Wed, May 20, 2015 - Page 15 News List

World Business Quick Take



EU car sales continue to rise

European car sales rose a 20th consecutive month last month, bolstered by a reviving economy and new models from Renault SA, BMW AG and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV. Registrations increased 6.9 percent from a year earlier to 1.21 million vehicles, the Brussels-based European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association, or ACEA, said in a statement yesterday. Four-month sales jumped 8.1 percent to 4.85 million cars. The gains extend the auto market’s longest growth streak since the ACEA began compiling figures in 1990 and maintain a recovery from a two-decade low reached in 2013. The ACEA gathers figures from 27 of the 28 EU countries, as well as Switzerland, Norway and Iceland.


S Korea to double range

South Korea is to double the daily trading range of shares starting next month as the country seeks to boost the appeal of its US$1.3 trillion equities market. Commencing on June 15, stocks on the KOSPI and KOSDAQ indexes would be able to move 30 percent compared with the current level of 15 percent, the Korea Exchange said in an e-mailed statement. The South Korean Financial Services Commission first announced the plan in September last year, after the 200-day average trading volume of the benchmark stock gauge fell in July last year to its lowest level since 2007.


Jack Ma bemoans lawsuit

The founder of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (阿里巴巴) has defended the e-commerce giant’s stance against counterfeit goods and expressed regret over a lawsuit filed by the owner of luxury brands Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent. Jack Ma (馬雲) yesterday said his company cooperates with brand owners to fight counterfeiting and has a large staff of employees dedicated to that. A lawsuit filed by France’s Kering SA last week in a US court accuses Alibaba of cooperating with and profiting from sales of counterfeit goods. Speaking at a news conference in Seoul, Ma said: “We express regret about the company’s choice to sue us and not to cooperate with us to fight against counterfeit goods.” Ma complained the lawsuit was “creating internal conflict” rather than cooperation to fight a “common enemy.”


MasterCard complaint likely

MasterCard Inc is poised to receive an antitrust complaint from EU watchdogs probing card-payment fees, according to three people with knowledge of the case. Regulators might send a statement of objections to MasterCard before the end of July, the people said. Such filings in antitrust probes are usually a precursor for fines. EU antitrust regulators have targeted swipe fees on credit and debit cards for more than a decade, warning that the way the charges are collectively agreed on is anti-competitive.


Electricity slowing growth

Power outages are the biggest brake on South Africa’s economic growth, Minister of Finance Nhlanhla Nene said on Monday, as factories, homes and offices across the country continue to suffer from long electricity cuts. South Africa is forecast to grow at 2 percent this year, far below the rate needed to ease high unemployment and growing frustration among many young blacks more than two decades after the end of apartheid. Nene also said the country’s electricity shortages were due to “inadequate maintenance of the power plants and distribution networks resulting in deteriorating and unreliable performance.”

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