Sony’s SmartWatch on sale
Sony on Thursday released an Internet-linked wristwatch powered by Google-backed Android software. SmartWatch gets online by connecting wirelessly to a wearer’s Android smartphone using Bluetooth technology, according to Sony. SmartWatch can switch from displaying time to acting as a touchscreen interface for smartphone information. Mini-applications tailored to add features to SmartWatch devices were available at the Google Play online shop.
Interest rates hold steady
The central bank yesterday held its key interest rate for a 10th straight month amid lingering concerns about inflation and slow economic recovery. Bank of Korea Governor Kim Choong-soo said its Monetary Policy Committee unanimously decided to hold the benchmark seven-day repo rate at 3.25 percent for this month. Consumer inflation fell to a 20-month low of 2.6 percent last month. However, inflation expectation — a key gauge for rate policy decisions — has hovered around the upper limit of the bank’s 2 to 4 percent target range over the past year.
Spanish inflation slows
Inflation in Spain slowed again last month, reaching its lowest point since August 2010, according to final official data published yesterday. The consumer price index rose by 1.8 percent on a 12-month basis last month, the national statistics office Ine said in a statement. Inflation has been slowing nearly every month since April last year’s level of 3.5 percent, with the exception of September and October when it rose to 3 percent.
Germany inflation slows
Inflation in Germany slowed last month as energy prices increased at a weaker pace than a year ago. Inflation eased to 2.3 percent from 2.5 percent in February, the Federal Statistics Office said yesterday, confirming a March 28 estimate. Prices rose 0.4 percent in the month. Energy prices rose 6.7 percent last month from a year earlier, the statistics office said. If energy prices were stripped out of the index, Germany’s non-harmonized inflation rate would have been 1.6 percent last month instead of 2.1 percent, it said.
India challenges US duties
India has launched a trade dispute to challenge US duties on certain steel products, the WTO said on Thursday. The WTO gave no details, but said India had “requested consultations” with the US — the first stage of a formal trade dispute — over US countervailing duties. The US Commerce Department last month set a preliminary import duty of nearly 286 percent on a circular welded carbon-quality steel pipe from India to offset government subsidies. A final decision on duty rates is expected by August.
Infosys profit rises 27%
Indian software exporter Infosys yesterday said its quarterly profit rose 27 percent, but its shares tumbled on a lower than expected growth forecast. The NASDAQ-listed firm said clients were cautious in an uncertain global economic environment as it announced a consolidated net profit of 23.16 billion rupees (US$454 million) in the three months to last month. Profit was 18.2 billion rupees in the year earlier period. Infosys forecast its full-year dollar-based revenue for the new fiscal year which started April 1, at US$7.55 billion to US$7.69 billion, an 8 to 10 percent rise.