Bond sales top US$1 billion
Sales of Japanese government bonds for rebuilding from the March 11 disaster reached ￥100 billion (US$1.3 billion), about twice the amount of similiarly yielding bonds sold for retail investors in September, the Nikkei Shimbun said, without saying where it got the information. Japan’s three mega-banks and four smaller banks are estimated to account for about 20 percent of the total sales, the Nikkei said. The country’s top publicly traded lenders are Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc and Mizuho Financial Group Inc.
Adecco to buy VSN
Adecco SA said it has agreed to buy VSN Inc, a provider of professional staffing services in Japan, for an enterprise value of 90 million euros (US$117 million). VSN doubles Adecco’s exposure to professional staffing in Japan and reinforces its strong position in an attractive structural growth market, Adecco said yesterday.
Public deficit drops
The government, struggling to balance its books and keep in favor with the credit markets, said on Monday that its public finances were better than expected last year. The Ministry of Finance said the country had a public deficit — the shortfall between tax income and spending — of 61.5 billion euros (US$80 billion), down from 67 billion euros in 2010. The government had expected a deficit of 64.8 billion euros for last year and the better-than-expected showing reflected improved tax revenues and lower spending, the ministry said.
Business confidence plunges
Business confidence in the country’s economic outlook plunged last month to its lowest level in three years, according to Lloyds Bank Corporate Markets, which said there was a 74 percent chance of a recession. An index of British companies’ optimism about the economy compared with three months earlier dropped by three points from November to minus 23, the unit of Lloyds Banking Group PLC said in an e-mailed report released in London yesterday. Last month’s reading was the lowest since January 2009. The Lloyds unit questioned 304 companies, all with sales of more than ￡1 million (US$1.55 million), between Nov. 28 and Dec. 15 for the report.
Manufacturing in the country expanded for the first time in six months last month, driven by gains in basic metals, transport and publishing, a private survey showed. The manufacturing index was 50.2 last month compared with 47.8 in November, the Australian Industry Group and PricewaterhouseCoopers said in a survey released yesterday. It was the third reading for last year that was above 50, the dividing line between expansion and contraction.
Gambling revenue surges
Casino gambling revenue in the territory surged by nearly half last year as the world’s biggest gambling market continued to boom. According to data posted on the gaming department’s Web site yesterday, gross revenue from Macau’s 34 casinos last year totaled 267.87 billion patacas (US$33.5 billion). That’s 42 percent higher than 188.34 billion patacas in 2010. Macau’s economic growth has rocketed since the government broke up a four-decade monopoly in 2002 and allowed foreign operators in.