Sat, Jun 14, 2014 - Page 15 News List

World Business Quick Take



Industry, retail sectors surge

Growth in industrial output and retail sales accelerated last month, with consumption increasing at its fastest pace since December last year, official data showed yesterday, in signs of renewed strength in the world’s second-largest economy. Industrial production rose 8.8 percent year-on-year last month, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said in a statement, up from 8.7 percent in April. Retail sales, a key gauge of consumer spending, increased 12.5 percent last month from a year ago, the NBS said in a separate statement, up from a gain of 11.9 percent in April and the highest since 13.6 percent at the end of last year.


Fitch announces downgrade

Fitch ratings agency yesterday revised the outlook on the nation to negative from stable and affirmed its credit rating at “BBB,” near the bottom of the investment-grade scale. The ratings agency said the outlook revision was partly due to a strike at platinum mines, the country’s longest-ever mining strike, which began in January when workers downed tools demanding higher wages. Fitch said South Africa’s outlook for growth had deteriorated after a contraction in the first quarter of this year, and it revised its GDP forecast down to 1.7 percent for this year from the 2.8 percent that it issued during the last country review in December.


Minister faces judge

Former finance minister George Papaconstantinou has appeared before an investigating judge to answer criminal charges over his handling of data on Greeks with Swiss bank accounts. Papaconstantinou, who handled the nation’s first international bailout in 2010, was released on Thursday on bail of 30,000 euros (US$40,000) and ordered to appear at a police station monthly. He denies charges of breach of duty and tampering with a document, arguing he is the victim of a smear campaign. The accusations stem from the fate of a list of about 2,000 names provided by French authorities in 2010 as Greece’s economy was struck by a major crisis.


Intel raises guidance

Intel Corp on Thursday raised its revenue guidance, saying sales of computers for businesses have been stronger than expected. The world’s largest chipmaker is now forecasting revenue of US$13.4 billion to US$14 billion in the second quarter. The Santa Clara, California-based company had expected US$12.5 billion to US$13.5 billion in revenue in the quarter. Intel also expects stronger profit margins. It also said it expects revenue to grow this year. In January, Intel said its sales would be about the same as last year’s total of US$52.71 billion.


CEO payments rise 10-fold

Pay for chief executives of US companies has soared nearly 10-fold over the past 35 years to an average of US$15.2 million last year, according to a study released on Thursday. Total compensation, including bonuses and stock options, jumped 937 percent since 1978, said a report by the non-partisan Economic Policy Institute (EPI), which is partially funded by labor unions. The ratio of CEO pay to that of average workers rose from 29.9-1 in 1978 to 295.9-1 last year, the study said. EPI tied the shifts in CEO compensation to the fortunes of the stock market. Policy ideas proposed in the report include raising taxes on the wealthiest and removing tax incentives that promote stock options.

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