Spanish output dips further
Spanish factories’ output slowed for the 21st straight month in May, official data showed yesterday, as demand collapsed in a long recession that has pushed unemployment above 27 percent. Spain’s factories and utilities cut output by 1.3 percent in the year to May, after smoothing out seasonal blips. This followed a 1.5 percent decline in April, the National Statistics Institute said in a preliminary report. Output of consumer goods tumbled 1.5 percent overall. Production of durable consumer goods, such as cars or washing machines, plunged 14.3 percent, while output of non-durable consumer goods, such as food or paper, was unchanged.
Panasonic Hungary closing
Japanese electronics giant Panasonic yesterday said it would close its only European solar cell plant in Hungary, resulting in the loss of 550 jobs. The assembly factory in the city of Dorog will end production in September before its official closure in March, a Panasonic spokeswoman in Tokyo said. However, the firm will maintain its overall global solar cell production level by moving the European workload to other solar cell factories in Japan and Malaysia. The decision came as the European solar cell market shrinks, partly due to cuts in government subsidies. Japanese market solar cell market has grown, thanks to public incentive programs for renewable energy. “This sector constantly experiences dramatic changes of demand. Our decision is to deal with the changes in the sector,” the spokeswoman said. “We wanted to increase our cost competitiveness and profitability.”
Brazil output, sales rise
Vehicle production in Brazil, the world’s fourth-largest car market, shot up 18.1 percent in the first half of this year, while sales rose 4.5 percent and exports 7.2 percent, industry data released on Thursday showed. From January to last month, production in Brazil reached 1.86 million vehicles, while sales totaled 1.8 million units, the National Association of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers said, adding that exports totaled US$7.9 billion. Output last month fell 7.8 percent over the previous month, but was up 15.5 percent over the same month last year. Sales rose 0.8 percent last month over May, but fell 9.8 percent over June last year. For the whole of this year, the association forecast a 4.5 percent hike in production to 3.5 million units and an increase of 3.5 to 4.5 percent in sales to 3.9 million units.
Credit Suisse sees tax hit
Swiss bank Credit Suisse yesterday said it expects a maximum hit of 90 million Swiss francs (US$94.1 million) from a British-Swiss tax deal aimed at sweeping Swiss banks clean of undeclared money held in accounts of UK clients. The Swiss Bankers Association, the lobbying body for Swiss banks, said implementation of the agreement is on track, and that fewer untaxed assets had come to light than originally assumed. “This is mainly due to the fact that many clients have resident non-domiciled status. These clients are not liable to taxation in the UK and thus do not fall under the agreement,” the association said in a statement. The association added that numerous UK clients had chosen to make voluntary disclosure to the tax authorities, which the association said was not surprising given Switzerland’s announced adoption of a global standard for the automatic exchange of information.