers, Honda Motor Co and Toyota Motor Corp, Nissan saw third-quarter profit rise despite the pressures of softer domestic demand as well as a strong yen making products more expensive overseas and eroding repatriated earnings. However, Japan’s big three automakers have all raised their annual net profit outlook, bolstered by their strong performances in the nine months to December, suggesting the industry is weathering the yen’s surge better than expected. Nissan said its net profit in the three months ended December was ￥80.1 billion (US$972 million), compared with ￥45 billion in the same period a year earlier.
GDP forecast to rise 6.2%
The World Bank said yesterday that the nation’s GDP would grow 6.2 percent this year, a slight increase from last year, when the country was one of the best performing emerging economies. The bank maintained its growth forecast for this year made in September last year, saying the recent strength of investment in Southeast Asia’s largest economy was expected to continue. The country posted 6.1 percent growth last year compared with 4.5 percent in 2009, paving the way for the nation to achieve its target of 6.0 to 6.5 percent growth this year. World Bank country director for Indonesia Stefan Koeberle said that in order to achieve this target, Indonesia needed to deliver a favorable investment climate, improve infrastructure and find ways to create more and higher-quality jobs. The nation of 240 million people was largely unaffected by the global financial crisis, thanks to robust domestic demand and strong commodity exports.