Moody’s cuts Spain’s rating
Ratings agency Moody’s slashed Spain’s sovereign credit rating by a notch to “Aa2” yesterday and warned of further cuts, saying that the country’s plans to clean up the battered banking sector would cost more than the government expects and add to its debt burden.
Moody’s Investors Service also said it had ongoing worries about the Spanish government’s ability to achieve structural improvement in its finances. A negative outlook reflects concerns that Spain’s government finances “remain skewed to the downside,” the ratings agency said.
German exports gain ground
German exports gained a solid 24.2 percent in January over the past 12 months, official but provisional figures released in Frankfurt yesterday showed, pushing the country’s trade surplus higher. The value of German exports rose to 78.5 billion euros (US$108.7 billion), the Destatis office said, a sign of sustained strength in Europe’s biggest economy, while imports gained 24.1 percent to 68.4 billion euros. That pushed the national trade surplus up to 10.1 billion euros, from 8.1 billion in January last year, Destatis said.
GDP contracted 1.3% in Q4
Japan’s economy shrank more than initially thought in the fourth quarter, the government said yesterday. Real GDP contracted at an annualized rate of 1.3 percent in the October-December period, worse than the negative 1.1 percent growth reported in preliminary data last month. The Cabinet Office’s revised report includes weaker figures for business investment and consumer spending. The annualized figure translates to a 0.3 percent fall from the previous three-month period. For the full calendar year last year, Japan’s economy expanded 3.9 percent, unchanged from the preliminary report.
Foreclosures hit 3-year low
US foreclosure filings fell last month to the lowest level in three years as lenders under legal scrutiny struggled to process a backlog of defaults and put new systems in place for home seizures, RealtyTrac Inc said. A total of 225,101 US properties received notices of default, auction or repossession, down 14 percent from January and 27 percent from February last year, the Irvine, California-based data seller said yesterday in a statement.
Rio Tinto raises bid again
Australian mining giant Rio Tinto has again raised its offer for Riversdale Mining Ltd, valuing the coal miner and its African operations at US$4 billion. Rio Tinto said yesterday that it was raising its offer to US$16.50 a share, up from the US$16 offered in December. The takeover would be Rio Tinto’s first major acquisition since its US$38 billion takeover of Alcan in 2007. Doug Ritchie, chief executive of Rio Tinto’s energy division, says that Riversdale needs his company’s expertise to develop its projects.
Kinect breaks all-time record
Microsoft Corp said on Wednesday it has sold more than 10 million Kinect motion-sensing game system units worldwide in just over four months, making it the fastest-selling consumer device on record. The infrared camera add-on for the Xbox game console helped boost Microsoft’s revenue in the last quarter and is trouncing a rival product from Sony Corp.