Going back into recession
The nation is headed back into recession for the second time in just over three years, the country’s central bank said yesterday. The Bank of France predicted a 0.1 percent contraction in GDP for the third quarter of this year, an outcome which, if confirmed, would follow a similar fall in output for the three months to June. The Socialist government has cut its growth forecast for the full year from 0.4 to 0.3 percent, and for next year from 1.7 to 1.2 percent.
Current account down 45%
The current account surplus fell 45 percent in the first six months of the year from a year earlier because of higher energy imports, official data showed yesterday. The surplus, the broadest measure of external trade, stood at ￥3.04 trillion (US$38.6 billion) in January-June, down from ￥5.52 trillion previously, as Japan was also hit by the strong yen and fallout from the European debt crisis. The figure for June alone was ￥433.3 billion.
Exports dipped in June
Exports totaled 92.3 billion euros (US$114.5 billion) in seasonally adjusted terms in June, 1.5 percent less than in May, the national statistics office Destatis said yesterday. Imports were down 2.9 percent at 76.1 billion euros, so that the seasonally adjusted trade surplus increased to 16.2 billion euros from 15.3 billion euros in May. In the first six months, exports rose 4.8 percent over the year-earlier period to 550.4 billion euros in unadjusted terms, while imports were up 2.4 percent at 457.1 billion euros. That meant the January-June trade surplus increased by 18.4 percent to 93.3 billion euros.
Shipments of i-MiEVs halted
Japanese automaker Mitsubishi Motors yesterday said it has “temporarily” halted shipments of its i-MiEV electric car to PSA Peugeot Citroen. The firm said it would stop deliveries of the vehicles, branded iOn Peugeot and Citroen C-Zero in Europe, that began after the two firms signed a supply deal two years ago. “This is a temporary stoppage for adjusting stocks [of inventory],” a Mitsubishi spokesman in Tokyo said, declining to elaborate. “We are the supplier, and we fill the orders of the client.”
Rio Tinto profit drops
Anglo-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto yesterday said net profit for the first half of the year dropped 22 percent to US$5.9 billion year-on-year, blaming falling commodity prices. Underlying earnings slipped 34 percent to US$5.2 billion from a year earlier. The underlying results beat analyst expectations and the company was upbeat on the strength of long-term demand and Chinese growth, while it has not cut back on US$16 billion in planned capital expenditure.
ING Groep Q2 earnings fall
Buffeted by Europe’s debt crisis, ING Groep NV reported a 23 percent fall in second quarter earnings yesterday as its banking operations were hurt by higher bad loan provisions and its insurance arm took write-down on the value of some operations. Net profit for the Dutch-based company, one of Europe’s largest financial institutions, was 1.17 billion euros, down from 1.51 billion euros in the same period a year ago. Its banking profits fell 13 percent to 860 million euros from a year earlier, while insurance earnings were cut in half to 288 million euros.