South Korean exports rise
South Korean exports rose 0.4 percent last month from a year earlier, with the trade balance showing a surplus for the 15th straight month, government data showed yesterday. Exports increased to US$46.29 billion last month, helped by a mild recovery in the global economy, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy. Imports fell 0.5 percent to US$43.71 billion, leaving a trade surplus of US$2.58 billion, against a surplus of US$2.14 billion a year earlier. However, that was smaller than a surplus of US$3.29 billion logged in March, the trade ministry said.
Indonesian inflation eases
Indonesian inflation eased to 5.57 percent on-year last month due to lower food prices after the government eased some import restrictions, official data showed yesterday. It slowed from 5.90 percent in March, but it was still above the upper limit of the central bank’s target range of 3.5 to 5.5 percent. In particular, a “drastic drop in garlic prices” helped to push inflation lower last month, statistics agency chief Suryamin said.
Britain’s PMI up slightly
British manufacturing contracted by the narrowest of margins last month, and much less than expected, the first major set of data for the second quarter of the year showed yesterday. The Markit/CIPS Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rose to 49.8 last month from an upwardly revised 48.6 in March, putting the sector within a whisker of the 50 line that separates growth from contraction. Economists had expected a much weaker reading of 48.5.
Slovenia facing trouble
Slovenia moved a step closer on Tuesday to becoming the next eurozone member to need a bailout after Moody’s slashed its credit rating two notches to “junk” status. The announcement by the US ratings agency forced Slovenia’s finance ministry to pull a bond auction that it had hoped would raise a much-needed 2.2 billion euros (US$3 billion). The cut to “Ba1” from “Baa2” was made because of “turmoil” in Slovenia’s banking sector, a “marked deterioration” in government finances and “uncertain” funding prospects, Moody’s said.
Sony execs drop bonuses
Dozens of Sony executives, including the firm’s boss, are forgoing bonuses this year in an “unprecedented” step to atone for a slump in its embattled electronics unit, a spokeswoman said yesterday. Chief executive Kazuo Hirai is among 40 top managers who will not get a bonus estimated at several hundred million yen (several million US dollars) “due to severe business circumstances, including stagnant performance in the electronics sector,” the spokeswoman said. Last year, seven top Sony executives gave up their bonuses “but the number this time is unprecedented,” she added.
IBM board raises dividend
IBM Corp said on Tuesday that its board had raised its regular quarterly dividend by 12 percent to US$0.95 and approved a plan to repurchase up to US$5 billion of its stock. The Armonk, New York-based technology company said this is the 18th year in a row that it has raised its quarterly dividend. Earlier this month, the company surprised investors when it reported a drop in quarterly earnings and sales. IBM’s stock rose US$3.39 to US$202.54 on Tuesday.