Thu, May 01, 2014 - Page 15 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

SPAIN

Economic output accelerates

The government yesterday announced the fastest economic growth in six years in the first quarter of the year, even as it failed to dent a 26 percent unemployment rate. Economic output rose at the quickest pace since a 2008 property crash tipped the nation into a double-dip recession, the National Statistics Institute said in an initial estimate. The economy grew at a quarterly rate of 0.4 percent, it said, the latest sign of a gathering, yet modest recovery since the nation emerged from a two-year downturn last year.

PORTUGAL

Bailout exit being mulled

The nation will decide on how it will exit its 78 billion euro (US$108 billion) bailout program before a meeting of eurozone finance ministers in Brussels on Monday next week, the government said on Tuesday. Lisbon could opt for a precautionary line of credit when the bailout program, extended three years ago, ends on May 17. Alternatively, it could take the route risked by Ireland four months ago — a return to the debt market without a standby loan.

UNITED STATES

Warning sounded on loans

Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Sarah Bloom Raskin sounded the alarm on Tuesday on student loans, as the number of people defaulting is on the rise. At least 40 million people have taken out a student loan, Raskin said, and by the time students graduate the average amount of loans is US$30,000 and they spend 10 years or more repaying. Many never manage to repay them at all, Raskin said in a speech at the University of Maryland.

UNITED KINGDOM

Campaign suffers setback

The government’s campaign against a proposed EU tax on financial transactions suffered a blow yesterday after a court ruled the legal action taken against the tax was premature. The European Court of Justice in Strasbourg found London’s opposition to the EU’s Financial Transactions Tax should not prevent a group of 11 EU members from proceeding with plans to implement the tax.

GERMANY

Unemployment rate falls

The unemployment rate fell to 6.8 percent last month thanks to a better-than-expected springtime boost in jobs. The drop of 0.3 percentage points compared with the previous month is equivalent to 111,000 fewer jobless. The Federal Labor Agency reported yesterday that 2.94 million people were registered as unemployed last month. Adjusted for seasonal factors, the unemployment rate remained at 6.7 percent.

ENGINEERING

Siemens eyes energy deal

German giant Siemens AG is in talks to purchase Rolls-Royce’s energy production arm, the British aircraft engine maker said yesterday. “Following media reports, Rolls-Royce confirms it is in talks with Siemens regarding the sale of its energy gas turbine and compressor business,” the London-listed group said in a statement.

WINE

NZ exports hit record levels

New Zealand’s wine exports reached record levels in the 12 months to March amid surging demand from key markets, an industry body said yesterday. Official data showed exports were up 9.2 percent to NZ$1.32 billion (US$1.13 billion), making wine the country’s eighth-most valuable goods export, New Zealand Winegrowers said. Australia and Britain remain New Zealand’s largest wine exports markets.

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