Sat, Nov 22, 2014 - Page 15 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

ECONOMY

ECB focuses on inflation

European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi said the bank must drive inflation higher quickly, and will broaden its asset-purchase program if needed to achieve that. “We will do what we must to raise inflation and inflation expectations as fast as possible, as our price stability mandate requires,” he said yesterday at a conference in Frankfurt, Germany. Shorter-term inflation expectations “have been declining to levels that I would deem excessively low,” he said.

TRANSPORTATION

Singapore curbing taxi apps

Singapore yesterday announced new rules for mobile taxi booking apps, including US-based Uber, in the latest move by governments around the world to regulate the increasingly popular services. The Land Transport Authority said the apps will have to apply for a three-yearly “certificate of registration” starting from the second quarter of next year. The apps will be barred from requiring passengers to disclose their destinations when they make bookings due to concerns some taxi drivers may try to avoid certain routes, it said.

INVESTMENT

Blackstone buys Japan unit

US private equity firm Blackstone on Thursday said that it would buy the residential real-estate arm of General Electric Co’s property unit in Japan for more than ¥190 billion (US$1.6 billion), as the country’s land prices slowly recover from an asset bubble burst. The deal will see Blackstone Real Estate Partners Asia acquire the business that owns and operates more than 10,000 units in 200 properties, primarily in Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya and Fukuoka, the firm said in a statement.

OIL

Caracas ready for cuts

Venezuela is ready to cut its own oil production as a way to boost falling prices if OPEC agrees to curb output, Minister of Foreign Affairs Rafael Ramirez said on Thursday. Ramirez, who served as oil minister for 12 years until September and as longtime president of the state oil firm PDVSA, said the fair price for a barrel of oil is US$100. He said his country would make the proposal for cuts when OPEC holds talks in Vienna on November 27 for a key production meeting.

BANKING

SEC wraps up bank case

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) resolved an impasse over punishing Bank of America Corp in a mortgage-bond case, clearing the way for the lender to complete a US$16.7 billion global settlement, people familiar with the matter said. In a private meeting earlier this week, SEC commissioners voted to waive most of a set of additional sanctions that could have seriously curtailed the bank’s asset management business and ability to raise money for private companies, according to the people, who asked not to be named because the decision is not yet public. Some of the relief is conditioned on the bank’s good behavior and comes with an outside monitor, the people said.

APPAREL

Gap cuts profit forecast

Gap Inc, the biggest US apparel-focused retailer, cut its annual profit forecast as sales at its namesake brand continue to fall. Earnings per share in the year through January will be US$2.73 to US$2.78, the San Francisco-based company said in a statement on Thursday. That’s down from the company’s earlier guidance of US$2.95 to US$3.

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