Australian inflation dips
Australian inflation came in lower than expected yesterday, climbing a seasonally adjusted 0.5 percent last quarter and raising speculation about an interest rate cut. The Bureau of Statistics said the consumer price index (CPI) increased 0.5 percent after seasonal adjustments in the three months to Dec. 31 and was 2.2 percent higher year-on-year. Underlying inflation, which strips out volatile items and is used by the Reserve Bank of Australia in determining monetary policy, was 0.5 percent in the December quarter, down from 0.7 percent in the previous quarter.
Singapore’s CPI rises 4.3%
Singapore’s inflation rose to the highest in three months last month, reducing the central bank’s scope to ease monetary policy to boost growth. The CPI rose 4.3 percent from a year earlier, after climbing 3.6 percent in November, the Department of Statistics said yesterday. Price gains averaged 4.6 percent last year, the government said. The central bank forecasts price gains will range between 3.5 percent and 4.5 percent this year.
Thales joins Boeing probe
French electrical system giant Thales has joined a Japan-US probe into a battery fire that forced a Boeing 787 Dreamliner to make an emergency landing in Japan, officials said yesterday. Two Thales engineers have been taking part in a CT scan of the aircraft’s lithium-ion battery at a Japan space agency facility in Tokyo since Tuesday, a Japan Transport Safety Board spokeswoman said. Thales designed the Dreamliner’s electrical system and commissioned Japanese firm GS Yuasa to produce the next-generation aircraft’s batteries.
SAP revenues rise
German software giant SAP yesterday said it expects a further strong improvement in sales this year from last year’s record levels, and profits to rise after falling last year. SAP said overall revenues rose 14 percent to 16.22 billion euros (US$21.6 billion) and software and software-related sales were up 16 percent at 13.16 billion euros, exceeding expectations for an increase of 10.5 percent to 12.5 percent. However, operating profit fell 17 percent to 4.06 billion euros due to acquisition-related charges, the group said. Bottom-line net profit was down 18 percent at 2.826 billion euros, it said.
Siemens’ net profit drops
Industrial conglomerate Siemens AG said its net earnings declined 12 percent in the October-December quarter, as new orders declined and the company took one-time charges — some related to the solar power business it is selling. The company yesterday said it earned 1.21 billion euros in its fiscal first quarter, compared with 1.38 billion euros a year earlier. Revenue climbed 2 percent to 18.13 billion euros from 17.86 billion euros. Siemens said a 150 million euros loss at the solar business contributed to the net profit decline. Its transport business also booked charges of 116 million euros.
Ikea profit up 8% last year
Swedish furniture giant Ikea yesterday reported an 8 percent rise in net profit last year and said it benefited as consumers became more cost conscious. Full-year net income rose 8 percent to 3.2 billion euros, while revenue climbed 9.8 percent to 27.6 billion euros.