Catalonia wants bailout
The debt-struck Catalonia region reached out Tuesday for a 5 billion euro (US$6.28 billion) central government rescue as the entire nation lurched closer to a sovereign bailout. The northeastern region’s government, facing huge repayments on its 40 billion euro debt, said it would tap an 18 billion euro liquidity fund set up by Madrid to finance troubled regions. “The government has decided to request participation in the liquidity fund,” Catalan government spokesman Francesc Homs said. However, the region would do so “without accepting political conditions.”
Business sentiment still low
Business sentiment edged higher this month, but remained at its lowest level since early 2010, data released yesterday by the national statistics institute showed. The official business climate indicator compiled by the INSEE institute for the eurozone’s second-biggest economy gained one point to 90 points, after the group revised the figure for July lower. However, the index remained below its long-term average. Businesses in the manufacturing sector reported that activity was weak and that their order books have deteriorated further. Foreign orders rose slightly.
New current account record
The current account surplus rose to a new record last month as falling world oil prices pushed down the value of imports, the central bank said yesterday. The surplus in the account, the broadest measure of trade, was US$6.10 billion last month. The previous monthly record, a revised US$5.88 billion, was set in June this year. The goods account showed a surplus of US$5.32 billion last month, up from June’s revised US$5.05 billion, after exports fell 4.1 percent year-on-year to US$46.58 billion last month and imports dropped 5.8 percent to US$41.27 billion. The service account saw a surplus of US$579.2 million last month, while the primary income account had a surplus of US$401.9 million last month.
House-prize controls ‘work’
A Cabinet official says economic growth is “stabilizing at a slow pace” and controls imposed to cool surging housing costs are working. The government’s Xinhua news agency cited the minister in charge of the country’s planning agency, the National Development and Reform Commission, as saying yesterday that the response to China’s economic slowdown has been effective. Economic growth fell to a three-year low of 7.6 percent in the second quarter. “The country’s economic growth is stabilizing at a slow pace,” Xinhua paraphrased the official, Zhang Ping (張平), as saying at a meeting with legislators. He said speculative activity blamed for pushing up housing costs has been “effectively suppressed.”
Floating oil terminal touted
The state-owned energy giant Petrobras said on Tuesday it would deploy the world’s first floating oil terminal capable of refueling tankers on the high seas. “The new technology will ensure lower costs, by reducing the distance covered by oil transport vessels,” the company said in a statement. Currently, crude oil must be ferried from offshore rigs to the coast where tankers come to fill up. However, the new “Transfer and Storage Offshore Unit will make it possible to store oil on the high seas and to transfer it to export vessels,” the statement said, adding that the first terminal will be operational in June 2014, 90km off Rio de Janeiro.