Citigroup plans wage hike
Citigroup Inc has told senior staff in Europe that they would receive fixed monthly pay in addition to their salaries in an attempt to compensate for rules that limit bonuses to up to twice the level of base salaries, the Financial Times reported on Sunday, citing several people with knowledge of the matter. More than 600 Citigroup bankers in Europe were affected by the bonus cap and are therefore to be paid such allowances, several people told the newspaper. They said the US bank had sent out letters to senior staff in recent weeks. The report said that about half of the bankers had received similar allowances in the past after Citigroup introduced them a few years ago to mitigate the impact of regulatory demands on higher bonus deferrals for key staff. In June, Dutch state-owned bank ABN AMRO increased the salaries of 100 top managers by 20 percent to compensate for new regulations capping bonuses in the Netherlands.
Macau sees revenue drop
Casino revenue in Macau was worse than analysts expected last month, falling for a third consecutive month as China’s anti-graft campaign curbed gambling. Casino shares dropped in Hong Kong trading yesterday. Total gross gaming revenue in the world’s biggest gambling hub dropped 6.1 percent to 28.9 billion Macau patacas (US$3.6 billion) last month, Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau said yesterday. That compares with the median estimate of a 2 percent decline from seven analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News. Chinese President Xi Jinping’s (習近平) probes into corruption and lavish spending have coincided with crackdowns by Macau’s casinos on methods some gamblers use to transfer money from China.
Auto sales at three-year low
Auto sales tumbled to a three-year low last month, the latest sign that consumer spending is slumping in the world’s third-largest economy following a sales-tax increase. Vehicle deliveries fell 9.1 percent from that recorded a year earlier to 333,471 units, the lowest since August 2011, according to industry figures released yesterday. Sales rose for seven straight months before the April 1 tax increase. The drop comes amid economic data showing weakness in the economy. Household spending in July fell 5.9 percent from a year earlier, more than double the expected 2.9 percent decrease. Further declines would run against Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s efforts to revive the economy.
Eurozone output disappoints
Eurozone manufacturing growth slowed slightly more than initially thought last month as new orders dwindled and factories suffered amid rising tensions in Ukraine, a business survey showed yesterday. Factories barely increased prices last month, and manufacturing activity in France fell at its fastest pace in 15 months, in disappointing news for the European Central Bank before Thursday’s monetary policy-setting meeting. Markit’s final Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for last month came in at 50.7, the lowest in over a year and below both July’s 51.8 and an earlier flash estimate of 50.8. Still, last month did mark the 14th month the index has been above 50, the figure that separates growth from contraction. An index measuring output, which feeds into a composite PMI due tomorrow that is seen as a good guide to growth, sank to a 14-month low of 51 from July’s 52.7, but was just ahead of the flash 50.9.