Wed, Jun 03, 2015 - Page 15 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

ECONOMY

S Korea inflation disappoints

South Korea’s inflation remained way below the central bank’s target range last month, as low crude oil prices depressed consumer price gains, government data showed yesterday. Inflation stood at 0.5 percent from a year earlier, Statistics Korea said. The rate was marginally higher than the 0.4 percent recorded in April, which was the lowest level since 1999. The South Korean Ministry of Finance said consumer prices should pick up in the second half of this year due to a gradual increase in international oil prices.

EMPLOYMENT

German jobless rate dips

German unemployment fell last month to the lowest level in 24 years as the recovery in Europe’s biggest economy continued, data showed yesterday. The number of people registered as unemployed fell by a seasonally adjusted 6,000 to 2.79 million, the lowest level since December 1991, the German Federal Labor Office said. That was slightly fewer than expected, as analysts had forecast a decline of about 10,000.

TRADE

Brazil’s surplus climbs

A steep decline in imports saw Brazil post a better-than-expected trade surplus of US$2.761 billion last month, trimming its deficit for the year to date to US$2.305 billion, the government said on Monday. In April, Brazil posted a US$491 million trade surplus. Brazilian Ministry of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade figures showed imports dropping 26.5 percent from a year ago, while exports slid 15.2 percent. For the first five months of the year, exports fell 16.2 percent, while imports declined 18.1 percent over the same period.

ECONOMY

US consumer spending flat

US consumer spending was unexpectedly flat in April as households cut back on purchases of automobiles and continued to boost savings, suggesting the economy was struggling to gain momentum early in the second quarter. A US Department of Commerce report on Monday also showed no inflation pressures, with a price index for consumer spending recording its smallest gain since late 2009 on an annual basis. The weak data suggest the US Federal Reserve is unlikely to raise interest rates before the end of the year.

ECONOMY

Russia outlook improving

The World Bank on Monday said it saw some improvement in Russia’s battered economy, predicting it would shrink by 2.7 percent this year and return to growth of 0.7 percent next year. The IMF has also improved its outlook for Russia, projecting a 3.4 percent contraction this year and growth of 0.2 percent next year. Official statistics showed that Russia’s GDP shrank 1.9 percent year-on-year in the first quarter of the year.

MANUFACTURING

PMI in Spain, Italy rises

Manufacturing in Spain and Italy last month grew more than economists forecast as a weaker euro helped boost export competitiveness. Markit Economics said its purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for Italy rose to 54.8 from 53.8 in April, the highest since 2011, while the Spanish measure jumped to 55.8 from 54.2. Markit’s factory PMI for the entire 19-nation eurozone rose to 52.2 last month from 52 in April. In Germany, the index fell more than initially reported, dropping to 51.1 from 52.1. France’s remained below 50.

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