China inflation up 2.4%
China’s consumer inflation edged up last month as food prices rose despite signs the world’s second-largest economy is slowing. Consumer prices rose 2.4 percent from a year earlier and 2 percent from February, government data showed yesterday. The increase was driven by a 4.1 percent rise in politically sensitive food costs. Producer prices, measured as goods leave the factory, fell 2.3 percent in a sign of weakening economic growth, the government reported. It was their 25th straight month of decline.
Moody’s negative on Turkey
Moody’s yesterday cut the outlook on Turkey’s sovereign rating to “negative,” citing political turbulence, increased external financing pressure and weaker growth prospects. Moody’s said one of the two drivers prompting the change in outlook was increased pressure on the country’s external financing position driven by “heightened political uncertainty and lower global liquidity.” The Turkish economy’s Achilles’ heel has long been its large current account deficit. Data released yesterday showed the gap narrowed to US$3.19 billion in February from January’s US$4.93 billion.
Fitch upgrades Portugal
Ratings agency Fitch yesterday upgraded its outlook for Portugal to “positive” and maintained the country’s credit rating at “BB+.” Fitch justified its move by citing budgetary efforts agreed by Lisbon as well as the nation’s recovering economy three years after its bailout. “Portugal is making good progress in reducing its budget deficit,” the ratings agency said in a statement. Fitch forecast the Portuguese economy would grow 1.3 percent this year and 1.5 percent next year.
Finland’s ‘AAA’ at risk: S&P
Finland faces a one-in-three chance its “AAA” credit rating will be cut over the next two years, Standard & Poor’s (S&P) said yesterday, citing lackluster demand that is thwarting government efforts to halt debt growth. S&P affirmed Finland’s long-term “AAA” rating, but cut its outlook to “negative” from “stable,” the credit-rating company said in a statement. It cut its economic growth forecast to an average of 1 percent this year to 2016, from its prior projection of 1.4 percent.
BMW recalling 156,000
German carmaker BMW said it would voluntarily recall more than 156,000 vehicles in the US, including its popular 3 Series compact sedan, to check for potentially defective bolts that could lead to engine damage. BMW said it would check whether bolts holding a certain component in vehicles with six-cylinder engines were prone to loosening or breaking. The vehicles, which also include the Series 5 and the Z4 sports cars, are from model years 2010 to 2012, the company said in an e-mail. BMW had recalled 232,000 imported and locally produced cars in China earlier this month for the same reason.
Sony may recall laptops
Sony Corp is considering recalling the Vaio Fit 11A notebook computer because of an overheating battery supplied by a unit of Panasonic Corp. Sony, which has shipped 25,905 of the computers worldwide, said three cases have been identified in which the battery overheated, spokesman Stewart Pagan said. Consumers should halt usage of the device as the battery may cause fire damage to the laptop, Sony said.