Tue, Nov 11, 2014 - Page 15 News List

World Business Quick Take



Bank of Russia cuts forecast

Russia’s central bank cut its base-case economic forecast for next year to show no growth, assuming sanctions remain in place and oil averages US$95 a barrel. The regulator also pushed back its medium-term inflation target of 4 percent to 2017 from 2016, according to a revised monetary policy plan for 2015-2017 released yesterday. The base-case scenario sees sanctions lasting through the end of 2017. Russia’s decision to increase its key rate this year has helped contain the ruble’s drop against the US dollar, which would have been 10 percent greater if no action had been taken, Russian First Deputy Governor Ksenia Yudaeva said in an e-mailed statement. “Bank of Russia will maintain tight monetary policy only while there are significant risks of rising inflationary expectations amid unfavorable external political and economic trends,” she said.


Airbag maker stock tumbles

Shares in Japanese auto parts firm Takata yesterday plunged nearly 17 percent in Tokyo following calls for a criminal investigation into an airbag defect that has been linked to at least four deaths. The stock sank 16.87 percent to close at ¥1,177 after two US senators on Friday called for a criminal probe, and as the New York Times reported that Takata covered up the fault. The embattled firm — whose shares have lost about 60 percent since the start of the year — on Thursday issued a warning of a bigger-than-expected annual loss, as it faces lawsuits and regulatory probes. Questions continue to mount over airbag defects linked to the deaths in the US and dozens of injuries.


Safra buys the Gherkin

The London skyscraper known as the Gherkin is being bought by the Safra Group, the banking empire controlled by billionaire Joseph Safra. The Safra Group agreed to acquire the 180m office tower designed by architect Norman Foster from Deloitte LLP, the building’s receivers, the companies said in an e-mailed statement yesterday. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. “While only ten years old, this building is already a London icon that is distinguished from others in the market, with excellent value growth potential,” Safra Group said in the statement. Deloitte LLP was hired by the building’s lenders to sell the Gherkin in July to end years of defaults. A fund managed by IVG Immobilien AG, once Germany’s biggest real-estate company, and London-based Evans Randall Ltd bought the building from reinsurer Swiss Re Ltd for £600 million (US$954 million) in 2007.


Malaysia on yuan clearing

Malaysia’s central bank is working with its Chinese counterpart to introduce yuan clearing in the Southeast Asian nation after bilateral trade surged more than 10-fold since the start of the last decade. Bank Negara Malaysia signed a memorandum of understanding with the People’s Bank of China yesterday to coordinate and cooperate on the supervision of the yuan business, it said in an e-mailed statement. It did not say which lender would be appointed as Malaysia’s clearing bank for yuan, nor did it give a start date. Trade between the two nations has increased by 20 percent annually over the past two decades to exceed US$100 billion last year, Bank Negara said, and leaders of the two nations in May set a goal of increasing this to US$160 billion. Yuan deposits in Malaysia have surged more than 10-fold since 2010 to 10.7 billion yuan (US$1.7 billion).

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