FDI in China falls 7.3%
Foreign direct investment (FDI) in China declined last month, official data showed yesterday, extending a downward trend after falling on an annual basis last year for the first time in three years. FDI, which excludes financial sectors, fell 7.3 percent from the year before to US$9.27 billion, the Ministry of Commerce announced. It was also down from December’s US$11.7 billion. The comparison with January last year is affected by seasonal factors as the Lunar New Year holiday fell in that month, but came in February this year. However, as there were more business days in January this year, the year-on-year decline underscores the weakness. Ministry spokesman Shen Danyang (沈丹陽) acknowledged the decline was “not small,” but added that the number of new foreign investors in China rose 34.3 percent to 1,883 during the month.
German optimism surges
Optimism that the worst of the eurozone debt crisis is over has helped German investor and analyst sentiment soar to its highest level in nearly three years this month. In the latest sign that Europe’s largest economy is bouncing back after a dismal end last year, the Mannheim-based ZEW think tank said on Tuesday its monthly poll of economic sentiment rose to 48.2 points this month from 31.5 last month. It was above the highest forecast in a Reuters poll and much higher than the consensus of 35 points. The news, along with other recent data suggesting the German economy will avoid recession, will come as a relief to the government of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is campaigning to win a third term in a September election.
BMW recalls 750,000 cars
BMW is recalling about 750,000 of its vehicles in the US, Japan, Canada and South Africa as a potential electrical failure may cause the cars to stall unexpectedly, US regulators and the company said. Vehicles sold in Germany, BMW’s home market, and the rest of Europe are not involved in the recall. The recall affects BMW’s popular 3-Series sedans, convertibles, coupes and sports wagons, as well as its 1-Series coupes and convertibles and Z4 two-seat roadsters. In some markets, the X1 crossover vehicle is also part of the recall. The affected vehicles were built between March 2007 and July 2011. A battery cable connection with a fuse box on the cars may degrade over time, which could cause the engine to stall because of a loss of electric power, increasing the risk of a crash, the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in a report issued on Monday. Among major BMW markets, the company is recalling 504,545 cars in the US, 100,000 in Japan, 65,285 in Canada and 50,000 in South Africa, the company said.
UK 4G auction disappoints
The British government raised less than expected from its 4G mobile auction, with five companies providing the country with super-fast mobile Internet services, telecoms watchdog Ofcom said yesterday. Ofcom said the total bidding came to ￡2.341 billion (US$3.615 billion), significantly less than the ￡3.5 billion forecast last year by the government. The licence fees cover a period of 20 years. “After more than 50 rounds of bidding, Everything Everywhere Ltd, Hutchison 3G UK Ltd, Niche Spectrum Ventures Ltd (a subsidiary of BT Group PLC), Telefonica UK Ltd and Vodafone Ltd have all won spectrum,” Ofcom said. Vodafone, which successfully bid ￡790 million for its licenses, welcomed the outcome.