Mining boosted economy
The nation’s mining-powered economy grew 1 percent during the September quarter in a result hailed by the government yesterday as “exceptional” given the ongoing global turmoil. The Bureau of Statistics said mining and construction underpinned the robust performance, which represented year-on-year growth of 2.5 percent and followed upwardly revised growth of 1.4 percent for the three months to June. Economists had expected GDP to rise 0.8 to 1 percent quarter-on-quarter and 1.9 to 2.1 percent from a year earlier.
UK mulls foreign disclosures
The UK is weighing plans to make overseas banks, including Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan, disclose the earnings of their top executives, extending an accord already reached with British banks. Firms with more than ￡50 billion (US$77 billion) of assets would have to disclose the compensation of their eight highest-paid non-board level executives, even if their headquarters are overseas, the Treasury said in a consultation paper on Tuesday. The plan would affect the 15 largest banks operating in the UK, the government said. Domestic lenders, including RBS and Barclays, already publish it under a February agreement with the Treasury.
Japan firms to buy LNG
Japanese firms have taken their biggest step into Australia’s growing liquefied natural gas (LNG) sector, with five major power companies signing a A$70 billion (US$71.8 billion) sales deal. The Japanese utilities on Tuesday committed to buying 4 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) of LNG from Australia’s proposed Ichthys Project for 15 years, ahead of a final investment decision on the project, owner Inpex said. Inpex said the total volume of 8.4 MTPA of LNG from the project was now accounted for, “with approximately 70 percent of the Ichthys LNG to be delivered to Japan.”
Forex reserves hit US$1.3tn
Tokyo said yesterday its foreign exchange reserves hit a record high US$1.3 trillion last month after authorities intervened in currency markets to stem the yen’s rise. The level was US$94.88 billion higher than in October, the finance ministry said, and surpassed a previous record of US$1.22 trillion set in August. The reserves are composed mainly of foreign-currency denominated securities and bank deposits along with gold and other assets, according to ministry data. The latest data did not break down foreign exchange assets by currency, but Japan has bought 2.975 billion euros (US$4 billion) worth of debt issued by the eurozone bailout fund, the European Financial Stability Facility, so far this year.
US workers prefer cash: poll
Companies planning to spend thousands of dollars on staff Christmas parties, even with open bars, shouldn’t bother because most US employees would prefer money. Nearly three quarters of 2,574 workers questioned in a Harris poll said they would opt for a cash bonus, followed by 62 percent who would prefer a salary increase and 32 percent who wanted more paid time off. Only 4 percent put a Christmas party on the top of their list. “Until we see the impacts of the Great Recession further recede, when it comes to what employees want it starts with cash and other financial perks to make sure that ends can be met over the holidays,” said Rusty Rueff, of Glassdoor, the jobs listing firm that commissioned the poll.