EU output points to recovery
Eurozone manufacturing output for last month contracted less than initially estimated, adding to signs the currency bloc’s economy is beginning to emerge from a record-long recession. A gauge of manufacturing in the 17-nation eurozone increased to 48.8 last month from 48.3 in May, London-based Markit Economics said yesterday. The gauge has been below 50, indicating contraction, since July 2011. Meanwhile, British manufacturing recorded its strongest growth in more than two years last month. The Markit/CIPS Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index for the UK jumped to 52.5 from an upwardly revised 51.5 in May, beating analysts’ forecasts of a 51.5 reading.
Apple seeks name in Japan
Apple Inc is seeking a trademark for “iWatch” in Japan as rival Samsung Electronics Co readies its own wearable smartphone device. The maker of iPhones is seeking protection for the name, which is categorized as being for products including a handheld computer or watch device, according to a June 3 filing with the Japanese Patent Office that was made public last week. Apple has a team of about 100 product designers working on a wristwatch-like device that may perform some of the tasks now handled by the iPhone and iPad, two people familiar with the company’s plans said in February.
Fuel hike boosts inflation
Inflation accelerated last month after the government hiked the price of fuel for the first time since 2008, official data showed yesterday. The increase had been expected after the price of fuel rose by up to 44 percent last month, pushing up the cost of transporting everyday goods and public transport. The consumer price index rose 5.9 percent from a year earlier compared with 5.47 percent in May, according to the Central Statistics Agency. The increase also puts inflation above the upper limit of the government’s target range of 3.5 percent to 5.5 percent for the year. Economists have warned inflation will likely accelerate to more than 7 percent in the near future.
Cameron opens Kazakh plant
British Prime Minister David Cameron unveiled a massive oil and gas processing plant on the shores of the Caspian Sea yesterday during his first visit to Kazakhstan. The British leader is leading a large business delegation to the resource-rich nation and hopes to sign trade deals worth more than ￡700 million (US$1.06 billion). The plant is stationed on the Kashagan oil and gas field — one of the largest deposits in Central Asia. It is due to process 450,000 barrels of oil and 8.8 million cubic meters of gas daily when it becomes fully operational.
Random, Penguin merge
Random House Inc and Penguin Group yesterday completed a planned merger that creates the world’s largest publisher of consumer books. Parent companies Bertelsmann SE & Co KGaA and Pearson PLC said they signed the final contracts to combine the global activities of the two publishers and create Penguin Random House. Random House parent Bertelsmann will hold 53 percent of the new company and Penguin owner Pearson 47 percent. Random House chief executive Markus Dohle is to become CEO of the privately held new group, based in New York, while Penguin CEO John Makinson will be the chairman of its board of directors.