Food prices drive up CPI
Inflation rose to 4.5 percent last month, driven by higher food prices, the government said yesterday. The consumer price index (CPI) was up 4.5 percent from a year earlier, an increase from the 3.97 percent recorded in March, the Central Statistics Agency said. Staples such as garlic, chili, sugar, onion and cooking oil were behind the inflationary push, said agency head Suryamin, who like many Indonesians goes by one name. Last month’s CPI rose 0.21 percent on-month compared with 0.07 percent rise in March, the agency said. Core inflation, which excludes volatile food and energy prices, hit 4.24 percent year-on-year last month.
Venture acquires LNG stake
Mitsubishi Corp, Japan’s biggest trading company, and Mitsui & Co agreed to buy a 14.7 percent stake in Woodside Petroleum Ltd’s proposed Browse liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in Australia for US$2 billion. The Mitsui and Mitsubishi venture, Japan Australia LNG Pty, also agreed to acquire about 1.5 million tonnes of LNG annually from Woodside, according to a statement yesterday. Mitsui and Mitsubishi also signed an initial agreement to consider potential partnership on other opportunities globally, Woodside said.
Lloyds makes thin profit
Britain’s state-rescued Lloyds Banking Group (LBG) said yesterday it made a slender net profit in the first quarter of the year, helped by falling bad debts and cost cutting. Earnings after tax stood at ￡10 million (US$16 million) in the three months to March, LBG said in a statement, but it also set aside another ￡375 million to compensate clients who were mis-sold insurance. The profit contrasted with a huge net loss of ￡2.43 billion in the same period of last year, when LBG, which is 40 percent owned by the government, took an even bigger compensation charge.
BP profit falls 18 percent
BP PLC says first-quarter net profit was down 18 percent largely due to a big drop in returns from its downstream business selling fuels, lubricants and fertilizer. For the three months ending March 31, BP said yesterday that its net profit was US$5.9 billion compared to US$7.3 billion a year earlier. Replacement cost profit, a closely watched industry measure, was down 12 percent at US$4.9 billion from US$5.6 billion a year earlier. The big difference came in the downstream category, where underlying replacement cost profit fell 58 percent to US$924 million compared with US$2.2 billion a year earlier. Within downstream, the underlying profit in the fuels business was down 63 percent at US$487 million.
Coca-Cola not buying partner
Coca-Cola, the world’s largest beverage company, on Monday denied media reports it was in talks to buy energy-drink giant Monster Beverage. “At this time, we are not in discussions to acquire the Monster Beverage Corporation,” Coke said in a statement. “Coca-Cola has a distribution relationship with Monster in many markets, including the United States. Therefore, we are always in contact with Monster to maximize the value of our commercial arrangements,” the company said. “We continue to review the best ways to maximize the value of our relationship.” Citing people familiar with the matter, the Wall Street Journal reported earlier on Monday that Coke was in talks to buy Monster, which has a US$13 billion market value.