Sun, Sep 18, 2016 - Page 14 News List

Business Quick Take

Staff writer, with agencies

SEMICONDUCTORS

North America ratio drops

The book-to-bill ratio for North American-based semiconductor equipment manufacturers fell to 1.03 last month from 1.05 in July, statistics released by Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (SEMI) showed on Friday. A ratio of 1.03 means that US$103 worth of orders were received for every US$100 of products billed in the month. It was the ninth consecutive month that the ratio stood at or above 1 percent, indicating strong demand will continue in the short term, SEMI Taiwan president Terry Tsao (曹世綸) said in a statement.

RUSSIA

Central bank cuts rate

The central bank on Friday cut its key interest rate by half a percentage point to 10 percent, but warned it could not provide another quick jolt to jump-start stalled economic growth. The Bank of Russia said in a statement that the cut was possible thanks to a “decrease in inflation expectations and unstable economic activity.” However, the central bank made clear it intends to hold off on another cut until early next year at the earliest.

AUTOMAKERS

Fiat Chrysler recalls vehicles

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV is recalling more than 1.9 million vehicles worldwide because their air bags might not deploy in a crash. The recall affects certain Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Lancia vehicles from the 2010 to 2014 model years. Most are in the US, but 224,860 were sold in Canada and Mexico and 284,051 were sold outside North America. Fiat Chrysler says an air bag and seatbelt control module with a certain wiring design might not deploy the air bags or tighten the seatbelts if the vehicle is involved in a frontal crash.

DISTRIBUTION

John Menzies to buy ASIG

UK airport services and logistics group John Menzies PLC agreed to buy peer BBA Aviation PLC’s ground handling and fueling operations in a deal worth US$202 million, taking a major step in consolidating a fragmented industry. The deal for ASIG would make Menzies the world’s largest interplane fueler, doubling its existing North American operations and adding significant scale at major international gateways, including London’s Heathrow Airport.

TRADE

WTO rules against India

The WTO has ruled against India and delivered a victory to US companies that make solar batteries and equipment. Rejecting India’s appeal of a February ruling, the Geneva-based trade group on Friday said that India violated world trade rules by requiring solar-power companies use made-in-India equipment when they sell electricity to the government. US solar exports to India dropped 90 percent after the country adopted the rules in 2011.

ECONOMY

Hungary out of ‘junk status’

Rating agency Standard & Poor’s says it has lifted Hungary’s sovereign debt rating out of “junk status” after upgrading the country’s growth projections. S&P raised Hungary’s rating by one notch to “BBB-” as it increased the country’s average annual growth forecast through 2019 to 2.5 percent from 2 percent. Fitch Ratings Ltd in May made a similar move, while Moody’s still has Hungarian debt in the non-investment category.

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