Economy improving: Fed
The US economy is expanding moderately, but businesses remain worried over US political uncertainty and the European crisis, the Federal Reserve said in its regional economies survey on Wednesday. Most of the Fed’s 12 regions reported improving conditions over the April to May period, according to the regular “Beige Book” regional review. “Overall economic activity expanded at a moderate pace,” better than the Fed’s previous formulation in early April of “a modest to moderate pace,” it said.
First-quarter GDP up 0.9%
South Korea’s economy grew at the fastest pace in a year in the first quarter, remaining resilient despite Europe’s debt crisis, final data confirmed yesterday. GDP rose a seasonally adjusted 0.9 percent in the first quarter compared with October-December last year, the central bank said. It was the highest figure since the first quarter of last year, when the economy grew 1.3 percent sequentially. On an annual basis, the economy rose 2.8 percent in the first quarter, the weakest growth in two-and-a-half years. Both figures were the same as the central bank’s preliminary estimates in April. Many analysts expect growth to slow again in the second quarter, although a contraction is seen as unlikely.
Macau may take back land
A Hong Kong property company whose billionaire chairman is facing corruption charges said Macau’s government might take back a land grant related to the case. Such a move would threaten HK$3.8 billion (US$500 million) worth of apartment sales on the site. Chinese Estates Holdings Ltd (華人置業集團) said on late Wednesday it had the right to appeal if the land concession was canceled. The company has taken HK$384 million in deposits for 304 units in the luxury apartment complex. Last month, Macau prosecutors charged chairman Joseph Lau (劉鑾雄) with bribery and money laundering. He allegedly offered a bribe to the Asian gambling hub’s former public works chief to clear the land deal.
Goodyear takes over NGT
Goodyear Tire & Rubber on Wednesday said it had acquired 100 percent of its Nippon Giant Tire (NGT) subsidiary, which produces giant tires for earthmovers used in mining and roadworks, for an undisclosed amount. Goodyear, the majority shareholder of NGT since 1985, said it had bought the shares owned by its joint-venture partners, Toyo Tire & Rubber Co and Mitsubishi Corp. The US company will also invest US$250 million to upgrade and expand Tatsuno-based NGT’s tire manufacturing facility. The expansion will support growth in the company’s Asia-Pacific off-the-road (OTR) tire business, primarily in Australia, which is one of the world’s largest markets for OTR tires, Goodyear said.
Oracle touts cloud services
Oracle Corp will distribute more than 100 business software applications over the Internet as the company tries to adapt to a computing shift threatening to turn it into a relic. The expansion announced on Wednesday by Oracle CEO Larry Ellison comes after seven years of development that cost the business software maker billions of dollars. Besides investing in improving its own technology, Oracle has spent more than US$3.5 billion buying smaller rivals that specialized in “cloud computing.” Ellison boasted that Oracle is now prepared to offer “the most comprehensive cloud on planet Earth.”