Inflation hits 12-year low
Inflation was the lowest for more than 12 years last month, Statistics Korea said yesterday, raising prospects of an imminent interest rate cut. The consumer price index rose 1.2 percent year-on-year last month, the slowest pace since the 1.1 percent of May 2000, it said. The figure compared with a 1.5 percent increase in July. Core inflation, which excludes volatile energy and food prices, stood at 1.3 percent year-on-year last month, up from the 1.2 percent posted the month before. In its last meeting on Aug. 9, Bank of Korea kept the benchmark seven-day repo rate unchanged at 3 percent.
CPI edges up to 4.58%
The Central Statistics Agency said yesterday that inflation edged slightly higher last month as food prices rose during Eid al-Fitr Muslim holiday celebrations. The consumer price index (CPI) came in at 4.58 percent last month, up from 4.56 percent in July, it said. On a monthly basis, inflation also edged up to 0.95 percent, from 0.7 percent in July. Core inflation was 4.16 percent last month, easing from 4.28 percent the previous month. Bank Indonesia has left its benchmark rate unchanged at a record low of 5.75 percent since February.
Macau revenues up 5.5%
Gambling revenue growth in Macau, the world’s most lucrative casino market, rebounded slightly to 5.5 percent last month after slowing to its lowest rate since 2009. Macau gambling authorities posted data yesterday that showed casino revenue rose to 26.1 billion patacas (US$3.3 billion) last month. In July, revenues rose just 1.5 percent. Macau’s casino revenues have surged at double-digit rates in recent years thanks to high-rolling Chinese gamblers. Revenue surged 42 percent last year to US$33.5 billion, more than five times the amount earned on the Las Vegas Strip. Last month’s revenues were the second-highest ever for Macau casinos, topped only by the 26.8 billion patacas in October last year.
New system will take time
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said it was unlikely that a new Europe-wide banking supervisory system would be up and running in the new year — dampening hopes that stressed banks could soon tap eurozone rescue funds directly. The European Commission will make proposals for the system next Wednesday. Internal Market and Services Commissioner Michel Barnier said last week he hoped it could be phased in starting in January. EU leaders have agreed that funds set up to bail out indebted governments could be allowed to funnel money directly to ailing banks — rather than via governments, increasing their debt burden — once an effective central bank supervision system is established.
Darrell Lea to close shops
Australian chocolate retailer Darrell Lea yesterday said it would close all its shops and only sell products through licensed outlets, with the loss of more than 400 jobs. The confectionery firm, a popular local brand established in 1927, will stay in Australian hands after being sold by administrators to the Quinn family, which has a long history of food manufacturing and distribution. As part of the sale agreement, the firm’s remaining 27 branded stores would close, effective Sunday. About 246 permanent and 172 casual staff will be axed. Another 32 shops were closed earlier this year.