Mon, Nov 17, 2014 - Page 15 News List

World Business Quick Take



Kuwaiti revenues drop 4.4%

Kuwait’s revenues dropped 4.4 percent in the first half of the fiscal year due to sliding oil prices, but the emirate still reported a healthy provisional surplus. Official figures posted yesterday on the Ministry of Finance’s Web site put April-September public income at 15.1 billion Kuwaiti dinars (US$52.1 billion) compared with 15.8 billion dinars in the same period a year ago. Oil income, which accounts for 94 percent of revenues, dropped 5.3 percent to 14.2 billion dinars in the first half from 15 billion dinars previously, the new figures show. Despite the fall, the emirate still managed to post a provisional budget surplus of 9 billion dinars. Spending was 6.1 billion dinars, up 19.6 percent on last year’s 5.1 billion dinars. The sharp dive in global oil prices did not reflect fully in the government’s figures because most of the slump took place last month and deepened this month.


UBS may recall bonuses

UBS, one of six banks fined last week for attempting to manipulate foreign exchange markets, on Saturday said it was considering taking back bonuses from traders over the scandal. The bank confirmed a report in Financial Times stating that it was one of five fined banks looking into clawing back millions of dollars in bonuses from individual traders. A spokeswoman said the bank would especially aim to cancel the payment of deferred bonuses in cases where wrongdoing was found. Another of the fined banks, Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS), hinted it could take similar action. “We are still working our way through disciplinary and accountability processes involving over 50 employees and their managers,” RBS boss Ross McEwan said in a statement on Friday.


Privatization plan outlined

The government will start a privatization plan by selling stakes in regional airports and companies in which it holds double voting rights, Minister of the Economy, Industry and Employment Emmanuel Macron was quoted as saying in an interview published on Saturday in Le Monde. The government will not start by selling shares in nuclear operator Electricite de France SA or lottery company Francaise des Jeux, according to the interview. The state has “room to maneuver” on the planned stake sales which could be used to lower debt and invest in priority areas. Macron last month said the Treasury will sell between 5 billion and 10 billion euros (US$6.26 billion to US$12.5) of state assets within 18 months as a way to raise funds to cut debt and invest in sectors to develop the economy. Paris has stakes in 74 firms, of which 13 are listed entities whose state holdings were worth 76.4 billion euros as of Friday, according to the Agence des Participations de l’Etat, which manages the portfolio.


Moody’s upgrade praised

The government has hailed rating agency Moody’s three-notch upgrade of the bailed-out nation’s credit grade as validation of its adherence to the terms of its rescue. Moody’s said the upgrade to “B3” from “Caa3” with a stable outlook reflects the progress so far in shoring up the island’s finances and buttressing a hobbled banking sector. Deputy government spokesman Victoras Papadopoulos on Saturday said the nation remains “firm and steady” to the terms of its 10 billion euro bailout because it is not out of the woods. Even with the upgrade, the rating is still “junk,” or non-investment grade. Moody’s said the nation still faces a weak economic outlook and a growing number of bad loans.

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