Room to cut rates: bank
The nation’s central bank said it still has room to cut the benchmark interest rate from its record-low level and judged that the nation’s exchange rate remains high even after the biggest monthly drop since 2011. Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Glenn Stevens and his board kept the overnight cash-rate target at 2.75 percent, the bank said in a statement yesterday. “The inflation outlook, as currently assessed, may provide some scope for further easing, should that be required,” Stevens said.
Brazil registers record deficit
Brazil says it has registered its highest-ever trade deficit, which reached more than US$5.39 billion in the first five months of the year. Officials blame much of the record deficit on state-owned oil company Petrobras’ recent purchases of crude oil. According to data released on Monday, Brazil’s exports totaled US93.29 billion from January through last month. At the same time, however, the country imported US$98.68 billion worth of goods.
Spain sees hiring boost
Spain’s Ministry of Labor says the number of people registered as unemployed fell by a little under 100,000 last month as employers ramped up hiring in preparation for the busy summer tourist season. The ministry said yesterday that the total number of workers registered as jobless stands at 4.89 million. Spain’s unemployment rate was a record 27.2 percent during the first quarter.
Fleet inspections ordered
Japanese Minister of Transport Akihiro Ota said yesterday he had ordered the country’s two biggest airlines to inspect their entire modified Dreamliner fleets after a fault was found with one aircraft at the weekend. Ota said he issued the instruction to Japan Airlines (JAL) and All Nippon Airways after JAL found a fault with an air pressure sensor in the Dreamliner’s battery container on Sunday. The setback, although not serious, is yet another embarrassment for Boeing, which admitted in April that despite months of testing it did not know the root cause of problems that had led to the worldwide grounding of the next-generation airliner.
Coca-Cola starts operations
Coca-Cola has begun bottling its famous soft drink in Myanmar as part of a planned five-year, US$200 million investment after having no local production for more than 60 years. The company announced in a press release the ceremonial inauguration of its bottling plant yesterday in Hmawbi Township, a suburb of Yangon, the country’s biggest city, with local partner Pinya Manufacturing Co. The return of Coca Cola is emblematic of the opportunities US companies see in Myanmar as it builds a free market economy after decades of military rule.
Pickups dominate in US
Full-size pickups once again dominated US auto sales last month, as small businesses — increasingly confident in the economy — raced to replace the aging pickups they held on to during the recession. Car buyers, too, were lured by low interest rates and Memorial Day sales. Overall, US consumers bought 1.4 million vehicles last month, up 8 percent from the same month a year ago, according to Autodata Corp. Most automakers topped analysts’ expectations last month, with Nissan reporting its highest May sales ever.