Spain’s recession is deepening, official data showed yesterday, also revealing that the initial downturn was steeper and began earlier than first thought. The National Statistic Office said economic output slumped by 0.4 percent in the second quarter on a quarterly basis after a 0.3 percent drop in the first quarter. On an annual basis, GDP tumbled by 1.3 percent, much faster than the 0.6 percent decline registered in the first three months of the year, the figures showed. The latest figures also revealed that the Spanish recession dates back to last year, not the start of this year. Spain’s output in the third quarter of last year — previously recorded as being just above zero — had in fact slipped barely into negative territory, the statistician said.
Consumers stay confident
A survey has found that consumer confidence in Germany remains stable despite ever-increasing worries that the country’s economy, Europe’s biggest, will suffer from the debt crisis weighing on many other European countries. The GfK research institute said yesterday that its forward-looking consumer confidence indicator for next month stands at 5.9 points — unchanged from this month’s reading. The group says that consumers’ economic expectations fell significantly for the third month in a row, but their income expectations and willingness to buy were only slightly lower. It says the overall indicator was propped up by a decline in consumers’ inclination to save.
Job seekers increase
The number of registered French job seekers saw the sharpest monthly rise in three years, rising to 2.99 million people last month, the 15th consecutive month the country’s unemployment line increased, the labour ministry said on Monday. From the previous month, the number of registered job seekers rose by 41,300 people, the ministry said, on pace to break the three million mark next month. Including the number of people working on reduced hours, 4.45 million people were hunting for jobs in mainland France last month, the ministry said, an increase of 58,300 people from June.
Samsonite sales soar
US luggage maker Samsonite yesterday posted record first-half sales, boosted by strong global travel demand as well as growth in Asia and North America. The firm said net profit for the six months to June 30 leapt 400 percent to US$82.3 million compared with the previous first half, when it booked almost US$60 million in one-off costs including the financing of its Hong Kong float. Net sales rose 13.8 percent to a record US$846.7 million, boosted by 21.3 percent growth in Asia to US$324.6 million and 27.7 percent growth in North America to US$238.5 million.
Carmaker’s profit drops
Chinese auto and battery maker BYD Co (比亞迪) says its first-half year profit plunged 94 percent as it faced China’s economic slowdown and tougher competition in the world’s biggest auto market.
BYD said on Monday that profit sank to 16 million yuan (US$2.5 million) or 0.01 yuan (0.02 US cents) per share on a slight dip in revenue to 21.4 billion yuan. In the same period last year, BYD reported profit of 275 million yuan or 0.12 yuan per share.