Portugal to help banks
Portugal will inject more than 6.65 billion euros (US$8.2 billion) into private banks BCP and BPI, and the state-owned CGD to meet criteria established by the European Banking Authority, the finance ministry said yesterday. “In all, the state will inject more than 6.65 billion euros in these banks,” with 5 billion euros coming from a 12 billion euro package included in a financial rescue plan drawn up in May last year, the ministry said. Portugal last year became the third eurozone country after Greece and Ireland to be bailed out, receiving an EU-IMF package worth up to 78 billion euros in return for a commitment to reform its economy and impose austerity measures.
Unemployment numbers dip
The number of jobseekers fell by a slight 0.63 percent to 4.71 million people, the second consecutive monthly drop after hitting a record high in March, the labor ministry said yesterday. Spain has the highest unemployment rate in the industrialized world, with 24.44 percent of the work force idle, according to the national statistics office Ine. On a 12-month comparison, the unemployment rate was still higher, with 524,463 more people looking for jobs, an increase of 12.52 percent. The government has forecast an unemployment rate of 24.3 percent this year, but expects it to edge slightly lower next year.
Sony’s share price falls
Sony’s stock price fell below ￥1,000 yesterday for the first time since 1980 as global markets slid, but also a symptom of its decline since huge success with the Walkman three decades ago. Sony’s shares dipped to ￥990 before recovering slightly in trading on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. The Nikkei 225 stock average was down 2 percent after US hiring slowed sharply last month. The company said it was first time that its stock price had traded below ￥1,000 since August 1980 — the year after it introduced the iconic Walkman portable cassette player to the world in 1979. The stock had peaked at ￥16,950 in March 2000.
Lufthansa to sell caterer
German airline Lufthansa is planning to sell its onboard catering unit LSG Sky Chefs as it focuses more and more on its core airline business, the Financial Times Deutschland reported yesterday. After already selling off loss-making units, such as BMI, Lufthansa has now turned its sights on profitable subsidiaries such as LSG Sky Chefs and its IT services unit, with plans to divest the catering unit particularly far advanced, the newspaper said without revealing its sources. Initially, the carrier will sell 49 percent of LSG Sky Chefs by next year at the latest, ideally to a strategic partner in the catering sector, it said. LSG Sky Chefs is the world’s biggest onboard caterer, employs nearly 30,000 people and generates annual sales of 2.3 billion euros.
Prices fall on demand fears
Oil fell further in Asian trade yesterday as worries about demand weighed on investors still spooked by weak economic data from the US and China, analysts said. Brent North Sea crude for July shed US$1.73 to US$96.70 a barrel, and New York’s main contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude for July, fell US$1.59 to US$81.64. Both contracts had closed lower on Friday in reaction to weak US jobs data. Brent oil prices had already slumped by 15 percent last month, while WTI collapsed by almost 18 percent.