Sun, Jan 18, 2015 - Page 15 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

US TREASURIES

China bond holdings drop

China’s holdings of US government debt declined in November last year for a third straight month, reaching the lowest level since January 2013, as Japan’s jumped to a record. China, the largest foreign holder of US Treasuries, had US$1.25 trillion as of November last, US$2.3 billion less than a month earlier, according to US Department of the Treasury data released on Friday in Washington. Japan, the second-biggest, moved to within US$8.9 billion of China’s lead, increasing its ownership by US$19.1 billion to US$1.24 trillion.

RUSSIA

Moody’s cuts bonds rating

Moody’s Investors Service has cut its rating on Russian government bonds one step closer to “junk” status, as the country’s economy worsens under the twin pressures of Western sanctions and declining oil prices. The ruble has lost about half its value against the US dollar since early last year. Moody’s on Friday lowered the rating one notch to “Baa3,” the lowest investment-grade level. The firm says it’s reviewing whether to lower the rating further.

GREECE

Fitch lowers credit outlook

Rating firm Fitch on Friday lowered Greece’s credit outlook to negative from stable, citing rising political uncertainty, but kept the country’s credit rating unchanged at “B,” indicating highly speculative. “The current period of political uncertainty has increased the risks to Greece’s creditworthiness as official financing, and any potential reopening of market access, could be delayed for some months. Early elections to be held on Jan. 25 have made the direction of Greek policymaking more uncertain,” Fitch said in a statement.

PHARMACEUTICALS

Novartis to close plant

Novartis AG is closing its manufacturing plant in Puerto Rico as part of a major overhaul of its business. The Switzerland-based company said in a statement on Friday that the shutdown of its Humacao plant will conclude in early 2019. About 270 employees will be laid off. Novartis says it will transfer some manufacturing and packaging operations to companies including Eli Lilly & Co. Some operations will be transferred to Novartis’ manufacturing plant in Lincoln, Nebraska.

AVIATION

Singapore Air cuts off pilots

Singapore Airlines Ltd said on Friday it will no longer rehire captains beyond the normal retirement age of 62, in fresh cost-cutting measures as competition from rivals hits profits. Previously, pilots with the rank of captain were allowed to fly beyond 62 under a re-employment contract renewable each year until the age of 64. First officers have not been offered re-employment beyond age 62 since January 2013.

TELECOMS

Arroyo set to lead Iusacell

AT&T said on Friday it had appointed company veteran F. Thaddeus Arroyo as the chief executive of Iusacell, Mexico’s No. 3 wireless carrier, which it recently bought. Arroyo, who the company said has been with AT&T for 19 years, was previously president of the technology department and before that served as chief information officer. AT&T agreed to buy Mexico’s Iusacell for US$1.7 billion in November last year.

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