Weather cools consumption
Consumers tightened their purse strings again in June after a bounce in consumption in May, with both moves largely due to weather conditions and highlighting the fragility of any nascent recovery. French consumer spending fell 0.8 percent in June from May, largely because of reduced energy spending as the weather got better after a cold May that had sent heating bills up. Analysts polled by Reuters had expected a slight rise in June. Overall, consumer spending edged up 0.3 percent in the second quarter, data from statistics office INSEE showed.
EU crisis bites BNP profits
BNP Paribas yesterday said its net profit slipped nearly 5 percent in the second quarter as investment banking continued to suffer from the tough economic conditions in Europe. France’s largest bank made a net profit of 1.76 billion euros (US$2.3 billion) in the April-to-June quarter, down from 1.85 billion euros a year earlier. Paris-based BNP said that its corporate and investment banking revenue fell 2.4 percent from a year earlier, which contributed to a 38.7 percent earnings slide in the quarter. BNP Paribas said there were “renewed tensions in the markets,” stemming mostly from confusion over when the US Federal Reserve will start reducing its stimulus.
Panasonic octuples profits
Japanese consumer electronics giant Panasonic Corp said its net profit surged more than eightfold last quarter, helped by the weaker yen and strength in the company’s automotive and housing-related businesses. The ￥107.8 billion (US$1.1 billion) profit in the April-to-June period compared with a ￥12.8 billion net profit in the same period a year earlier, representing an increase of 842 percent. The Osaka-based company is battling plunging prices and weak sales of its mainstay electronics products. It says it is making progress in trimming its unprofitable businesses. Sales rose 1 percent to ￥1.82 trillion as an 8 percent rise in overseas sales helped offset a 6 percent fall in domestic revenue.
EADS to shake up Airbus
The parent company of European jet maker Airbus SAS yesterday said its profit soared 31 percent in the first half to 759 million euros (US$1 billion) and announced a corporate shakeup to give prominence to its civil aviation division. European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co (EADS) is changing its name to Airbus Group next year and reshuffling its space and military units into one division, the company said. The changes will “enhance integration and cohesion” of the group, it added.