IMF releases bailout cash
The nation on Friday received a vote of confidence from international creditors over progress in overhauling its stricken economy — and a fresh injection of cash from the IMF. In Washington, the IMF said it had released 1.74 billion euros (US$2.26 billion) in fresh funds after Greece passed a third performance review — part of the terms of the joint IMF-EU bailout. IMF managing director Christine Lagarde praised Greek efforts to meet their commitments. The funding is part of the 173 billion euro, four-year program to put Athens’ finances on a stable path. The IMF has so far released 6.57 billion euros. Jeroen Dijsselbloem, head of eurozone finance ministers, stressed that it was “crucial” for the nation to continue with its structural reforms as he held out hope for a long-awaited exit from a six-year recession.
Surprise fall in spending
Consumer spending unexpectedly declined in April for the first time in almost a year as incomes stagnated, indicating that the largest part of the economy will struggle to pick up without bigger job gains. Purchases fell 0.2 percent after a 0.1 percent gain in March that was smaller than previously estimated, a US Department of Commerce report showed on Friday in Washington. Incomes were unchanged and prices dropped by the most in more than four years. Other reports showed consumer confidence and business activity jumped last month. The figures point to a cooling in growth this quarter as higher payroll taxes and budget cuts restrain the world’s largest economy, giving US Federal Reserve policymakers reason to keep pumping money into financial markets. At the same time, record-low inflation combined with rebounds in home and stock prices are shoring up confidence, which will help prevent an extended pullback in demand.
Jakarta puts mine on hold
Indonesia has told Freeport McMoRan Copper and Gold Inc it cannot resume production yet at its huge copper mine following a major accident there, a government official said yesterday, adding to doubts how much longer the company can continue to supply the metal. Freeport suspended operations at its remote Grasberg complex in eastern Indonesia on May 15, a day after a training tunnel collapsed killing 28 people in one of Indonesia’s worst mining accidents. Another worker is in serious condition after another accident on Friday, prompting a union leader to tell members to stop work at the world’s second-largest copper mine. The Kompas daily quoted Thamrin Sihite, director general for Mineral and Coal at the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, as saying the government had requested the temporary stoppage of production while investigating the accident.
Infosys turns to co-founder
Infosys Technologies Ltd yesterday reappointed co-founder N.R. Narayana Murthy to lead the Indian outsourcing giant two years after he retired, as the company grapples with weak earnings and falling market share. The firm said in a statement that incumbent K.V. Kamath will step down as chairman of the board and be an independent director. The move comes after the company in April announced disappointing fourth-quarter earnings and weak revenue projections.