Head of bank arrested
The head of a South Korean bank has been arrested in Seoul on suspicion of embezzling company funds as part of a probe into irregularities by suspended savings banks, prosecutors said yesterday. Solomon Savings Bank chief executive Lim Suk was arrested late on Tuesday on claims he embezzled 17 billion won (US$14.5 million) and issued 150 billion won in illegal loans, prosecutors said. Lim’s arrest came after Kim Chan-kyong, boss of Solomon, Mirae, Hanju and Korea Savings Bank, was arrested last week on embezzlement charges.
Japan’s core orders fall
Japan’s core machinery orders fell 2.8 percent in March from the previous month, official figures showed yesterday, matching market expectations. The core private-sector data, which exclude volatile demand from power companies and for ships, turned down after two months of increases, according to the Cabinet Office. The core orders are seen as a leading indicator of corporate capital spending. In the January-March quarter, orders rose by 0.9 percent from the previous quarter. The orders are forecast to increase 2.5 percent in the April-June term, the office said.
Unemployment rate drops
South Korea’s unemployment rate declined last month mainly because of more positions in the service sector, official figures showed yesterday. The jobless rate was 3.5 percent last month, down from 3.7 percent in April last year, Statistics Korea said. The figure was also down from 3.7 percent in March this year. Seasonally adjusted, the unemployment rate stood at 3.4 percent in April, unchanged from the previous month.
US, EU push trade deals
The US and EU are laying the groundwork for trade talks that could quickly produce an agreement to help boost jobs on both sides, US Trade Representative Ron Kirk said on Tuesday. Last year, the US and the EU created a high-level working group led by Kirk and EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht to examine options for expanding trade and economic ties. Kirk and De Gucht are expected to deliver their preliminary recommendations next month and a final report by year end.
Whitworth buys into Pepsi
Activist investor Ralph Whitworth said on Tuesday that his firm has taken a US$600 million stake in PepsiCo Inc, a move that could ramp up pressure on the company to make changes. Whitworth, the co-founder of San Diego-based Relational Investors, said that his firm has accumulated a 0.6 percent stake in the food and beverage giant since last fall. The holding is expected to be disclosed this week in a regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. In a statement, PepsiCo said that it has had constructive meetings with Relational.
EADS returns to profit
European Aeronautic, Defence & Space Co (EADS) returned to profit in the first quarter and raised its guidance for some earnings this year, while cautioning that its latest aircraft program remains “very challenging.” First-quarter net income reached 133 million euros (US$169 million), compared with a year-earlier loss of 12 million euros, EADS said yesterday.