Inflation slows to 3 percent
Inflation slowed to 3 percent last month to snap two months of acceleration in consumer prices, official figures showed yesterday, well under the government’s target for the year. The annual rise in the consumer price index compared with an increase of 3.2 percent recorded in October, the National Bureau of Statistics announced. It was also lower than the median forecast of 3.1 percent by 11 economists in a Wall Street Journal survey reported by Dow Jones Newswires. Inflation for the first 11 months of the year came in at 2.6 percent, far below the government’s full-year target of 3.5 percent.
Germany’s surplus declined
Germany’s trade surplus contracted in October as imports grew faster than exports, falling to 16.8 billion euros (US$23 billion) from 18.7 billion euros in September, official data showed yesterday. In seasonally adjusted terms, Germany exported goods worth 92.9 billion euros, in October, up only fractionally from 92.7 billion euros in September, the federal statistics office Destatis said in a statement. Imports, on the other hand, rose by a much stronger 2.8 percent to 76.1 billion euros from 74 billion euros.
AAPT to be sold to TPG
New Zealand’s dominant telecommunications company Telecom Corp announced a deal yesterday to sell its Australian arm, AAPT, to Sydney-based TPG Telecom for A$450 million (US$411 million). Telecom said the sale was part of a restructuring that involves the company, which in August posted a fall in annual net profit of almost 80 percent, focusing on its home market. Under the changes, Telecom is attempting to become more than a mobile and fixed-line infrastructure provider, branching out into areas such as entertainment and cloud computing to meet evolving demand.
Britain’s wages growing fast
Wages in Britain grew at their fastest rate in six years last month, a labor market survey indicated on yesterday, providing a rare signal that a long-term decline in real incomes is being checked by a return to economic growth. Prices have been consistently outpacing wages in Britain in recent years, squeezing household budgets and making the cost of living a key political battleground ahead of a general election due in 2015. However, last month starting salaries for permanent staff rose at their highest rate since November 2007, according to survey data from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and consultancy KPMG. REC chief executive Kevin Green said he expected salaries to keep increasing into next year.
HSBC may float UK arm
HSBC Holdings PLC is considering the flotation of up to 30 percent of its British retail and commercial banking arm, the Financial Times reported, a move that would help it cope with planned new rules that demand that British banks ringfence their retail arms. Citing three people familiar with the project, the FT said the plan was at an early stage, but the matter had been discussed with investors and informally at board level. The paper added that investors estimate such a business could float with a market capitalization of about ￡20 billion (US$32.7 billion).