Central bank eyes GDP gain
The Bank of France yesterday forecast a small gain in GDP of 0.1 percent in its first estimate of growth in the first quarter of this year. The forecast is the same as that of the national statistics agency INSEE, which publishes official GDP figures. The government is hoping for 0.8 percent GDP growth this year, but INSEE forecasts the economy is likely to expand by just 0.1 percent in the first half of this year as the eurozone states continue to cut spending to reduce their deficits.
Account surplus shrinks
The nation’s current account surplus last year shrank to its lowest in almost three decades, data showed yesterday, as exports to China and Europe slumped. The Finance Ministry said the current account, the broadest measure of Japan’s trade with the rest of the world, came in at ￥4.7 trillion (US$50 billion) last year, the smallest annual surplus since comparable data was made available in 1985. The news was also poor for December last year, with the country logging a monthly deficit of ￥264.1 billion, reversing a year-earlier surplus of ￥265.7 billion.
Mutual funds disappoint
The nation’s mutual funds recorded the largest outflows since 2009 last week amid “disappointing” earnings, Citigroup Inc said. The nation’s funds lost 5 percent of assets under management, equal to US$671 million of outflows, in the week ended Wednesday, Markus Rosgen and Yue Hin Pong, Hong Kong-based Citigroup analysts, wrote in a report yesterday, citing EPFR data. Asian funds lured US$981 million, the 22nd straight week of inflows, the analysts wrote. The KOSPI has fallen 2.5 percent this year.
LinkedIn beats forecasts
LinkedIn Corp, the biggest business-focused social media Web site, reported fourth-quarter sales and profit that beat estimates as marketers bolstered spending on the Web site and the firm added subscribers. Revenue jumped 81 percent to US$303.6 million, the company said in a statement on Thursday, beating an average analysts’ estimate of US$279.7 million, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Profit excluding some items was US$0.35 a share, beating the US$0.19 forecast.
Nissan sticking to forecast
Nissan Motor Co said yesterday its net profit in the October-December quarter fell 34.6 percent from a year earlier, but the Japanese automaker kept its full-year profit forecast unchanged. The company said it earned ￥54.1 billion in the period on sales of ￥2.21 trillion, down 5.3 percent year-on-year. It expects to book a net profit of ￥320 billion in the fiscal year to March. Nissan’s global vehicle sales slipped 3.8 percent in the quarter to 1.16 million units, hit by a slumping European market and tough conditions in China.
Japan firm eyes Myanmar
Japanese advertising and public relations company Dentsu Inc will open an office in Myanmar’s commercial capital Yangon next week, in the latest push by a Japanese firm to break into the potentially lucrative new market. The firm, the largest of its kind in Japan, said on Thursday it would work with both foreign and local companies seeking to cash in on new opportunities in the country of 62 million people. Dentsu said it was looking to the 27th Southeast Asian Games, which Myanmar is set to host in December, as a source of advertising contracts.