Thu, Jun 11, 2015 - Page 15 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

ECONOMY

Qatar forecasts deficit

Qatar could run its first budget deficit in 15 years next year, the Qatari Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics said yesterday in a statement. The ministry said that the Gulf state’s economy will grow by 7.3 percent next year, down from its previous estimate of 7.7 percent, but still above growth last year of just over 6 percent. Qatar expects to run a fiscal deficit of 4.9 percent of GDP next year and 3.7 percent the following year, the ministry said.

ECONOMY

Turkey sees GDP growth

Turkey’s economy grew faster than expected during the first quarter of the year as domestic demand gained speed. GDP expanded 2.3 percent in the January-to-March period, compared with 2.6 percent during the previous quarter, the statistics agency said yesterday. Seasonally-adjusted output was 1.3 percent from the previous quarter. Household demand, which makes up roughly two-thirds of GDP, grew 4.5 percent during the first quarter compared with 2.4 percent during the preceding three-month period.

SOFTWARE

Facebook hails Messenger

Facebook on Tuesday celebrated that an Android version of its Messenger app has been downloaded more than a billion times from the Google Play store. “Happy to make it to the very exclusive Android 1 billion+ downloads club,” Messenger team head David Marcus said in an online post. A chat forum on Messenger’s page at Google Play was rich with accolades, but peppered with comment that the high download count was driven by Facebook spinning the widely used service out of the social network, compelling people to get the app.

PHARMACEUTICALS

Bayer selling diabetes unit

German pharmaceuticals and chemicals giant Bayer AG yesterday said that it has agreed to sell its diabetes care business to Panasonic Healthcare Holdings Co for 1.022 billion euros (US$1.2 billion). Panasonic Healthcare Holdings is 80 percent owned by US investor KKR, with Panasonic Corp holding 20 percent. “Closing of the transaction is subject to customary conditions, including relevant antitrust clearance, and is expected to occur in the first quarter of 2016,” Bayer said in a statement.

ECONOMY

Airlines urge end to APD

Abolishing its tax on air travel could boost Britain’s economy by 1.7 percent by 2020, British Airways and easyJet said yesterday, calling on the government to go beyond recent concessions on the duty. A study by PwC, commissioned by the airlines, found scrapping air passenger duty (APD) would lift GDP by about 0.5 percent in the first year and by 1.7 percent by 2020, with tax receipts from other sources more than offsetting the revenues lost from APD.

BRAZIL

Infrastructure plan unveiled

Brazil on Tuesday announced a US$64 billion infrastructure spending package, hoping to revive its flagging economy with investment in highways, railroads, ports and airports. The government said more than one-third of the new spending, 69.2 billion reals (US$22.3 billion), would come by the end of 2018, with the remaining 129.2 billion reals laid out starting in 2019. The government forecasts a contraction of 1.2 percent in GDP growth this year.

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