Inflation hits unexpected high
Inflation unexpectedly accelerated to a seven-month high last month, adding to the case for a further increase in the benchmark interest rate. The wholesale price index rose 6.46 percent from a year earlier, compared with a 6.1 percent advance in August, the Ministry of Commerce said yesterday. Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan, who took over the central bank last month, raised the repurchase rate to 7.5 percent after vowing to tame inflation.
Reserves to be outsourced
The government plans to let private-sector financial institutions manage part of its US$1.27 trillion in foreign exchange reserves, a finance ministry official said yesterday. The government will introduce a bill to a Diet session beginning this week that would lift a ban on outsourcing the management of the reserves, said the official, who asked not to be named. The country will continue to buy US Treasuries and other assets that are perceived to be safe, retaining its investment stance, the official said.
Diamonds fetch record prices
The annual sale of Rio Tinto’s rare pink-hued diamonds attracted unprecedented interest with at least two of the stones fetching record prices of more than US$2 million, the mining giant said yesterday. This year’s Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender of 64 red, pink and blue stones drew a record number of bids of more than US$1 million from established markets such as Japan and Australia, as well as emerging markets China and India. The highlight was the Argyle Phoenix, a 1.56 carat gem and one of three Fancy Red diamonds on offer, which sold for more than US$2 million to a Singapore-based jeweler, the highest per-carat price paid for any diamond ever produced from Rio’s Argyle mine in Western Australia.
Ministers in bank talks
EU finance ministers will try again this week to resolve deep differences over how to supervise, and if necessary close, failing banks before they can plunge the economy into crisis. Ireland was among the worst affected by the collapse of its banks, but over the weekend announced it would exit its three-year, 85 billion euro (US$115.3 billion) bailout program on schedule in December. The 17 eurozone ministers were to meet yesterday in Luxembourg, followed by talks today with their 11 non-euro colleagues hoping for progress on a hugely complex issue surrounded by political sensitivities.
Ikea sales rise 3.1%
Ikea Group said full-year sales rose 3.1 percent as the flat-pack furniture retailer gained market share in most markets and benefited from growth in Russia and China. Revenue increased to 27.9 billion euros (US$37.9 billion), the company said yesterday in an e-mailed statement. Same-store sales gained 1.8 percent at the retailer. Ikea said some of the strongest growth was in Russia and China, and that North America showed significant progress.
Airbus A350 XWB ‘on track’
European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co chief executive Tom Enders yesterday said the firm’s aircraft unit, Airbus, is on track to deliver the first A350 XWB by the end of next year. The wide-bodied aircraft is the latest passenger jet from the Toulouse-based manufacturer. The new airliner is set to compete with Boeing’s troubled 787 Dreamliner.