Facebook mulls share sale
Facebook may let its employees sell up to US$1 billion of their shares to institutional investors at a price that values the company at about US$60 billion, an influential industry blog reported. Facebook is pondering the move after entertaining approaches from a number of major institutions interested in investing in the world’s largest social network, the All Things Digital technology blog cited sources as saying on Thursday. That valuation would surpass previous measures. Last month, the company founded by Mark Zuckerberg in a Harvard dorm room raised US$1.5 billion of financing in a round led by Goldman Sachs, which valued it at US$50 billion. Facebook, whose online service counts more than a half a billion users worldwide, is expected to possibly go public next year.
GDP to grow 4-6%: Heng
Singapore’s economy will grow 4 percent to 6 percent this year, driven by the services sector, Heng Swee Keat (王瑞傑), managing director of the central bank, said in a speech yesterday. The state and Asia as a whole are facing rising inflationary pressures, and the region has seen a strong surge of capital inflows, he said. “Asian and most emerging economies, including Singapore, have bounced back decisively and are now facing rising inflationary pressures because of tight market factors and higher global commodity prices,” Heng said.
Bolivia to boost production
Bolivia will tap central bank reserves to boost agricultural production and stockpile food, joining countries from Africa to Asia in a bid to avoid a looming global “crisis,” Bolivian Finance Minister Luis Arce said. Faster inflation caused by rising food prices is becoming a global problem, Arce said in an interview on Thursday in La Paz. China announced this week that it would spend 12.9 billion yuan ($1.96 billion) to bolster grain production and fight drought. North African shipments from France’s main grain terminal jumped the most in 10 weeks on Thursday as countries boost stockpiles as a result of widening political protests. Bolivia will for the first time “produce food in order to stock it,” Arce said. “We are looking at a food crisis that is coming.” A portion of the nation’s US$10 billion in central bank reserves should be used to increase loans to producers and lower prices, Arce said. The government also plans to create a state-run company to store wheat, corn, soybeans and rice, he said.
UK producer prices surge
UK producer prices rose twice as much as economists forecast last month, which could add to concerns the Bank of England was losing control of inflation. The cost of goods at factory gates jumped 1 percent from December, when it rose 0.4 percent, the Office for National Statistics said yesterday in London. That’s the most since April last year and exceeded the 0.5 percent median forecast of 14 economists in a Bloomberg News survey. From a year earlier, output prices rose 4.8 percent, the most since May last year. On the month, nine out of 10 categories of output prices increased, with the gain led by food, petroleum products and chemicals and pharmaceuticals. Core producer prices, which strip out food, beverages, tobacco and petroleum, increased 0.7 percent last month from the previous month, the most since July 2008, and 3.2 percent on the year.