October output shrank 5.1%
Industrial output shrank 5.1 percent year-on-year in October, well below expectations and piling pressure on the central bank to consider some monetary loosening after months of rate hikes. The October figure released by the government marked a sharp slump from the 1.9 percent expansion posted in September and was the first contraction in output for more than two years. Manufacturing production, which accounts for about 75 percent of the industrial index, declined 6 percent year-on-year, while mining output was down 7.2 percent and capital goods output plunged 25.5 percent.
Recovery budget approved
The Cabinet approved 20 billion baht (US$645 million) in spending to recover from the nation’s worst flooding in almost 70 years, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said yesterday. The spending includes 13 billion baht in compensation for flood victims and 7 billion baht to repair roads, bridges and historical sites damaged by the deluge, said Worawit Jampeerat, head of the budget bureau. The funds, which would come from the fiscal budget for this year, are the first part of 120 billion baht in planned spending on flood relief that would likely pass parliament in February, Yingluck told reporters.
Blohm + Voss sold
German heavy industry giant ThyssenKrupp said yesterday it had agreed to sell its civil shipbuilding activities Blohm + Voss to British investment Star Capital Partners for an undisclosed sum. ThyssenKrupp, which is active in steel, elevators, submarines and car parts, said in a statement it had decided to sell the activities as part of a strategy to optimize its business portfolios. The deal, which is subject to approval by the competition authorities, is expected to be finalized in the first quarter of next year. ThyssenKrupp did not give any indication of the price, but according to the Handelsblatt business daily, it is less than 100 million euros (US$133 million).
ING to buy back debt trade
ING NV, the Dutch bank and insurer, said it would launch offers to buy back 5.8 billion euros of its own debt trading below face value. The company said it would offer cash or new senior bonds for seven batches of “subordinated debt securities” at prices ranging from 58 percent to 87 percent of their face value. ING said the offer is a premium to levels the securities are trading at now. When debt trades at a discount to its face value, it is a signal investors believe there is a significant chance it won’t be paid back. To the extent the paper is repurchased below face value, it would lower ING’s net debt and improve its capital position.
Swedbank catering to Latvia
Swedbank said yesterday it had been working to provide cash for customers in Latvia after more than 10,000 clients withdrew more than 10 million lati (US$19.2 million) in a day due to rumors about a bank having problems in the Baltic state. Despite assurances from the regulator and banks, Latvians lined up to empty cash machines on Sunday in a country of 2.2 million people with a history of post-Soviet bank failures. Swedbank and SEB both said they had seen increased withdrawals on Sunday after rumors spread on Twitter of problems at Swedish banks.