Dagong launches venture
Chinese credit rating company Dagong (大公) launched a new venture with Russian and US partners yesterday to challenge the dominance of the major rating agencies that were blamed for contributing to the global financial crisis. Officials said the Universal Credit Rating Group (世界信用評級集團) is aimed at “providing some balance” to the industry, traditionally cornered by Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s and Fitch. The Big Three established agencies came under fire for giving high ratings to complex pools of mortgages and other debt.
Inflation edges up
The nation’s inflation edged up this month, official figures showed yesterday, marking the first increase in eight months after the government cut interest rates. Prices rose 6.69 percent this month, up from 6.36 percent last month, which analysts said shows Hanoi’s attempts to stoke demand were showing results. The government cut interest rates last month for the eighth time in little more than a year as it looked to spur bank lending and boost consumption after economic growth fell to a 13-year low of 5.03 percent last year.
AirAsia, ANA splitting up
Southeast Asia’s top budget carrier, AirAsia, said yesterday it has decided to part ways with Japan’s All Nippon Airways Co (ANA) after clashes over how to run their low-cost joint venture airline. AirAsia said it will sell its 49 percent stake to ANA for ￥2.45 billion (US$25 million). AirAsia Japan will operate until the end of October, after which it will be given a new name and operate as ANA’s fully-owned subsidiary out of Tokyo’s Narita airport. AirAsia said the two-year joint venture was hampered by a “fundamental difference of opinion” on issues such as cost management and where the domestic business operations should be based. ANA senior vice president Shinzo Shimizu told a press conference in Tokyo that the joint venture was not meeting expectations, both in revenue and brand recognition in Japan.
Google receives boost
A top lawyer at the European Court of Justice says Google and other search engines should not be responsible when personal information appears on Web pages they index, a defeat for the so-called “right to be forgotten” privacy principle under debate in Europe. The court’s independent advocate general, Niilo Jaaskinen, says in a written opinion that Web sites, not Google, should bear responsibility for information they publish. The Luxembourg-based court was asked to rule on the point because of a case in Spain, where the national data protection agency had received complaints from individuals who said personal information from years ago could be found. The Spanish agency ordered Google Spain and Google to remove the information from search results. Google contested that. The court will rule later this year.
Unemployment rate falls
The nation’s unemployment rate fell to 13.5 percent at the end of last month from 14 percent the previous month as warmer weather saw an increase in seasonal outdoor jobs. The Central Statistical Office said yesterday that about 2.17 million people in the nation of 38 million were without a job last month. Experts say that the economy is showing the first signs of recovery after a sharp slowdown last year, when it grew a mere 1.9 percent, compared with 4.5 percent in 2011.