Sat, Aug 22, 2015 - Page 14 News List

World Business Quick Take



Gold hits six-week high

Gold advanced for a fifth day to the highest level in more than six weeks on signs the Federal Reserve may delay an interest rate increase as inflation remains low and the selloff in emerging markets spreads. Gold for immediate delivery climbed as much as 1.4 percent to US$1,168.39 an ounce, the highest level since July 7, before trading at US$1,158.75 by 2:57pm in Singapore, according to Bloomberg generic pricing. The metal has surged 3.9 percent this week and is set for the biggest such gain since January. Fed officials showed concern over low inflation, according to the minutes of last month’s meeting, signaling a possible rate increase in December instead of next month. China’s decision to devalue amid slower growth and prospects for higher US interest rates have spurred selling across emerging markets and commodities.


Eurozone gains momentum

The eurozone economy picked up momentum this month, with an improvement in Germany lifting a business index to close to its highest level in four years. Markit Economics said yesterday that its composite Purchasing Managers’ Index of manufacturing and services rose to 54.1 from 53.9 last month, close to the four-year high reached in June. That is above the 50 mark that divides expansion from contraction and compares with a median estimate of 53.7 in a Bloomberg survey of economists. The increase was partly led by Germany, the region’s largest economy, where a factory index rose to the highest level in more than a year. That offset “disappointing” numbers in France, where manufacturing shrank for a second month.


Samsung eyes NASDAQ

South Korea’s dominant Samsung conglomerate is to make its first entry into US stock markets next year with the listing of a biotechnology affiliate, a company official said yesterday. The listing of Samsung Bioepis on the NASDAQ Stock Market is aimed at securing funds for investment in the field of biosimilars — a new breed of drugs that mimic the effects of biologic drugs made from living cells. “With an underwriter already designated, preparations are under way for the public stock listing of Bioepis in the first half of next year,” a Samsung official said. Bioepis are to be the first Samsung affiliate to list in the US. Samsung Electronics controls 46 percent of Samsung BioLogics, which in turn holds 90 percent of Bioepis. The Samsung group is already remarkably diverse, with interests ranging from electronics to construction and shipbuilding and sees biotechnology as a revenue growth engine for the future.


Seoul sees spending slump

South Koreans spent less of their incomes on shopping, leisure and bills last quarter, underscoring the challenge the government faces in boosting domestic demand. Household spending as a percentage of disposable income, excluding items like tax and pensions, fell to 71.6 percent in April-June from 72.3 percent in the first three months of the year, the statistics office said in a statement yesterday. With exports dropping every month this year, South Korea is relying on a revival in consumption to support its economy. The decline in the consumption rate comes after the central bank cut interest rates four times in the past year to a record low of 1.5 percent and the government introduced its largest-ever budget this year.

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