Foreign investment up 40%
Foreign investment in Latin America grew about 40 percent last year, compared with the previous year, representing about US$113 billion, a UN body reported on Wednesday. Brazil received the highest amount of foreign direct investment, about US$48.5 billion, followed by Mexico with about US$17.7 billion, the report said. Chile was third with about US$15.1 billion, followed by Peru with US$7.3 billion, Colombia with US$6.8 billion and Argentina with US$6.2 billion. The UN body predicted foreign investment in the region would increase between 15 percent and 25 percent this year.
Difficulty ahead: banker
Developed economies around the world are “facing many years of difficulties,” Standard & Poor’s Financial Services president Deven Sharma said yesterday at an Asian Development Bank meeting in Hanoi. “Inflation and rising interest rates are adding an element of risk to the global economy,” Sharma said. “Banks are going to be very constrained in developed markets as they deleverage.”
Internet to boost economy
The Internet is expected to contribute about US$18.8 billion — 7.2 percent of the total — to Hong Kong’s economy by 2015, driven by a surge in mobile use and online shopping, a report for Google said. The digital market in the city of 7 million stood at HK$96 billion (US$12.4 billion) in 2009, or 5.9 percent of its GDP for the year. It is projected to grow by an average 7 percent every year to reach an estimated HK$146 billion (US$18.8 billion) by 2015, the report said.
Aussie firms look to India
Tens of thousands of Indian graduates could be trained to help deal with a skills shortage that threatens to seriously impact Australia’s booming resources sector, a report said yesterday. The Australian Financial Review said Australian and Indian officials have begun talks with tertiary institutions and resources companies in both nations about opening up Australia’s training system. This could involve educating as many as 100,000 Indians, mostly in Indian universities, with up to 30,000 recruited to work in Australia.
Growth slowing in the US
The US economy’s service sector grew last month at the slowest pace since August, renewing concern that more expensive gas and food may be weakening growth. Service companies, which employ 90 percent of the nation’s work force, still expanded for the 17th straight month, but their growth slowed considerably because of a sharp drop in demand for their services, the Institute for Supply Management said on Wednesday. The private trade group said its index of service-sector activity dropped to 52.8 last month. That’s down from 57.3 in March and a five-year high of 59.7 in February. A reading over 50 indicates expansion.
Nintendo to cut price of Wii
Nintendo is dropping the price of its Wii game console by US$50 to US$150 and cutting the price of several popular games ahead of next year’s launch of the successor to the system. Starting May 15, the newly priced Wii system will come in either black or white with a Mario Kart Wii game and a Wii Wheel accessory, replacing the previously included Wii Sports and Wii Sports Resort games. Nintendo will show off a playable model of the new system at the Electronic Entertainment Expo next month in Los Angeles.