Business activity stays flat
French business activity was flat in the second quarter of this year compared with the first three months of the year, final data released by the national statistics office confirmed yesterday. It marked the third consecutive quarter of stagnation for France, the second biggest eurozone economy. If activity remains flat for the rest of the year, France would post annualized growth of 0.2 percent, the INSEE statistics office said, just below the government’s target of a 0.3 percent rise in GDP.
Inflation spikes up to 3.5%
Spanish inflation spiked to 3.5 percent on an annualized basis this month, its highest level since April 2011, provisional data from the national statistics institute Ine showed yesterday. Ine did not give a breakdown of the result, noting only that it was “the consequence of generalized price increases in a majority of categories,” following an increase on Sept. 1 in Spain’s value-added tax (VAT). Prior to the same level of 3.5 percent in April last year, the last time Spain has witnessed such strong inflation was in October 2008.
Industrial output declines
South Korea’s industrial output contracted for the third month in a row last month as demand remained sluggish because of the eurozone crisis, government data showed yesterday. Production in the mining, manufacturing, gas and electricity industries fell 0.7 percent from a month earlier, following a revised 1.9 percent drop in July. It was the third straight month that output has fallen, starting with a 0.6 percent contraction in June. From a year earlier, last month’s industrial production inched up 0.3 percent.
Credt rating downgraded
Moody’s yesterday downgraded Vietnam’s credit rating, citing weaknesses in the country’s banking system that are likely to hit growth. The agency cut Hanoi to “B2” from “B1” and gave it a “stable” outlook. It warned there was a “higher likelihood that contingent risks to the government’s balance sheet will be realised due to more pronounced weaknesses in the banking system.” Moody’s also slashed Vietnam’s long-term foreign currency deposit ceiling to “B3” from “B2.”
Starbucks to open store
Starbucks is to open its first outlet in India by the end of October in an upscale neighborhood of Mumbai and has appointed a chief executive to head its India joint venture, the company said yesterday. The store will be in Mumbai’s Horniman Circle neighborhood, which boasts an Hermes store and a stately neighborhood park. It will feature coffee sourced locally, through an arrangement with Tata Coffee Ltd. Starbucks is operating in India through a 50-50 joint venture with Tata Global Beverages, called Tata Starbucks Ltd.
Nike reports income drop
Nike said on Thursday its fiscal first-quarter net income fell 12 percent as higher sales of its clothing and footwear brands was offset by higher costs and increased ad spending. The world’s largest athletic shoe and clothing company says net income for the three months ended Aug. 31 fell to US$567 million, or US$1.23 per share. That compares with net income of US$645 million, or US$1.36 per share, last year. Revenue rose 10 percent to US$6.67 billion from US$6.08 billion last year.