Fri, Aug 14, 2015 - Page 15 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

ECONOMY

Seoul keeps rate unchanged

The Bank of Korea held its key interest rate unchanged at a record low as it gauges the health of the economy and the impact of China’s currency devaluation. Authorities in Seoul are closely monitoring volatility in financial markets following the drop in the yuan, which the central bank yesterday said adds to uncertainties for South Korea. The central bank’s decision to hold the seven-day repurchase rate at 1.5 percent yesterday was unanimous and matched the forecast of all 16 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. It follows four cuts in the past year that total a full percentage point.

ECONOMY

German inflation slows

Inflation in Germany slowed fractionally last month with consumer prices rising by just 0.2 percent year-on-year, final data showed. In June, the index had risen by 0.3 percent on a 12-month basis, the federal statistics office Destatis said in a statement. The slowdown was caused by a decline in energy prices, the data showed. Using the Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices — the yardstick used by the European Central Bank (ECB) — inflation in Germany rose by just 0.1 percent year-on-year last month, the same rate of change as in June and a long way below the ECB’s annual inflation target of just below two percent.

ECONOMY

Mexico trims growth outlook Mexico’s central bank has lowered its forecast for this year’s economic growth. The Bank of Mexico is now predicting GDP is to expand between 1.7 percent and 2.5 percent. That is down from earlier forecasts of 2 percent to 3 percent. Bank Governor Agustin Carstens on Wednesday said that conditions point to “a low index of growth in economic activity.” On the positive side, he said inflation is seen as below 3 percent. The Mexican peso has fallen against the US dollar for nearly a year, prompting the central bank to auction off reserves to slow the currency’s slide.

INTERNET

Twitter lifts message limit

Twitter Inc lifted its character limit on Wednesday for direct messages between users, saying it would help make the private side of Twitter “more powerful and fun.” As a result, private messages no longer have the 140-character limit which applies to tweets. For now, the changes apply to Twitter users with Android and Apple mobile devices, online at twitter.com or on the TweetDeck application, although product manager Sachin Agarwal said the change “will continue to roll out worldwide over the next few weeks.” Limits still apply to those sending messages over SMS.

OIL AND SHIPPING

Maersk satisfied with Q2

Denmark’s shipping and oil group A.P. Moller-Maersk has reaffirmed its full-year outlook after delivering what it called “a satisfactory result” in the second quarter despite lower average container rates and a lower oil price. Overall profit dropped to US$1.09 billion in the three-month period that ended on June 30, from US$2.3 billion. Revenue fell to US$10.5 billion, down from US$12 billion in the same period last year. The Copenhagen-based group said yesterday it expects an underlying result for this year of around US$4.0 billion and reiterated that its strategy was “to become a premium conglomerate.” Earlier this year, Maersk ordered nearly 30 container ships as part of its US$15 billion investment program to meet growing demand for shipping and to replace less efficient vessels.

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