ECB may cut growth outlook
The European Central Bank (ECB) is likely to lower its growth forecasts for the eurozone, governing council member and Austrian central bank Governor Ewald Nowotny was quoted as saying yesterday. “There won’t be any improvement [in the prognosis], more likely there will be a worsening,” Nowotny was quoted as saying by Dow Jones Newswires on the sidelines of an economic conference in Alpbach, Austria, late on Thursday. The ECB is due to issue its new quarterly forecast at its meeting on Thursday next week.
Lamy sees below 4% growth
WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy confirmed on Thursday that growth in global trade would remain below 4 percent this year and urged governments against protectionism. Annual growth in world trade has averaged 6 percent over the past 15 years, but this year “we will be below 4 percent,” Lamy told France’s BFM radio, blaming the slowdown on a sluggish world economy. In April, the WTO warned that global growth would weaken again this year and rise by 5.6 percent next year.
Lufthansa crews on strike
Lufthansa flight attendants are on strike at Germany’s busiest airport, causing the cancelation of dozens of flights. The cabin crews walked off the job early yesterday morning at Frankfurt airport in an eight-hour strike that is to last until early afternoon. The UFO union says it will continue staging short-term strikes until its demands for better pay and conditions for about 18,000 cabin crew are met. Lufthansa says it has canceled about a quarter of the 360 flights at the airport that were scheduled during the strike hours, all short and middle-distance routes.
Girls’ toy lifts Lego profits
Danish toy maker Lego says a new series it created specifically for girls has proved popular despite being criticized for fueling gender stereotypes and has propelled first-half net profits to 2 billion kroner (US$336 million), up 35 percent from the same period last year. The family-owned firm says sales rose 24 percent to 9.1 billion kroner. The company sold twice as many LEGO Friends sets as expected during the first half.
German media giant Bertelsmann yesterday issued cautious full-year forecasts despite posting strong profits in the first six months of the year. “The subdued economic prospects and the euro crisis, whose repercussions are challenging to gauge, make it difficult to predict future developments at this time,” Bertelsmann CEO Thomas Rabe said in a statement. In the first six months, Bertelsmann’s net profit jumped 52 percent to 279 million euros (US$349 million) on a 5 percent rise in revenues to 7.572 billion euros.
Russia is PRC’s top source
Russia is shipping more oil than Iran to China for the first time since at least 2004 after the world’s largest energy user financed a pipeline and field expansion in the former Soviet Union to secure fuel supplies. China, which will account for a third of this year’s global growth in oil demand, boosted imports from Russia by 37 percent in the first seven months of the year, according to the Beijing-based Customs General Administration. Exports from Iran dropped 22 percent in the same period as Tehran’s output slumped and international sanctions took effect.