Confidence level plummets
Economic confidence among the 17 countries that use the euro has fallen to its lowest level in over three years, according to a survey by the EU’s executive arm. The European Commission yesterday said its economic sentiment indicator, a broad gauge of confidence, dropped by 1.1 points this month to 85 — the lowest level since August 2009, when the eurozone was suffering a deep recession following the banking crisis. The indicator has been slipping for seven months, a clear sign that economic confidence has been dented by the ongoing debt crisis across the region.
Economic growth expected
A top government official says the economy is expected to grow between 4.5 and 5.5 percent next year, bolstered by domestic demand. The official says growth this year is likely to be near 5 percent and the momentum will be carried forward into next year despite external uncertainties. The official says next year’s budget, to be unveiled in parliament today, will be “mildly expansionary but fiscally responsible.”
Economy shrinks again
The economy shrank by 0.4 percent in the second quarter compared with output in the first three months of the year, official data showed yesterday, leaving the country in recession. “UK gross domestic product in volume terms decreased by 0.4 percent between the first and second quarter of 2012, revised from a previously estimated decline of 0.5 percent,” the Office for National Statistics said in a statement.
Greece launches tender
The Greek privatization fund yesterday said it had launched an international tender for the sale of the state’s 33 percent stake in the gaming monopoly Hellenic Football Prognostics Organization (OPAP). The tender is to run until Oct. 19. OPAP is Greece’s most profitable state company, clearing a net profit of 126.1 million euros [US$162.5 million] in the first six months of this year. Earlier this month, the government said it would impose a 30 percent levy on the company’s mixed gaming profits until 2020, and a 5 percent take to 2030.
LG Display sues Samsung
South Korea’s LG Display Co yesterday said it had filed a patent infringement suit against Samsung Electronics Co over the use of advanced displays. LG Display, a sister firm of LG Electronics Inc, accused Samsung Electronics and Samsung Display Co of infringing seven of its patents on organic light-emitting diode (OLED) technology. The company claimed that five of Samsung’s products, including its global hit Galaxy S-series smartphones and tablet computer Galaxy Tab 7.7, infringed its patents.
H&M’s Q3 profits up 1%
Swedish fashion retailer Hennes and Mauritz (H&M) says third-quarter profits edge up a tiny 1 percent, noting that although summer sales of its clothing lines started out well, the European financial crisis and poor weather conditions last month restrained consumption more than expected. It also said it plans to launch a new fashion brand next year. The report showed a net profit of 3.6 billion kronor (US$549 million) in the three-month period, up slightly from 3.59 billion kronor in the year-ago period. Revenues came to 33.57 billion kronor, up from 31.51 billion kronor, but the gross margin shrank to 58.2 percent from 58.6 percent.