Laziness to blame: Hague
There is only one way Britons can drag their country out of recession: “work harder,” Foreign Secretary William Hague said in an interview published yesterday. Hague said the national work ethic had been declining for decades, with people convinced they could “live on expanded debt forever, rather than having to earn what we spend.” The country sank back in recession last month after the economy shrank again in the first quarter, but the government has stuck by its deep spending cuts despite concerns they undermine growth. Hague told the Sunday Telegraph newspaper that grumbling business leaders “should be getting on with the task of creating more of those jobs and more of those exports, rather than complaining about it.” He urged people to “get on the plane, go and sell things overseas, go and study overseas.”
Growth, surplus forecast
The economy would expand 3.9 percent this year and growth will quicken to 4.4 percent next year, National Commercial Bank said. The government would have a fiscal surplus of 317.4 billion riyals (US$84.6 billion), or 14 percent of GDP, with an average crude oil price of US$105 a barrel for Arab Light this year, the Jeddah-based bank said on Saturday. The country would produce an average of 9.4 million barrels a day of oil this year, it said. “Growth in non-oil sectors, particularly construction, manufacturing and wholesale and retail trade, will also remain robust this year, mainly due to strong private and public investment and consumption spending,” the bank said.
Barclays eyes MENA sales
Barclays PLC, Britain’s second-biggest bank, is seeking to boost revenue from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) by as much as 25 percent annually over the next five years and will hire about 100 people in the region this year. Revenue “aspirations are in the range” of a 20 to 25 percent compound annual increase, helped by the wealth, investment management and trade finance businesses, John Vitalo, chief executive officer for the Middle East and North Africa, said in an interview in Dubai earlier this month. The bank will add about 100 people to its existing staff of a 1,000 in the region, he said.
California deficit grows
California Governor Jerry Brown said his state’s budget deficit grew to US$16 billion amid a tepid economic recovery that sapped tax collections even as actions by the federal government and courts blocked cost-cutting measures. The shortfall has widened from the US$9.2 billion Brown estimated in January, after last month’s income-tax revenue missed budget forecasts by US$2 billion. He is set to unveil a revised spending plan today and said he would need to make cuts even deeper than he has already proposed.
Man pleads guilty to theft
A scientist accused of stealing secret formulas from a Utah chemistry company has pleaded guilty to a US federal computer charge. Prabhu Mohapatra entered the plea on Friday in US District Court to one count of unlawful access to a protected computer, in exchange for prosecutors dropping 25 other charges against him, the Deseret News reported. Mohapatra, 42, had worked for North Logan-based Frontier Scientific Inc from 2009 to last year. He admitted to accessing a company chemical resource notebook and e-mailing the formula for meso-Tetraphenylporphine to his brother-in-law in India.