Sat, Jul 26, 2014 - Page 15 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

MACROECONOMICS

Japan inflation rate dips

Japan reported its inflation rate eased slightly last month as a sales tax high stunted demand. The government reported yesterday that the core consumer price index, which does not include prices for fresh foods, rose 3.3 percent last month, down from the 3.4 percent seen in May. However, factoring out surging energy prices, such as a 10.6 percent rise in the cost of gas, the increase was 2.3 percent. Excluding the direct effect of the April 1 increase in the sales tax to 8 percent from 5 percent, the inflation rate was 1.3 percent, the Bank of Japan says. It has set a 2 percent inflation target, aiming to break Japan out of years of deflation, but forecasts that the rate will remain just above 1 percent for the foreseeable future.

MACROECONOMICS

German confidence rises

Consumer confidence in Germany is edging fractionally higher, driven by rising income expectations, a GfK poll said yesterday. Of particular note was an increase in income expectations to the highest level since unification in 1990, GfK continued. At the same time, Germany’s victory in the FIFA World Cup seems to have had no tangible effect on sentiment, as was expected, it added. Looking ahead to next month, GfK’s headline household confidence index was forecast to rise to 9 points in August from the 8.9 points this month.

INVESTMENT

India opens debt market

India is opening its short-term debt market to foreign investors, but liberalization is to be “in a measured way” to avoid causing volatility, central bank Governor Raghuram Rajan said on Thursday. Addressing a meeting in Colombo on the sidelines of a South Asian central bank governors’ meeting, Rajan said India needed to build more liquidity before liberalization. He said long-term foreign investors wanted a gradual process of opening up of India’s debt market but in a way that did not cause “sharp movements when short-term volatile investors leave.”

INTERNET

Baidu profits rise 34%

Baidu Inc (百度), which operates China’s most popular search engine, says its quarterly profit rose 34 percent from a year earlier as its mobile business grew. Baidu said yesterday it earned 3.5 billion yuan (US$571.1 million) in the three months ended June 30. Revenue rose 58.5 percent to 11.9 billion yuan. Baidu and other Internet companies are building mobile e-commerce and other services as Chinese users shift rapidly to accessing the Internet using smartphones and tablets. The contribution of mobile to Baidu’s total revenue rose above 30 percent for the first time, chairman Robin Li (李彥宏) said in a statement.

RETAIL

Food boosts Starbucks sales

Starbucks Coffee Co said on Thursday its revamped breakfast sandwiches and other food offerings helped boost sales at its US branches. The Seattle-based coffee chain posted a higher quarterly profit, as sales rose in regions around the world. In its flagship US market, sales at established cafes increased 7 percent. Earlier in the day, Dunkin’ Donuts had reported a disappointing increase of just 1.8 percent, with executives citing intensifying competition in the breakfast category. In a conference call with analysts, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said food had become a strength and drives traffic to cafes, and that the company was just getting started in its efforts to improve its lineup.

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