Economic expansion slows
The economy expanded by a much slower-than-expected 5.3 percent in the January-to-March quarter, official data showed yesterday, adding further pressure on the embattled government. For the full fiscal year to March, the economy expanded 6.5 percent — lower than the government’s estimate of 6.9 percent and far below the 8.4 percent of the previous year. The final quarter saw a contraction in the key manufacturing sector, where output shrank 0.3 percent, while farm, construction and mining production grew only modestly.
Factory output raises concern
The country yesterday posted anaemic factory output growth of 0.2 percent in April, slower than expected and raising concerns about a recovery for the world’s third-largest economy. The Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry put a positive gloss on its latest figures, saying output “continues to show an upward movement.” The ministry also pointed to a manufacturers’ survey yesterday showing that, while factory managers expected a 3.2 percent month-on-month dip in output this month, it would be followed by a 2.4 percent rise in production next month.
Regulators approve iPad 3
Regulators have approved Apple’s iPad 3, possibly moving the company closer to launching the latest version of its tablet in the fast-growing Chinese market. The Chinese government’s telecommunications equipment certification agency identified the product as A1430 in an announcement dated on Monday. That is the model number of the third-generation version of the iPad sold in the US.
HP promotes Bill Veghte
Hewlett-Packard Co has promoted Bill Veghte to chief operating officer, the latest expansion of his responsibilities since the slumping technology company hired Meg Whitman as its CEO eight months ago. The appointment announced on Wednesday makes it clear that Whitman intends to lean heavily on Veghte as she tries to boost HP’s earnings and sagging stock price. Management missteps have hobbled the Silicon Valley pioneer as its rivals raced ahead with more innovative products and services.
Japan’s production jumps
Japan’s auto sector yesterday reported huge increases in production last month from a year earlier, reflecting a steep recovery after last year’s quake-tsunami disaster crippled output and demand. Production of cars, trucks and buses reached 799,474 vehicles, up 173.8 percent from April last year and the seventh consecutive monthly increase, according to the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association. Meanwhile, domestic vehicle sales climbed 93.7 percent to 359,631 vehicles, while exports surged 219.2 percent to 402,389 vehicles.
Kingfisher posts loss
India’s Kingfisher Airlines posted its worst-ever quarterly loss yesterday, as huge cuts in the number of flights compounded the woes of a cash-strapped carrier facing high fuel prices and intense competition for low fares. Kingfisher, which was India’s No. 2 airline until a year ago, is now the smallest carrier in India by market share. The airline lost 11.5 billion rupees (US$204.2 million) in the quarter to end-March, compared with a loss of 3.6 billion rupees a year earlier.