China tightens rare earths
China’s government has cut the number of permits issued for rare earths mining in a new move to tighten controls over the exotic minerals needed to manufacture mobile phones and other high-tech goods. State television yesterday said the Ministry of Land and Resources will cut the number of mining permits by 40 percent from 113 to 67. The report gave no indication how that was expected to affect the amount of rare earths produced.
FedEx gloomy about future
FedEx Corp says the global economy is stalling, and it is going to get worse next year. On Tuesday, the world’s second-largest package delivery company said a continued slowdown in the developed world combined with high fuel prices will keep trade volumes at low levels. FedEx sharply cut its earnings forecast for the fiscal year ending in May. It cut its forecast for the full year to between US$6.2 and US$6.6 per share, from US$6.9 to US$7.4 previously.
Brazil spurs innovation
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has approved new tax incentives to boost innovation in the information technology and telecommunications sectors, the official Agencia Brasil reported on Tuesday. The measures, published in the Official Gazette, are part of the government’s Brasil Maior (“Bigger Brazil”) plan unveiled in August last year to strengthen the productivity and competitiveness of Brazilian industries. The plan provides incentives, financing and tax relief for domestic sectors, including information and communication technology.
Australia still rated ‘AAA’
International credit agency Standard & Poor’s yesterday affirmed mining-driven Australia’s “AAA” rating with a stable outlook, but warned about its growing reliance on the Chinese economy. Australia is one of only a handful of nations to hold the top rating, with its economy growing a solid 0.6 percent in the three months to June and 3.7 percent from a year earlier. However, the figure was less than half the upwardly revised 1.4 percent in the first quarter of this year and below analyst predictions of 0.8 percent.
PlayStation 3 gets smaller
Sony Corp is introducing a smaller, slimmer and lighter version of its PlayStation 3 home console ahead of the year-end holidays as it gears up for growing competition in games from smartphones. The announcement yesterday from the Japanese company comes a day ahead of the annual Tokyo Game Show, where game makers show their wares. The new PlayStation 3, closer to the size of a laptop, is half the size of the original model, introduced in 2006. It also offers more hard-drive memory at 500 gigabytes and 250 gigabytes, up from the current 320 and 160 options. The global rollout starts on Sept. 25 in North America.
Goldman Sachs CFO retires
Goldman Sachs Group Inc’s chief financial officer is retiring, and his replacement is a longtime executive at the investment bank. David Viniar, 57, is stepping down after 32 years with Goldman, the last 12 as CFO. Harvey Schwartz, 48, will replace him at the end of January, the bank said on Tuesday. After Viniar leaves the post, he will join Goldman’s board as a non-independent director.