Wed, Aug 10, 2016 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take



Low oil prices cause deficit

Lower oil prices have pushed the country into a rare budget deficit, ending 16 straight years of surpluses, Minister of Finance Anas al-Saleh said. The government recorded a budget shortfall of 4.6 billion dinars (US$15.23 billion) in the fiscal year that ended on March 31, al-Saleh said in a statement. It was the first shortfall since the fiscal year to March 1999. Revenue dropped by 45 percent to US$45.2 billion, while spending was cut by 14.8 percent to US$60.5 billion, the minister said. Oil income was US$40.1 billion, a slump of 46.3 percent from the previous year, he said. Oil accounted for 89 percent of total revenue, down from 95 percent in previous years.


Trade surplus falloff slows

The country’s trade surplus beat expectations to shrink only slightly in June after a return to growth in exports, official figures showed yesterday. The trade surplus is watched closely as a gauge of an economy’s strength, and had shrunk unexpectedly in May as the country sold less abroad. The nation in June sold 21.7 billion euros (US$24.1 billion) more in goods than it bought abroad, a slight decrease from May’s 22.2 billion euros, the Federal Statistical Office reported. Analysts had expected the surplus to shrink much more quickly to 17.5 billion euros. Compared with the previous month, exports grew by 0.3 percent to 99.8 billion euros in seasonally-adjusted terms in June. Meanwhile, imports grew faster, by 1 percent, to 78.2 billion euros as Germans bought more from abroad.


Oracle confirms Micros hack

US business software giant Oracle Corp on Monday confirmed that hackers infected software in Micros credit card scanners used at hotels and restaurants around the world. “Oracle Security has detected and addressed malicious code in certain legacy Micros systems,” Oracle said in a letter to customers. “Oracle is requiring Micros customers to change the passwords for all Micros accounts.” Oracle bought Micros Systems Inc two years ago in a deal valued at US$5.3 billion. At the time of the acquisition, Micros technology was used in more than 330,000 restaurants, shops and hotels in about 180 countries. Oracle did not reveal the extent or severity of the attack, which computer assault news Web site attributed to a Russian organized crime group with a reputation for hacking banks and shops. Oracle said in the letter that its internal systems and other cloud services were not breached.


Randstad to buy Monster

Randstad Holding NV agreed to buy US jobs Web site Monster Worldwide Inc for US$429 million, extending the Dutch staffing provider’s online reach in the US. Randstad is to pay US$3.40 per share in cash for Weston, Massachusetts-based Monster, the companies said in a statement yesterday. That was 23 percent more than Monster’s closing price on Monday. The purchase is to bolster Amsterdam-based Randstad’s position in the US. Monster will continue to operate as a separate entity under the Monster name, according to the statement. The acquisition will immediately add to Randstad’s earnings per share. The buyer plans to begin a tender offer, and aims to complete the transaction in the fourth quarter of this year. Randstad’s acquisitions over the past nine months will add about 2 billion euros on an annualized basis to revenue, the company said, adding that it will now slow the pace of purchases to focus on integration.

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