Fri, Feb 20, 2015 - Page 6 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

MACROECONOMICS

France reports deflation

Inflation in France, the eurozone’s second-biggest economy, was negative last month for the first time in more than five years, the national statistics agency said on yesterday. Prices declined by 0.4 percent in January compared to the same month last year, INSEE said, adding that France has not seen negative inflation since October 2009. The data in France followed similar figures earlier this month that showed prices in European powerhouse Germany also declining by 0.4 percent.

SPAIN

Trade deficit surges 53.4%

Spain’s trade deficit swelled by more than half last year as economic recovery spurred businesses to import and consumers to buy cars and appliances, the government said on Monday. Although exports by Spanish companies reached an annual record, internal consumption caused imports to grow even more strongly, the economy ministry said. The shortfall of exports to imports in the country grew by 53.4 percent to 24.47 billion euros (US$28 billion), figures from the ministry showed.

SOUTH AFRICA

Inflation drops to 4.4%

South Africa’s headline inflation fell to 4.4 percent last month, the lowest rate in nearly four years, official statistics showed on Wednesday. Propelled by low fuel prices, the rate dropped from 5.3 percent in December and was the lowest since April 2011. The central bank had forecast the annual average inflation rate for this year to be between 3 and 6 percent. Economists see the rate easing further this month.

INTERNET

Cuba cuts Internet charges

Cuba has temporarily reduced the hourly charge for using state-run Internet cafes in the country’s first small but substantive public move to increase online access since the declaration of detente with the US, with the cheapest hour now costing roughly 10 percent of the average monthly salary of US$20. Users nonetheless hailed the decision to cut the rate by 50 percent until April 10 in state centers that previously charged US$4.50 an hour. The promotion gives Cubans two hours and 16 minutes for US$5.

AUTOMAKERS

Rolls-Royce to release SUV

Luxury carmaker Rolls-Royce says it will jump into the highly competitive SUV market by offering a completely new all-terrain vehicle. Chief executive officer Torsten Muller-Otvos said on Wednesday the announcement marks a “seminal moment in Rolls-Royce’s 111-year journey.” Rolls-Royce follows BMW, Porsche, Mercedes-Benz and other high-end carmakers into the lucrative SUV market. Rolls-Royce says the new aluminum SUV will have exceptional elegance as well as the toughness needed to cross any terrain. It did not announce a target date for production or the cost of the vehicle.

GAMBLING

Crackdown affects Crown

Australian billionaire James Packer’s Crown Group yesterday said first-half net profit slumped 47.2 percent as revenue from gambling hub Macau fell sharply while the firm was hit by writedowns from a US investment. Profit for the worldwide gambling empire was A$201.8 million (US$157 million) in the six months to Dec. 31, down from A$382.5 million in the previous corresponding period. It was weighed by weakness at Macau subsidiary Melco Crown amid a Chinese government corruption crackdown.

AUTOMAKERS

UK exports to China soar

British car exports to China have increased fivefold since 2009, according to figures released yesterday by a British industry body, driven by a demand for luxury brands such as Rolls-Royce and Jaguar. The number of cars manufactured in Britain and exported to China stood at 137,410 last year, a 14.5 percent increase on the previous year and five times the number shifted in 2009, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said in a statement. British car exports to all destinations have increased by 54 percent since 2009 to 1.2 million vehicles last year.

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