Central bank maintains rate
The country maintained the highest benchmark interest rate among major developed economies as domestic demand weathers a global slowdown that has been driving down the price of iron ore, the nation’s biggest commodity export. Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Glenn Stevens and his board left the overnight cash-rate target at 3.5 percent, according to a statement yesterday in Sydney. Earlier aggressive rate cuts — 50 basis points in May and 25 points in June — were still working their way through the economy and Stevens said the bank’s board had decided to adopt a wait-and-see approach.
Unemployment rises 0.83%
Spain’s jobless queue grew to 4.63 million people in August, the government said Tuesday, grim news for an economy suffering nearly 25-percent unemployment. Snapping a run of four monthly declines, the number of job seekers climbed by 38,179, or 0.83 percent, last month from July, the Labor Ministry said in a statement.
Q2 output falls 0.1%
Output fell 0.1 percent in the second quarter compared with the previous three months as the strong franc hurt exports, the economy ministry said yesterday. Exports were down 0.7 percent during the period ending June, with a drop recorded in the chemical, machinery, equipment and electronics sectors. Only watch, precision instrument and vehicle exports held up. Imports were 0.5 percent weaker, due mainly to a fall in vehicle imports. Compared with a year ago, second quarter GDP was up 0.5 percent.
Valeant buys Medicis
Canadian pharmaceutical company Valeant announced on Monday it had paid US$2.6 billion for US drugmaker Medicis, significantly boosting its skin care product offerings. The transaction should be concluded by June next year. Under the “definitive agreement,” Valeant will pay cash for all of the outstanding common stock of Medicis, traded on the NASDAQ stock exchange, at US$44 per share. Medicis products fight acne, precancer skin growths and skin-related viruses. The US company will continue operations under its own name, as a branch of Valeant.
Hyundai reaches labor deal
Hyundai Motor’s labor union has agreed a deal on wages and working conditions, ending the costliest dispute in the South Korean auto giant’s history, company officials said yesterday. The union has staged 28 partial strikes since stoppages began on July 13, cutting production by more than 82,000 vehicles valued at 1.7 trillion won (US$1.5 billion). The agreement, effective from March next year, means the introduction of a two-shift daytime work system, ending at 1am. There is also a 98,000 won increase in basic monthly salary, a performance-based bonus equivalent to five months wages and a one-off payment of 9.6 million won per person.
Oracle appealing settlement
US software giant Oracle Corp is appealing a US$306 million settlement in its marathon copyright infringement lawsuit against German rival SAP AG, court documents show. The current settlement amount, set on Aug. 3, is less than a quarter of the US$1.3 billion SAP had been originally ordered to pay the Silicon Valley giant in November 2010. However, US District Court Judge Phyllis Hamilton slashed the amount last year to US$272 million.