Thu, Apr 09, 2015 - Page 15 News List

World Business Quick Take



Japanese surplus up 140%

Japan’s current account surplus more than doubled year-on-year in February, with lower oil prices helping narrow trade deficits and a weaker yen boosting repatriated returns on foreign investment, official data showed yesterday. Japan logged a surplus of ¥1.44 trillion (US$12 billion), up 140.5 percent from a year earlier, the Japanese Ministry of Finance said. Meanwhile, the Bank of Japan held off further easing measures after a two-day meeting. The bank stayed pat on its record stimulus program, which is adding about ¥80 trillion to the money supply every year.


ECB stimulus hits goal

The European Central Bank’s (ECB) 1.1 trillion euro (US$1.2 trillion) stimulus program is off to a running start. The bank on Tuesday said it has met its monthly goal of purchasing 60 billion euros in government and private-sector bonds, the first stage of an effort that is to last into next year. The ECB said it had bought 52.52 billion euros in government bonds since launching the effort on March 9. The 60 billion euro goal was reached by additional purchases of private-sector bonds.


German slump deepens

German industrial orders fell again in February, the nation’s Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy said yesterday. Provisional official data showed a 0.9-percent month-on-month decline, following a sharp 2.6 percent drop in January, according to revised figures. For the three-month period covering December, January and February, which economists say provides a more accurate picture, factory orders rose 0.5 percent compared to the previous three months.


ANZ wins fees appeal

Australia’s ANZ Banking Group Ltd has won an appeal against a court decision that late payment fees charged on credit cards were exorbitant and unlawful. The Australian Federal Court yesterday unanimously overturned a decision by Justice Michelle Gordon in February last year that ANZ had been illegally imposing penalties for late payments on credit cards. A lawyer representing customers in the class-action lawsuit, Andrew Watson, said yesterday’s decision will be appealed in the High Court.


Manulife, DBS deal rumored

Canada’s Manulife Financial Corp is nearing a deal worth more than US$1 billion to sell insurance through the Asian network of Singaporean lender DBS Group Holdings Ltd, the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday, citing an unidentified person. The multiyear agreement, expected to be signed last night, would see Manulife make payments to DBS over the life of the contract, the newspaper reported.


Microsoft eyes autistic hires

Microsoft Corp has launched a pilot program to hire autistic workers at its headquarters in Washington state. “Each individual is different, some have amazing ability to retain information, think at a level of detail and depth or excel in math or code. It’s a talent pool that we want to continue to bring to Microsoft,” Mary Ellen Smith, a corporate vice president wrote in a company blog last week. Smith, who has a son with autism who is now 19, said the program builds on long-standing efforts at Microsoft to enlist people with disabilities.

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