Fri, Jan 23, 2015 - Page 15 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

CURRENCY

Switzerland, China ink pact

The Swiss National Bank on Wednesday said it had signed a pact with the People’s Bank of China to set up clearing arrangements for yuan trading in a move hailed by the Swiss banking lobby. The Chinese central bank also agreed to a pilot scheme for foreign investors in Switzerland with a quota of 50 billion yuan (US$8 billion), the Swiss National Bank said in a statement.

WATCHES

Swatch to increase prices

Switzerland’s Swatch group on Wednesday said it would raise the price of its luxury watches by up to 10 percent in Europe after a shock move by the Swiss National Bank last week to lift an enforced franc-euro maximum cap of 1.20 to the European common currency that has seen the Swiss franc soar by as much as 30 percent. “We will adjust prices in Europe for some brands between 5 to 7 percent, to 10 percent,” Swatch chief executive officer Nick Hayek told Bloomberg news agency.

VENEZUELA

GDP to contract 7%: IMF

The IMF said that Venezuela’s troubled economy could shrink by 7 percent this year, possibly making it the worst performer in Latin America. The figure is a dramatic downgrade from October last year, when the IMF said Venezuela’s economy would shrink by 1 percent. In a post published on Wednesday, the IMF said Venezuela would be clobbered by falling oil prices, which have declined by half in the past six months. Oil accounts for more than 95 percent of the South American country’s export earnings.

AIRLINES

Virgin cuts fuel surcharges

Virgin Australia yesterday said it would cut fuel surcharges on flights to the US and reduce air fares in response to plunging oil prices and after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said last week it had launched an investigation into whether airlines are making misleading, deceptive or false representations about fuel charges. Virgin Australia said fuel surcharges would be bundled into base fares. At the same time, ticket prices will be lowered by up to A$50 (US$40.50) on the four daily flights between Sydney and Brisbane and Los Angeles, the carrier said.

AUTOMAKERS

Hyundai expects weak sales

Hyundai Motor Co suffered a decline in quarterly earnings and is forecasting weak sales growth this year. South Korea’s largest automaker yesterday said that its net income for September to December dropped 22 percent from a year earlier to 1.66 trillion won (US$1.53 billion). Sales rose 8 percent to 23.6 trillion won. Hyundai blamed foreign exchange rates and forecast that annual sales would grow just 1.8 percent, the weakest growth rate in recent years.

ENTERTAINMENT

Wanda up 44% on debut

Shares in Wanda Cinema Line Corp (萬達院線) yesterday surged 44 percent on their trading debut. The company raised 1.28 billion yuan (US$210 million) by issuing 60 million new shares, or 10.71 percent of its enlarged share capital, exchange filings showed, as investors bet on strong growth in film viewers. On its first day of trading on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, Wanda Cinema shares rose by the maximum allowed for new listings to close at 30.74 yuan, valuing the company as a whole at more than 17 billion yuan.

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