Inflation still a concern
The central bank is “very concerned” that inflation has remained stubbornly high despite slowing economic growth, Trade and Industry Minister Lim Hng Kiang (林勛強) said yesterday. Lim told parliament the inflation rate “has been more persistent” and the city-state was “stuck with inflation just below 5 percent for quite a long time.” The central bank is scheduled to release its biannual monetary policy statement on Friday. Analysts expect the bank will continue to allow the Singapore dollar to gradually rise in a bid to lessen the impact of higher global commodities prices such as oil. The government is forecasting inflation will slow to between 2.5 percent and 3.5 percent this year from 5.5 percent last year.
Mitsui Fudosan sees growth
Mitsui Fudosan Co, Japan’s largest property developer by sales, forecast profit to more than double in six years as the company looks to focus on its development business and expand overseas. Mitsui Fudosan forecast net income would reach at least ￥110 billion (US$1.35 billion) for the fiscal year ending March 2018, the company said in a statement yesterday, outlining its six-year business plan. That compares with the ￥48 billion net income the company forecast in February for the year ended March 31. The company will further expand businesses in overseas market such as Europe and Asia, it said in a statement. In the US and Europe, the company will focus on the office building rental business, while in Asia, it plans to benefit from rising demand for residential properties, as well as commercial buildings.
Q4 spending rose 6.2%
Advertisers increased spending 6.2 percent in the fourth quarter compared with a year earlier, according to Nielsen Holdings NV. Worldwide spending rose to US$131 billion, while US advertising fell 0.2 percent to US$31 billion, New York-based Nielsen said in its Global AdView Pulse report released yesterday. The global advertising industry continued to achieve gains after climbing out of recession in 2010. The fourth-quarter advances contributed to a full-year increase worldwide of 7.3 percent to US$498 billion, Nielsen said. The report found that “all traditional media types” attracted more ad spending last year, led by a 10 percent gain to US$324 billion for television. That medium also commanded the largest portion of the global ad market, 65 percent. Internet ad spending advanced 24 percent, Nielsen said.
Firms’ Libyan ties probed
US and Libyan authorities are probing oil giants, including Italy’s Eni SpA and Total SA of France, for their past ties to the fallen regime of former Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi, the Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday. The Libyan general prosecutor’s office is investigating “Libyan and foreign operators in Libya” for possible “financial irregularities,” the office’s deputy chief Abdelmajeed Saad told the Journal. In a March letter, which like Saad did not mention any specific allegations against the named companies, the prosecutor’s office asked the head of audit at Libya’s National Oil Co to supply oil-company documents, the newspaper reported. The US Securities and Exchange Commission has also sent formal requests to Eni and Total about their Libyan businesses, while US oil giant Marathon Oil Corp said in February that it was asked for documentation about its Libyan operations, the report said.