Parliament okays budget
The Serbian parliament on Friday approved a revised budget for this year that would bring the nation’s deficit to 4.7 percent of GDP, compared with an initially planned 3.3 percent. “It is still high, but it is the lowest possible,” Finance Minister Mladjan Dinkic told the deputies who approved the revised budget with 129 votes for and 55 against. The budget gap is now planned at 178.3 billion dinars (US$2 billion). The deficit will be funded by loans from domestic and international creditors, as well as by the sale of euro-denominated bonds, the government said. A restructuring of public companies, government spending cuts and an improved investment climate will result in 36 billion dinars in savings, he said.
Brazil inflation at 0.2%
Inflation in Brazil slowed to 0.2 percent last month compared with a month earlier, but at 6.7 percent over 12 months, was still well above the government’s target of 4.5 percent, official figures released on Friday showed. Last month’s figure was the lowest since the same month the year before, when consumer prices rose 0.08 percent, the Brazilian Geography and Statistics Institute reported. Markets had expected consumer prices to edge up 0.3 percent last month as they did in May. Food products and drinks, which rose the most in previous months, showed increases of only 0.04 percent, unlike transport, which expanded 0.14 percent last month when the country was jolted by mass street protests over public transport fare hikes, inadequate funding of health and education, and endemic political corruption.
Softbank, Sprint deal passes
US regulators on Friday approved the US$21.6 billion takeover of mobile carrier Sprint by Japan’s Softbank, a deal with the potential to shake up the US wireless market. Approval by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was the last major hurdle following a hard-fought acquisition battle and allows Softbank to take a 78 percent stake in Sprint, while Sprint stockholders will retain a 22 percent stake in the new firm. The FCC also approved a separate deal that allows Sprint to take full control of the wireless broadband provider Clearwire, giving it more spectrum to compete against bigger carriers such as AT&T and Verizon.
Fiat, Peugeot in new deal
Fiat SpA and PSA Peugeot Citroen agreed to share investment in the development of new delivery vans that will be produced in Italy, four people familiar with the matter said. The two carmakers will split costs to develop a new version of the Fiat Ducato, Peugeot Boxer and Citroen Jumper full-sized vans, which will be built at the SevelSud plant in central Italy, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the agreement has not been made public. Fiat has scheduled an announcement at the plant for Tuesday without providing details. Fiat and Peugeot, which currently already cooperate at SevelSud on assembly of the models, agreed in May 2011 to end a similar partnership to make mid-sized delivery vans in France. Paris-based Peugeot plans to invest more than 750 million euros (US$962 million) to produce a new model on its own to keep the SevelNord plant open.