Fri, Aug 21, 2015 - Page 14 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

MACROECONOMICS

Fed sees rate hike coming

The US Federal Reserve was divided about whether the US economy is strong enough to withstand an interest rate increase, according to the minutes of its policy meeting released on Wednesday. Although policymakers at the US Federal Open Market Committee meeting on July 28 and July 29 viewed conditions getting closer to allowing the first rate hike in nearly nine years, they cited evidence that the time was not ripe. As expected, the committee left the benchmark federal funds rate unchanged at zero, but Fed Chair Janet Yellen has signaled that a hike is on track this year. The meeting record gave no clear indication of when the Fed would pull the rate trigger.

MACROECONOMICS

Norway’s growth slows

Norway’s economic growth slowed in the second quarter, as plunging crude prices sapped investments and drove up unemployment in western Europe’s biggest petroleum producer. Seasonally adjusted GDP, excluding oil, gas and shipping, grew 0.2 percent, after expanding a revised 0.3 percent in the first quarter, Oslo-based Statistics Norway said yesterday. The slump in oil prices is proving painful for the economy, with almost half of its exports related to petroleum. The nation’s central bank cut rates in June for a second time since the price of Brent crude started dropping. It also signaled a probability as high as 70 percent that it would cut rates again this fall.

AIRLINES

Qantas swings into profit

Qantas Airways Ltd yesterday posted a A$557 million (US$409 million) full-year profit in a dramatic turnaround since it recorded a US$2.6 billion loss in the previous year. Australia’s largest airline said in a statement that profit for the fiscal year through June reflected strong performances from all business segments, including its troubled international arm, which turned a A$408 million loss last year into a A$267 million profit. The company has not declared a dividend, but will return A$505 million to shareholders through a A$0.23 per share cash distribution in November. The airline’s underlying pre-tax profit for the year was A$975 million, better than analysts’ expectations of a A$960 million profit.

MANUFACTURING

Li & Fung profit falls 20%

Li & Fung Ltd (利豐), the world’s largest supplier of clothes and toys to retailers, yesterday reported that first-half core operating profit slumped 20 percent amid weak demand in the US and Europe. Core operating profit fell to US$182 million for the six months ended June from US$227 million a year earlier, the company said in a statement. “The oil price decline in the US did not help consumption this time around,” Deutsche Bank analyst Anne Ling (林建純) said in a note before the results were released.

ELECTRONICS

Apple ruling appealed

Samsung Electronics Co has filed a petition to the US Supreme Court in its long-running patent infringement case against Apple Inc, according to court documents. The petition was filed after an appeals court upheld part of a ruling by a California jury that found patent infringement by Samsung, ordering the company to pay about US$930 million in damages to its US rival. The petition “will present at least two substantial questions concerning design-patent liability and damages,” and be filed by November, the court documents filed on Wednesday showed.

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