November orders jump
Japan’s core private-sector machinery orders, a leading indicator of corporate capital spending, jumped 14.8 percent in November from the previous month, official data showed yesterday. The core data, which excludes volatile demand from power companies and for ships, was significantly stronger than market expectations of a 5.6 percent increase. The robust outcome followed two straight months of decline, as Japanese firms hesitated to invest partly because of the Thai floods, the sovereign debt crisis in Europe and a high yen.
Inflation cools to 7.5 percent
Inflation cooled to 7.5 percent last month thanks to lower food prices. The result was roughly in line with expectations. A CNBC-TV18 poll predicted that headline inflation for last month would be 7.4 percent higher than last year. Headline inflation has been above 9 percent every month for nearly two years, prompting the central bank to hike interest rates 13 times in a row. Core inflation, which is thought to be responsive to monetary policy, also remained firm, suggesting that the central bank may hold back from lowering interest rates when it meets later this month, analysts said.
Westerwelle to calm markets
German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said on a visit to Athens that it was now time for Europe to create independent credit ratings agencies and calm down markets jittery from constant speculation. During a break from talks with his Greek counterpart, Westerwelle told reporters he thinks it is very important to give agreements and pacts made within the eurozone a realistic chance to work out, adding that this is the only realistic way to bring back trust to the markets. Westerwelle has also met with Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos and conservative leader Antonis Samaras. He said he was glad to see all agreed on the need to pursue reforms in Greece.
Samsung to issue bonds
Samsung Electronics Co, the world’s largest maker of computer memory chips, plans to issue its first overseas bonds since 1997 to expand production of processors used in mobile devices, including Apple Inc’s iPhone. The company has sent requests for proposals to banks to borrow as much as US$1 billion to expand production capacity at its factory in Austin, Texas, James Chung, a Seoul-based spokesman for Samsung, said by telephone yesterday, confirming a report in the Korea Economic Daily yesterday. The bonds will be issued by Samsung’s US unit and may have maturities of five years, Chung said.
BMW recalls Mini Coopers
German automaker BMW AG is recalling 88,911 Mini Cooper cars because of a defect that has caused fires, the US auto-safety regulator said. The circuit board on the electric auxiliary water pumps that cool the cars’ turbochargers can malfunction, overheat and cause fires, BMW said in a posting on the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Web site on Saturday. In October, the agency opened an investigation into Minis after reports of 12 engine fires, including five that destroyed the vehicles. In eight cases, the fires happened when the cars were parked and turned off. The recall includes various Minis from the model years 2007 to last year.