US tariff decision delayed
The US Department of Commerce said it has again delayed its decision on additional tariffs for Chinese solar-equipment imports. A preliminary determination will be made on March 2, Tim Truman, a department spokesman, said on Friday. The decision had been scheduled for Feb. 13. The delay gives the department “sufficient time to conduct a comprehensive investigation and to complete a thorough and fair analysis of the subsidies at issue,” Gordon Brinser, the president of SolarWorld AG’s US unit, said in a statement issued by the Coalition for American Solar Manufacturing. The US International Trade Commission is investigating possible economic harm to SolarWorld from Chinese imports, while the department determines the penalty for companies that illegally dump products.
IMF declares recession
The IMF said on Friday that Belgium was already in recession and that it needed both its own government and Europe’s institutions to take action to help. “With fiscal tightening across Europe, the economic outlook is challenging,” the IMF said in a new report on the country’s economy. “A recession in Belgium is already underway and real GDP is expected to stagnate in 2012, followed by a slow recovery in 2013.” It said Belgium’s economy was “highly vulnerable” to further eurozone turmoil, in part because of its high public debt and the international exposure of its financial sector. “Downside risks to the outlook are significant,” the IMF said, though it credited high household savings as a buffer against market shocks starting elsewhere. While the government is “off to a good start” in trying to close its fiscal gap, the IMF said, “continued persistence in its full implementation is crucial.”
Spanair halts operations
Spanair, the Spanish airline that halted operations on Friday night, filed for bankruptcy, according to its former owner, SAS AB. “A lack of financial visibility for the coming months” forced the Spanish carrier to cease operating, with its final flight landing at about 10pm, Spanair said in an e-mailed statement late on Friday. Qatar Airways Ltd pulled out of talks about a possible bid, prompting Spanair’s board to meet on Friday to consider the company’s future, a spokesman for the Spanish airline said. SAS, which sold 80 percent of Spanair in March 2009 to a group of investors and now holds about 11 percent, said in a statement it would write down the value of its remaining stake by 1.7 billion kronor (US$252 million) after Spanair filed for bankruptcy. The Spanish carrier’s statement didn’t mention a bankruptcy filing, saying “the appropriate next steps will be taken as soon as possible.”
Slow growth hits Honeywell
Honeywell International Inc, the maker of turbochargers, digital flight controls and hardhats, predicted first-quarter profit that trailed analysts’ estimates as the global economy weakens. Earnings will rise as much as 11 percent to US$0.93 to US$0.98 a share, the Morris Township, New Jersey-based company said on Friday. Analysts anticipated US$1, the average of predictions compiled by Bloomberg. Last quarter, profit beat estimates by US$0.01 a share amid higher commercial-aerospace equipment sales. Demand for Honeywell’s products is being hurt by a slowing economy, especially in Europe, where the sovereign-debt crisis is weighing on the sales of industrial companies such as General Electric Co and United Technologies Corp.