Fri, Jul 15, 2011 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

LABOR

Samsung rejects claims

A study commissioned by Samsung Electronics rejected assertions that employees might have been exposed to carcinogenic chemicals at its plants, as several cancer-stricken former employees of the world’s largest maker of memory chips seek compensation for their illnesses. Despite the findings, the South Korean firm said it would consider offering financial support for some of its former employees diagnosed with cancer, following allegations by civic groups and some former employees that its working environment caused leukemia. Samsung said 26 of its employees who worked at its chip plants had been diagnosed with leukemia or lymphoma, and 10 of them had died of cancer. Civic groups say there are many more workers who have fallen ill due to a hazardous working environment.

MINING

Rare earth quotas raised

China’s Ministry of Commerce said yesterday it was issuing a second batch of rare earth export quotas for this year, with the second batch totaling 15,738 tonnes. China produces 97 percent of the world’s supply of rare earths, a group of 17 minerals used in electronics and defense and renewable energy industries. The WTO ruled last week that China breached trade law by curbing exports of eight raw materials, a judgement Europe and the US said meant China should also be forced to increase exports of 17 rare earths.

ECONOMY

India inflation hits 9.44%

India’s annual inflation accelerated to 9.44 percent last month, official data showed yesterday, increasing pressure on the central bank to hike interest rates further. The rise in the benchmark wholesale price index — the government’s most-watched cost-of-living barometer — was up from May’s 9.06 percent, the ministry reported. The Reserve Bank of India has increased key rates 10 times since March last year and it is expected to raise them again at its next monetary policy meeting later this month despite signs the economy is losing steam.

NEW ZEALAND

GDP grows despite quake

New Zealand’s economy grew a better-than-expected 0.8 percent in the March quarter, despite a deadly earthquake, data showed yesterday, sending the local dollar up to a record high against the greenback. Finance Minister Bill English said the fourth-quarter figures — double the forecast 0.4 percent — showed the resilience of the economy in the face of the February earthquake, which shattered Christchurch and left 181 people dead. The Statistics New Zealand data also revealed full year growth of 1.5 percent, also above expectations.

FAST FOOD

Yum up on overseas sales

Yum Brands Inc, owner of the Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and KFC fast-food chains, said on Wednesday that strong sales overseas served up 10 percent growth in its second-quarter profit, even though its US business continued to struggle. Yum’s sales in China rose fast, and its profits there soared. But the company reported across-the-board declines in the US, including a 5 percent drop in revenue at Taco Bell restaurants open at least a year. Louisville-based Yum said it earned US$316 million, or US$0.65 per share, for the quarter that ended June 11, up from US$286 million, or US$0.59 per share, a year earlier. Its revenue rose 9 percent to US$2.8 billion.

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