Inflation rises unexpectedly
Inflation unexpectedly accelerated last month, crimping the central bank’s scope to extend interest-rate cuts and bolster economic growth. The benchmark wholesale-price index rose 7.23 percent from a year earlier, fueled by a 19 percent jump in the prices of fruit and vegetables, after climbing 6.89 percent in March, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry said in a statement yesterday.
Canon eyes full automation
Canon Inc is moving toward fully automating digital camera production in an effort to cut costs. Company spokesman Jun Misumi said yesterday that the move would likely be completed over the next few years. He declined to give a date. Japanese manufacturers have recently moved production abroad to offset earnings damage from the soaring yen, but Canon believes full automation will help keep manufacturing in Japan. It denies the move might cause job cuts.
Record container ship started
Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering said yesterday it had started work on the world’s largest container vessel, with a deck big enough to accommodate four football pitches. The company said the 400m-long ship would carry up to 18,000 twenty-foot equivalent unit containers. It is scheduled to be delivered to Danish shipper A.P. Moeller-Maersk in the second half of next year. The vessel is the first of 20 such container ships that Daewoo will build by 2015 under a US$3.6 billion order from the Danish company.
Profits fall 84% at Rusal
Russian aluminum giant United Company Rusal yesterday said first-quarter net profit dived 84 percent from a year earlier because of higher costs and falling prices. Rusal said its net profit for the three months that ended on March 31 totaled US$74 million compared to US$451 million over the same period in the previous year. Revenue fell 3.7 percent to US$2.88 billion.
JAL records US$2.33bn profit
Japan Airlines (JAL), which went bankrupt two years ago in one of the country’s biggest-ever corporate failures, yesterday logged an annual net profit of US$2.33 billion, thanks to cost--cutting efforts. The carrier said its net profit for the year through March was ￥186.6 billion on sales of ￥1.2 trillion, as a strong yen saw more Japanese travel overseas, although demand was hit by last year’s earthquake and tsunami disaster. It had forecast a ￥160 billion net profit.