Fri, Nov 01, 2013 - Page 15 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

BANKING

ECB extends swap accord

The European Central Bank (ECB) yesterday said that its current temporary bilateral liquidity swap arrangements with five other central banks would remain in place until further notice. “The Bank of Canada, the Bank of England, the Bank of Japan, the European Central Bank, the [US] Federal Reserve, and the Swiss National Bank announced on Thursday that their existing temporary bilateral liquidity swap arrangements are being converted to standing arrangements, that is, arrangements that will remain in place until further notice,” the ECB said in a statement.

GERMANY

Consumer confidence stable

German consumer confidence is holding up as economic expectations continue to point upwards in Europe’s top economy, a new poll showed yesterday. “The first survey after the parliamentary elections paints a calm picture,” market research company GfK said in a statement. “A small uptick in economic expectations suggests that the German economy will recover in the coming months, albeit slowly.” Overall, GfK’s headline household confidence index was forecast to slip to 7 percent this month from 7.1 points last month. The reading is based on responses from about 2,000 households on their expectations about pay and the economy as a whole in the coming months, as well as their willingness to spend money.

RETAIL

Starbucks profit climbs 34%

Starbucks says its profit rose 34 percent in the quarter, as the coffee chain used its loyalty program to get customers to visit more often and spend more on revamped sandwiches and other food. The Seattle-based company said global sales rose 7 percent at cafes open at least a year, including an 8 percent rise in both the US and Asia. In the region encompassing Europe, the Middle East and Africa, where the company has struggled, the figure rose 2 percent. For the quarter, Starbucks said it earned US$481.1 million, or US$0.63 per share, while revenue rose to US$3.8 billion.

ENERGY

Shell Q3 profit fell 31%

Royal Dutch Shell PLC, Europe’s largest oil firm, says third-quarter earnings fell due to weaker refining conditions, and higher exploration and production expenses. In addition, production fell 2 percent to 2.93 million barrels per day due to shutdowns of facilities for maintenance, notably in Nigeria, where Shell has suffered from attacks on pipelines. The company reported earnings on a current cost of supplies basis — which strips out the impact of fluctuations of oil prices between when it is produced and when it is sold — of US$4.25 billion, down 31 percent from US$6.15 billion in the same quarter a year ago. CEO Peter Voser said Shell’s woes are mostly short term, as he expects costs to fall next year and the company’s underlying production is growing.

ELECTRONICS

Sony books net loss

Japanese electronics giant Sony yesterday said it booked a net loss of ¥15.8 billion (US$160 million) in the six months to September and cut its full-year earnings forecast by 40 percent to ¥30 billion from ¥50 billion, citing tough times in the electronics business with tepid demand for digital cameras, PCs and televisions. However, the firm said it was in black on the operating side, with earnings up 40 percent to ¥51.1 billion on sales of ¥3.49 trillion, an 11.8 percent rise year-on-year. However, it failed to offset the negative impact of a one-time corporate tax rise, Sony said in a statement.

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