RBA raises growth forecast
The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) yesterday raised its full-year growth forecast after a strong first half, but it warned that resources investment — a key driver of the economy — would peak by 2014. The central bank said it now expected growth of 3.5 percent for this year, instead of the 3 percent forecast in May, with the domestic economy powering on at above-average pace in the first six months of the year. However, the bank said the boom in mining and energy-related spending was expected to peak “sometime in 2013-14” and begin modestly subtracting from growth over 2014.
Deficit shrank in June
The US trade deficit narrowed in June for the third straight month, with a slight rise in exports adding to a drop in imports to cut the shortfall, the Department of Commerce said on Thursday. The country’s trade gap for the month was US$42.9 billion, the smallest deficit since December 2010, when total trade was 10 percent less. Exports continued their steady climb, rising to US$185 billion. The three-month moving average for exports, at US$183.7 billion, was 5.1 percent above the average of a year earlier of US$174.7 billion. Imports were US$227.9 billion; the three-month average of US$230.9 billion was up 4.1 percent from a year earlier.
Early retirement offered
The South Korean unit of French auto giant Renault yesterday said it would offer some employees voluntary retirement as sluggish sales continued to squeeze its margins. In the first seven months of the year, Renault Samsung Motor’s sales fell 34 percent from a year earlier to 93,919 vehicles. Analysts cited a lack of new models and stiff competition from South Korea’s dominant Hyundai-Kia group. Employees who take voluntary retirement will get two years’ salary, two years of education fees for children and other allowances, the company said, without saying how many jobs it wanted to shed.
SG to sell TCW to Carlyle
The French bank Societe Generale (SG) has reached an agreement to sell US asset manager group TCW to the Carlyle Group and TCW employees, a statement said on Thursday. Financial details were not provided, and the deal is expected to be finalized early next year. The deal includes the 80 percent stake Societe Generale owns directly in the Los Angeles-based company that has about US$127 billion in assets under management, as well the remaining 20 percent it owns via a joint venture with Credit Agricole bank. After the deal, TCW employees and management will hold approximately 40 percent of TCW, according to Carlyle.
ThyssenKrupp profits rise
German industrial giant ThyssenKrupp yesterday said windfall gains from divestments lifted earnings in the fiscal third quarter, even as orders and revenues were hit by weakening demand due to the crisis. ThyssenKrupp, which operates its business year from October to September, said in a statement it booked a net profit of 238 million euros (US$292 million) in the three months to June. That represented an increase of 16 percent over the year-earlier period. However, sales slipped 7 percent to 10.71 billion euros and orders slumped 21 percent to 10.231 billion euros.