Inflation jumps to 2.3%
Inflation in Germany jumped to 2.3 percent for the whole of last year, its highest level in three years and above European Central Bank targets, official data showed yesterday. Soaring energy prices pushed the consumer price index for the eurozone’s largest economy up by an annual average 2.3 percent last year, compared with 1.1 percent in 2010 and 0.4 percent in 2009, the national statistics office Destatis said in a statement. Excluding energy prices, inflation would have reached only 1.3 percent last year, the statisticians calculated. The European Central Bank aims to keep inflation in the 17-nation eurozone close to, but below 2 percent. Inflation in Germany exceeded that level in every month last year, Destatis said.
Industrial production rises
India’s industrial production rebounded in November, government data showed yesterday, providing some relief to Asia’s third-largest economy, which has been struggling with slowing growth and high inflation. Industrial production grew 5.9 percent in November, more than expected, thanks to revived consumer spending, the data showed. Output shrank 4.7 percent in October, a bit less than estimated earlier. However, economists caution that industrial production numbers are choppy and say the Reserve Bank is unlikely to reverse months of rate hikes when it meets later this month, unless it gets strong evidence that inflation is cooling.
Current account surplus falls
Japan’s current account surplus fell 85.5 percent in November as the nation ran a trade deficit because of higher energy costs, government data showed yesterday. The surplus in the current account, the broadest measure of its trade with the rest of the world, was down year-on-year for the ninth straight month since the March earthquake and tsunami disasters. The surplus for November stood at ￥138.5 billion (US$1.8 billion), with the trade deficit reaching ￥585.1 billion against a surplus of ￥256.2 billion a year earlier.
Vehicle sales rise slightly
Industry figures show vehicle sales in China rose a scant 2.5 percent in 2010 as higher prices and traffic controls kept buyers out of showrooms, but the market remained the world’s biggest. The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers reported yesterday that total vehicle sales rose to 18.5 million last year, up from 18 million in 2009, when sales rose 32 percent. In contrast, US auto sales jumped 10 percent to 12.8 million vehicles last year. The expiration of tax incentives and subsidies, along with restrictions on car purchases in Beijing, slowed sales, which had grown at a double-digit pace every year since 1999 — apart from in 2008, at the height of the global crisis.
Fiat, Chrysler rumor ‘untrue’
Fiat SpA and Chrysler Group LLC might consider looking for a “third partner” before Chrysler returns to the stock market in 2013, CEO Sergio Marchionne said yesterday in an interview in the Polish newspaper Rzeczpospolita. Marchionne said it “isn’t true” that Fiat and Chrysler want to buy General Motor Co’s Opel unit in Europe or are seeking a combination with PSA Peugeot Citroen, according to the newspaper. “I was at dinner on Tuesday with Philippe Varin, the CEO of PSA Peugeot Citroen, and we talked about everything except” a possible merger, Rzeczpospolita quoted Marchionne as saying.