Wed, Sep 09, 2015 - Page 15 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

MACROECONOMICS

South Korea raises budget

The South Korean government is to spend a record 386.7 trillion won (US$322.83 billion) next year. The proposed budget for next year is 2 trillion won more than this year’s 384.7 trillion won spending plans, which included a supplementary package approved in July. The government’s debt is expected to climb to a record 40.1 percent of the country’s GDP as the deficit reaches 2.3 percent of GDP next year, the South Korean Ministry of Finance said in its budget proposal. It said South Korea is expected to have a budget shortfall through 2019. The government has cut its growth forecast for next year to 3.3 percent from 3.5 percent.

MACROECONOMICS

German trade hits new high

Germany’s exports and imports rose to new monthly records in July, the federal statistics office Destatis said yesterday. The country exported 103.4 billion euros (US$115.67 billion) worth of goods in seasonally adjusted terms in July, 2.4 percent more than in the previous month. At the same time, imports grew by 2.2 percent to 80.6 billion euros. That left a trade surplus of 22.8 billion euros, up from 22.1 billion euros the previous month, Destatis said in a statement.

AUSTRALIA

Business conditions improve

The nation’s business conditions last month were the strongest in 10 months, according to a survey released yesterday by National Australia Bank Ltd. The survey showed that: Business conditions rose five points to +11; the highest since October last year; Business confidence fell three points to +1, the weakest since July 2013; Business trading rose eight points to +20, while profitability rose five points to +12. The improvement in business conditions “adds to the mounting evidence that Australian dollar depreciation and record low interest rates are having the desired effect and helping to offset the weakness in mining,” the bank said in a statement.

PHILIPPINES

Free Wi-Fi planned

The government is planning to provide free Wi-Fi services to half of its towns and cities this year and nationwide coverage by the end of next year, limiting the data revenue prospects for Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co and Globe Telecom Inc. The free Internet service is set to cost the government about 1.5 billion pesos (US$31.97 million) per year and is to be available in areas such as public schools, hospitals, airports and parks, Information and Communications Technology Office deputy executive director Monchito Ibrahim said. The new service is expected to push data charges lower in the nation. Access to the Internet costs about US$18 per megabit per second in the country.

INSURANCE

RSA quits Latin America

British insurer and takeover target Royal & Sun Alliance (RSA) yesterday said that it has agreed to sell its Latin American operations to Colombian investment group Inversiones Suramericana for £403 million (US$619.27 million) in cash. The London-listed insurance firm had last month received a £5.6 billion takeover approach from Swiss rival Zurich Insurance. The Latin American sale would be “significantly” positive for RSA’s capital, RSA said in a statement. The deal is not conditional on the outcome of an offer from Zurich, which was aware of the sale plan before it announced the acquisition plan last month, RSA added.

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