Unemployment still at 3.1%
The unemployment rate remained unchanged for a third straight month at 3.1 percent last month, official figures showed yesterday. The seasonally adjusted jobless rate has remained steady since July, compared with a month earlier, Statistics Korea said. Unadjusted, the reading was at 2.9 percent last month, compared with 3 percent in August. The number of employed South Koreans in September rose by 685,000 from a year ago — stronger than a 364,000 increase in August — to 25 million.
Production rises 3.2%
Industrial production rebounded in August as the largest Nordic economy showed resilience to slumping demand from Europe. Industrial production rose an annual 3.2 percent, after contracting a revised 0.9 percent the previous month, Stockholm-based Statistics Sweden said yesterday. Output rose a monthly 0.4 percent, compared with a 0.9 percent predicted contraction. Industrial orders from domestic companies fell an annual 6.5 percent and decreased a monthly 1.4 percent in August, Statistics Sweden said.
Maersk stops Iran operations
Maersk Line, the world’s biggest shipping company, part of group A.P. Moeller-Maersk, said on Tuesday that it had stopped operations into and out of Iran. “Due to a combination of EU sanctions as well as strengthened US sanctions, it is no longer possible for Maersk Line to conduct business in the country and has ceased operations into and out of Iran for the foreseeable future,” Maersk spokesman John Churchill said. The decision comes as Iran seems to be under increasing pressure from international sanctions.
Toshiba eyes overseas deals
Japan’s Toshiba said yesterday it would boost its stake in US atomic power-plant giant Westinghouse Electric as it eyes overseas deals after domestic demand fell away following last year’s Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant disaster. The firm said it would pay ￥125 billion (US$1.6 billion) for the 20 percent stake in Westinghouse owned by US-based Shaw Group, lifting its holding to 87 percent. It said the purchase would be financed through “immediately available cash and/or loans.”
Chevron Q3 earnings lower
Oil giant Chevron Corp said its third-quarter earnings will be “substantially lower” than in the second quarter. In its interim earnings update on Tuesday, Chevron said it was hurt by issues including unfavorable foreign currency rates and weaker results from its refining and marketing operations. US production fell by 19,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day in the first two months of the quarter, largely because of Hurricane Isaac’s impact. Isaac also disrupted refinery operations. Charges for the quarter are expected to be higher than expected as well. In the second quarter the San Ramon, California, company earned US$7.2 billion, or US$3.66 per share.
Peugeot, Fiat downgraded
PSA Peugeot Citroen and Fiat SpA both had their debt ratings lowered to three levels below investment grade by Moody’s Investors Service as slumping European car markets take a toll on the automakers’ finances. Fiat and Peugeot both were cut one level to “Ba3” from “Ba2,” Moody’s said yesterday in separate statements. The ratings service has a negative outlook on the companies.