Firms at Iranian conference
Peugeot and Renault are among Western firms that sent executives to an automotive conference that was to open in Iran yesterday — firing the starting gun on a more overt race for post-sanctions business. The French carmakers are poised to resume vehicle sales in Iran, using a six-month easing of trade restrictions to reclaim their market position before the mass arrival of competitors behind any permanent detente that could follow. Production by Iran’s domestic car industry, unusually developed for the Middle East, peaked at 1.6 million cars in 2011, the year crippling new sanctions were introduced. Leading manufacturer Iran Khodro accounted for about half of that output.
Inflation pick-up relief to ECB
A pick-up in inflation this month eases pressure on the European Central Bank (ECB) to act next week, and the first fall in unemployment in almost three years shows a tentative eurozone recovery is gaining traction. The double dose of data lent credence to the ECB view that the 17-country bloc is undergoing a gradual economic recovery more than five years after a financial crisis erupted, forcing five countries to seek emergency aid from their neighbors. Consumer price inflation — the rate of increases in the cost of shopping and paying household bills — rose in the eurozone by 0.9 percent last month, slightly more than economists had predicted. The EU’s statistics office Eurostat also said on Friday that the eurozone jobless rate fell in October to 12.1 percent from the previous month’s 12.2 percent, the first fall since February 2011.
Firms in joint venture
Steel manufacturing giant ArcelorMittal and Nippon Steel & Sumimoto Metal said in a statement they agreed to buy a US steel plant owned by German firm ThyssenKrupp for US$1.55 billion. The agreement is for a 50-50 joint venture partnership between the Luxembourg-based ArcelorMittal and Japanese titan Nippon Steel, the former company said in a statement on Friday. The ThyssenKrupp plant in question is located in Calvert, in the southern US state of Alabama, and has a total capacity of 5.3 million tonnes of steel destined mainly for auto manufacturing and construction. The purchase is to be financed through a combination of equity and debt at the joint venture level, the statement read. ArcelorMittal and the Japanese steel giant already jointly produce steel in the state of Indiana.
Consumption boosts growth
The economy grew in the third quarter at the fastest pace in two years amid a gain in consumer spending and rebounds in business investment and inventories. GDP rose at a 2.7 percent annualized pace to C$1.70 trillion (US$1.60 trillion) from July through September, following a revised 1.6 percent advance in the prior three months, Statistics Canada said yesterday in Ottawa. Economists forecast 2.5 percent growth, according to the median of a Bloomberg survey with 20 responses. The world’s 11th-largest economy may need another two years to use up slack after a period of weaker global growth that hobbled exports and investment, analysts said.