Traffic to Japan drops
The company that runs United and Continental airlines says it has seen a noticeable drop in people flying from the US to Japan in the days since the massive earthquake there. Megan McCarthy, a spokeswoman for United Continental Holdings Inc, says there has been a “modest decline” in overall traffic to and from Japan. However, she described the decline in traffic going from US cities to Japan as “measurable.” United and the other big US carrier serving Asia, Delta Air Lines Inc, both said they are continuing to operate their full schedules to Japan. Lufthansa and Alitalia have both diverted their Tokyo flights to other Japanese cities.
SJM profit quadruples
The Macau casino giant owned by tycoon Stanley Ho (何鴻燊) saw net profit almost quadruple last year, the firm said, days after a family feud over his multibillion-dollar empire was settled. Ho’s flagship Sociedade de Jogos de Macau (SJM) saw a net profit of HK$3.56 billion (US$456 million), up from HK$907 million in 2009, while revenue soared almost 68 percent to HK$57.65 billion, it said in an annual report on Wednesday. The company said its overall share of Macau’s casino sector grew to 31.3 percent last year, up from 29.4 percent in 2009.
Trough likely this year
The ravaged Greek economy will likely hit a nadir in the second half of this year and then start regaining strength, the IMF said on Wednesday in a report on its bailout program. Given the depth of the collapse of the economy and government finances, it could take more time than other debt--ravaged European economies to recover, the IMF said. It also said near-term risks are significant, from contagion from other suffering economies, the likely rise in euro interest rates and continued problems in bank liabilities. The country continues to contract and a GDP shrinkage of 3 percent is likely this year, after shrinking about 4.5 percent last year.
Economy to grow 1.5%
Britain’s economy will grow 1.5 percent this year owing to “significant headwinds,” the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) said on Wednesday in a downgraded forecast published one week before the country’s annual budget. The organization said Britain’s recovery that began in late 2009 “faces significant headwinds during 2011, which can be mitigated by monetary policy remaining supportive.” The Paris-based OECD forecast British GDP growth of 1.5 percent this year, down from a previous estimate of 1.7 percent. The forecast for GDP next year was unchanged at 2 percent.
Carbon price recommended
Australia’s top climate adviser yesterday urged the government to set a carbon price of between A$20 and A$30 (US$19.7 and US$29.6) a tonne from the middle of next year, raising concerns from manufacturers over the cost of pollution, but winning support from environment groups. The carbon price proposed by economist Ross Garnaut is in line with mining industry and analyst forecasts, and would rise by 4 percent until a floating price kicks in with a full emissions trading scheme from mid-2015. Gillard has promised a fixed carbon price from the middle of next year, ahead of a full emissions trading scheme three to five years later, with details of the price and compensation to be worked out by a multi-party climate committee.