Chrysler to add 1,250 jobs
Chrysler said on Thursday it would add 1,250 jobs at two Detroit, Michigan, factories next year. The company plans to add 1,100 people at the Jefferson North factory that assembles the Jeep Grand Cherokee to help build a diesel model for North America next year. The plant will get a third shift of workers. Chrysler will also add 150 jobs by reopening the Conner Avenue factory to make a Street Racing Team version of the Dodge Viper muscle car. CEO Sergio Marchionne said in a statement that the company’s future was interwoven with the city of Detroit. Chrysler is using gritty images of Detroit in advertising that highlights its comeback from a 2009 trip through bankruptcy protection.
Global spending outlook cut
Research firm Gartner Inc has lowered its global technology spending growth forecast because of the sluggish economy and the euro crisis. Gartner said on Thursday that the computer hardware sector would be the hardest hit, hurt by supply constraints in the hard disk drive industry. Gartner now expects worldwide spending on technology to grow 3.7 percent this year to US$3.8 trillion. That’s down from its earlier forecast of 4.6 percent growth. Last year, global tech spending grew 6.9 percent from the prior year, to US$3.7 trillion. Gartner expects spending to grow by just 0.7 percent this year in Western Europe, down from its earlier forecast of 3.4 percent growth, as the outcome of the euro crisis is not yet clear.
Crisis tolerance limits seen
The global economy could withstand widespread disruption from a major natural disaster or attack by militants for only a week, a report by UK-based think tank Chatham House said yesterday. The frequency of natural disasters, such as extreme weather events, appears to be increasing and globalization has increased their impact, the report found. Events such as the 2010 volcanic ash cloud, which grounded flights in Europe, Japan’s earthquake and tsunami and Thailand’s floods last year, showed that key sectors and businesses can be severely affected if disruption to production or transport goes on for more than a week. The report said up to 30 percent of developed countries’ GDP could be directly threatened by crises.
Retail sales rise 17 percent
China’s retail sales rose an estimated 17 percent year-on-year to 18 trillion yuan (US$2.86 trillion) last year, as the government sought to boost domestic consumption, the Ministry of Commerce said. Retail sales are forecast to grow more than 14 percent annually this year, the ministry said, according to a report by Xinhua news agency late on Thursday. Separately, the ministry said growth in foreign direct investment slowed sharply last year amid the world economic turmoil, rising 9 percent year-on-year to US$115 billion, the China Daily reported yesterday. Foreign investment rose more than 17 percent to US$105.7 billion in 2010.
China raises crude levy
Beijing has raised the threshold for a tax on crude oil charged to the nation’s two biggest producers, the firms said, helping ease their financial burden and encourage output. The Ministry of Finance hiked the minimum level for the levy to US$55 per barrel, up from US$40, PetroChina (中石油) and the China Petroleum & Chemical Corp (中國石化) said in statements on Thursday. The move was retroactive to November last year, they said.