Orders beat expectations
Japan’s core machinery orders, a leading indicator of corporate capital spending, rose by a bigger-than-expected 5.7 percent in April from the previous month, data showed yesterday in a positive sign for the nation’s hard-hit economy. The core private-sector data, which exclude volatile demand from power companies and for ships, turned up after a 2.8 percent drop in March, according to official data from the Cabinet Office. The market had expected a rise of 1.5 percent in April.
The unemployment rate declined last month mainly because of more new jobs in the service sector, official figures showed yesterday. Statistics Korea said the figure was 3.1 percent last month compared with 3.5 percent in April. Seasonally adjusted, last month’s figure was 3.2 percent compared with 3.4 percent the previous month. The number of employed people rose by 472,000 last month from a year earlier, slightly better than April’s 455,000 increase, to 25.133 million.
GDP expected to hit 3%
Singapore’s central bank says a survey of analysts shows the economy will likely grow 3 percent this year, more than the previous estimate. The survey of 21 analysts released yesterday by the central bank showed that growth would likely be led by construction expanding 6.2 percent and manufacturing up 3 percent. Analysts had expected the economy would grow 2.5 percent this year in a March survey. The government expects GDP to expand between 1 percent and 3 percent this year, down from 4.9 percent last year. The survey predicts the inflation rate will probably fall to 4.2 percent this year from 5.5 percent last year.
Inflation drops below 2%
Inflation in Europe’s biggest economy slowed to 1.9 percent last month, the first time since December 2010 that it has been below the key level of 2 percent, final data showed yesterday. Inflation stood at 2.1 percent in April and slowing fuel prices were the main reason for the slowdown last month, the national statistics office Destatis said in a statement. On a monthly basis, the cost of living in Germany declined 0.2 percent last month from April.
AirAsia moves to Indonesia
Budget carrier AirAsia is moving its strategic planning center to Indonesia from its Malaysian headquarters, it said yesterday, as it looks to expand its regional operations. Asia’s largest budget airline has only 18 planes in Indonesia — which has a population of 240 million — compared to 24 in Thailand and 58 in Malaysia, the firm said in a statement. The Jakarta base will also help it lobby the 10-member ASEAN, whose secretariat is in the Indonesian capital, it said.
Honda recalls 50,000 cars
Honda plans to recall about 50,000 Civic sedans in the US to fix a problem with the driveshaft, the Japanese automaker said on Tuesday. Honda said the drive shaft in certain models from last year were not properly assembled and could come loose. The automaker will cover the cost of all repairs. No crashes or injuries have been reported related to the defect, Honda added.