Fri, Mar 27, 2015 - Page 15 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

GREECE

Leaders optimistic on deal

The government is optimistic about reaching a deal on economic reforms with its eurozone peers early next week, unblocking urgently needed funding, its economy minister said yesterday. After talks with EU leaders including German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the past week, Athens said it would present a package of reforms to its eurozone partners by Monday in the hope of unlocking aid and avoiding bankruptcy. “I believe that at the beginning of next week, we will have an agreement on the package of reforms the Greek government is proposing, and on the funding of the country,” Minister of the Economy, Infrastructure, Shipping and Tourism Giorgos Stathakis told Antenna TV. He did not specify when the list would be sent.

GERMANY

Consumer confidence soars

Consumer confidence is at its highest since late 2001, as the weaker euro and falling energy prices fuel optimism regarding the outlook for Europe’s biggest economy, a poll found yesterday. “The tug of war in Europe over the future of Greece has left no impression whatsoever on German consumers,” market research company GfK said in a statement. Looking ahead to next month, GfK’s headline household confidence index was forecast to rise to 10.0 points next month from 9.7 points this month. “That is the highest level since October 2001,” the statement said.

FRANCE

Unemployment edges higher

Unemployment registered a slight rise last month, official statistics showed on Wednesday, with the total number of jobseekers rising to 3.49 million people last month, from 3.48 million the previous month. That represented an increase of 12,000, compared with the 19,100 who exited the dole the previous month. Taking into part-time workers and overseas populations, unemployment affected 5.6 million people at the end of last month, statistics showed.

CANADA

Deflation possible: official

The damage to the economy from a drop in global crude oil prices means there is a chance the inflation rate will turn negative, a central bank official said. “Inflation will drop to a very low level, it may even go negative for a brief period, but that’s only a one-off effect,” Deputy Governor Timothy Lane said on Wednesday in response to a question after his speech in Kelowna, British Columbia. The consumer price index advanced 1 percent last month from a year ago, Statistics Canada said on March 20. The central bank sets interest rates to keep inflation in the middle of a 1 percent to 3 percent target band.

PETROLEUM

Schlumberger fined US$232m

The world’s largest oil services company, Schlumberger Ltd, has agreed to a penalty of more than US$232 million and one of its subsidiaries will plead guilty to trade sanctions violations, the US Department of Justice announced on Wednesday. The criminal case against Schlumberger Oilfield Holdings Ltd resolves a years-long investigation into allegations that the wholly owned subsidiary had illegally conducted business from Texas with Sudan and Iran in violation of US economic sanctions. The subsidiary will plead guilty in federal court in Washington to conspiring to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.

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