Wed, Aug 19, 2015 - Page 15 News List

World Business Quick Take



Trade surplus surges

Indonesia posted a trade surplus of US$1.33 billion last month, its largest in more than a year and a half, as exports and imports plunged. Outbound shipments fell 19.23 percent year-on-year to US$11.41 billion, while inbound shipments plunged 28.44 percent to US$10.08 billion. The surplus was the biggest since December 2013 and more than double the US$601 million forecast from analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News. The steep fall in exports and imports comes as economic activity continues to slow in Southeast Asia’s largest economy. Economic growth fell to a six-year low of 4.7 percent in the second quarter.


Brookfield buys Asciano

Canada’s Brookfield Infrastructure Partners yesterday said it hoped to use its US$6.6 billion purchase for Australian ports and rail operator Asciano to expand further in the region. The cash and stock transaction is the Canadian asset manager’s largest takeover, adding Asciano’s Australian container terminals to Brookfield’s hubs in North America and Europe. Asciano’s rail operations also pair well with Brookfield’s Australian and Brazilian logistics businesses, Brookfield chief executive Sam Pollock said.


Sudanese pound plunges

The Sudanese pound has hit a new low against the US dollar on the black market because of a shortage of foreign currency, traders said on Monday. They said the US dollar was selling at 10 Sudanese pounds for the first time, down from 9.5 last week. Sudan’s economy suffered when South Sudan gained independence in 2011, with the country losing nearly three quarters of its oil resources.


Airport runs on solar power

An airport in the south of India is the world’s first to run completely on solar energy following commissioning of a 12-megawatt project overseen by Bosch Ltd. The undertaking, at Cochin International Airport, is estimated to generate more than 50,000 units of electricity daily and will make the airport grid-power neutral, Bosch said in a news release yesterday. India currently has 4 gigawatts of solar capacity and aims to reach 100 gigawatts by 2022.


Wood Group axes jobs

Britain energy services company Wood Group yesterday said it had cut its headcount by 13 percent since the end of last year amid an oil-price collapse. The action, equivalent to an employee reduction of about 5,000, mirrors plans by several oil services groups and explorers as crude prices have tumbled by more than half in value over the past year. Wood Group, heavily present in the North Sea and the Americas, added that its net profit fell 17 percent to US$116.8 million in the six months to the end of June compared with the first half of last year.


Koreas agree on pay hike

South Korea yesterday said it had reached agreement with North Korea on a minimum wage hike for North Korean workers at their Kaesong joint economic zone, ending a six-month dispute. The 5 percent hike will increase the minimum workers’ wage from US$70.35 a month to US$73.87, a spokesman for Seoul’s Unification Ministry said. The industrial estate, which lies just 10km over the border in the North, hosts about 120 South Korean firms employing about 53,000 North Korean workers.

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