Tue, Dec 24, 2013 - Page 15 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

MACROECONOMICS

IMF raises US outlook

The IMF is raising its outlook for the US economy, as a budget deal in Washington and the US Federal Reserve’s plan to taper its bond buying ease doubts about the future, IMF managing director Christine Lagarde said. “We see a lot more certainty for 2014,” she said in an interview broadcast on Sunday on NBC’s Meet the Press. “With the unemployment rate falling, the Fed’s action last week and the government budget agreement, all of that gives us a much stronger outlook for 2014, which brings us to raising our forecast.” In October, the IMF said the US economy would expand 2.6 percent next year, compared with 1.6 percent this year. Lagarde did not specify any new figures in the interview.

MANUFACTURING

Spain producer prices fall

Spanish producer prices fell the most in seven months last month, led by declines in energy and consumer goods. Prices at factory gates declined 0.9 percent from October, when they dropped a revised 0.5 percent, the National Statistics Institute said in a statement. Prices slipped 0.6 percent compared with a year earlier. The Spanish government is trying to drive down the cost of export goods to boost competitiveness, as it looks to foreign demand to drag the economy out of a five-year slump.

JEWELRY

Swatch wins Tiffany suit

Swiss watchmaker Swatch Group has won a lawsuit against US jewelry group Tiffany & Co over a failed joint venture to jointly design and market luxury watches. Tiffany was required to pay Swatch 402 million Swiss francs (US$449 million) under the ruling by the Netherlands Arbitration Institute, Swatch said in a statement. The case stemmed from a 2007-2011 cooperation deal that Swatch said Tiffany had systematically obstructed. Swatch Group had sought SF3.8 billion from its erstwhile partner, while Tiffany had countersued for SF541.9 million from Swatch.

RETAIL

N Brown Group expanding

Internet and catalogue retailer N Brown Group PLC, which owns the Jacamo and Simply Be brands, is seeking to expand its presence in the UK, the Daily Telegraph reported. The company, which has nine outlets in the UK, has hired a former Asda property executive to spearhead the property acquisition, the report said. “We’re looking for locations which will be suitable to house our brands, Jacamo and Simply Be, and complement our established and thriving Internet and catalogue businesses,” N Brown property acquisitions manager Guy Price said.

STEEL

Fitch downgrades POSCO

Fitch Ratings Ltd has lowered POSCO’s credit rating one level to its second-lowest investment grade because of high capital expenditure and rising debt. Fitch does not expect significant improvements in margins at South Korea’s largest steelmaker, as the industry faces severe overcapacity coupled with a slow recovery in global demand, it said in a statement yesterday. It downgraded POSCO’s long-term issuer default rating and senior unsecured rating to “BBB” from “BBB+”.

RETAIL

Prada issues profit warning

Prada SpA shares slid 4.2 percent to HK$68.50 yesterday after the Italian maker of luxury handbags said sales may miss estimates. The luxury retailer said it may fall short of analysts’ projections for fiscal-year revenue following unfavorable currency moves and slowing Europe and Asia demand.

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