Tue, Dec 30, 2014 - Page 15 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

RUSSIA

GDP shrinks 0.5 percent

The economy saw its first decline since October 2009 last month as manufacturing and investment shrank amid the ruble’s worst rout in a decade. GDP shrank 0.5 percent last month from a year earlier after a 0.5 percent increase in October, the Ministry of Economics said on its Web site. Seasonally adjusted GDP fell 0.2 percent in the month after a 0.1 percent advance in October. The world’s biggest energy exporter is facing its first recession since 2009 next year as oil, trading near a five-year low and sanctions imposed over Ukraine pushed Russia into its biggest currency crisis since 1998. With oil prices at US$60 a barrel, the economy might contract about 4 percent next year, Minister of Finance Anton Siluanov said.

SMARTPHONES

Xiaomi raises US$1.1bn

Xiaomi Corp (小米) raised US$1.1 billion in a new funding round that values China’s largest smartphone vendor at US$45 billion, or about triple its closest competitor, Lenovo Group Ltd (聯想). Investors include Yuri Milner’s DST, GIC Pte and All-Stars Investment Ltd, according to a statement posted yesterday on Xiaomi chief executive Lei Jun’s (雷軍) verified microblog. Lei is expanding overseas and unveiling new products, including an air purifier, to build on growth in China, where Xiaomi leads Samsung Electronics Co and Apple Inc in smartphone sales. Lei plans to sell 100 million phones next year after expanding into India, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines.

ENERGY

Chinese firms merge

China’s government said it merged Beijing Energy Investment Holding Co (北京能源投資) and Jingmei Group (京煤集團) into a 200 billion yuan (US$32 billion) business in line with its policy to improve efficiency in the energy industry and reduce pollution. The merger of Beijing Energy and Jingmei, a coal supplier based in the capital, will improve electricity supply, Lin Fusheng (林撫生), head of Beijing’s Assets Supervision and Administration Commission, said in a report by Xinhua news agency yesterday. The merger took place on Sunday, Beijing Energy — which invests in electricity projects — said on its Web site. The new company, Beijing Energy Group Co, is to manage coal-fired power plants, renewable energy projects, heating supply and coal mine development, Xinhua reported. Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平), in a pact with US President Barack Obama, agreed to cap China’s carbon emissions by 2030 and use renewable sources for 20 percent of the nation’s energy.

ECONOMY

Germans eye oil benefit

Germany expects low oil prices to boost growth in Europe’s biggest economy by between 0.2 and 0.3 percent next year, Der Spiegel magazine reported on Sunday, citing an internal memo for Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. Oil prices have fallen by about 45 percent since June. The ministry expects oil prices to remain low in the long term and increase to about US$80 a barrel only by 2018, Der Spiegel reported. The memo also said that Germany would pay about 12 billion euros (US$14.62 billion) less to oil-producing nations than it did this year, a 25 percent reduction, Der Spiegel said. The ministry declined immediate comment. Germany expects the economy to expand by 1.3 percent next year after predicted growth of 1.2 percent this year. OPEC expects oil prices to rebound to between US$70 and US$80 a barrel by the end of next year, they said last week.

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