Mon, Mar 06, 2017 - Page 14 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

EGYPT

Non-oil sector rebounds

Economic activity for the country’s non-oil private sector accelerated the most since 2014, a sign that growth might be recovering after authorities abandoned currency controls and secured a US$12 billion IMF loan deal. The Emirates NBD purchasing managers’ index for the whole economy climbed for the third month in a row to 46.7 last month from 43.3 in January. The new orders sub-index rose to 44 from 39.2. While readings below 50 indicate the economy is still in contraction, the magnitude of the gain signals an improvement in business confidence three months after Egyptian policymakers floated the pound to ease a crippling dollar shortage.

UKRAINE

IMF agrees on update

The IMF on Saturday said it had reached an agreement with Ukraine on an updated memorandum under a US$17.5 billion program, paving the way for its board to consider the disbursement of the fourth loan tranche of US$1 billion later this month. “The IMF staff has reached agreement with government authorities on an updated memorandum of economic and financial policies,” IMF Ukraine mission chief Ron van Rooden said in a statement. The country also gets the reprieve of not having to go though the unpopular measure of raising its pension age to get the cash.

MACHINERY

Caterpillar sued for fraud

Caterpillar Inc was sued on Friday for allegedly deceiving shareholders about its business, one day after US federal law enforcers raided three of its buildings in connection with a probe into the heavy machinery manufacturer’s offshore tax practices. In a complaint filed in Chicago federal court, Jacob Newman accused Caterpillar of defrauding him and other shareholders in regulatory filings by touting its commitment to good ethics while concealing how it “unlawfully used foreign subsidiaries” to avoid paying billions in US taxes. Newman is seeking unspecified damages in his proposed class-action lawsuit on behalf of Caterpillar investors.

COMMODITIES

EGA to sell shares

Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA), the largest aluminum producer in the Middle East, is preparing to sell shares amid a comeback in commodity prices, according to people familiar with the matter. The United Arab Emirates (UAE)-based company is seeking advisers for a potential initial public offering on the local stock exchange as early as this year, the people said. The UAE agreed to merge its two flagship state aluminum firms in 2013 to create EGA, with an enterprise value of about US$15 billion. EGA said profit last year rose about 10 percent to 2.1 billion dirhams (US$572 million) on record production. Output jumped 4.2 percent to a record 2.5 million tonnes, the company said.

SRI LANKA

Tourist numbers slip

Tourist arrivals fell 0.4 percent to 197,517 last month for the first time since a nearly three-decade-long civil war ended in May 2009, government data released on Friday showed. It snapped a 93-month streak of tourist increases on the island, popular for its Indian Ocean beaches and varied wildlife. Tourism accounts for about 5 percent of Sri Lanka’s economy. The slight decline was due to inconveniences and long waiting times at its main airport, which currently closes eight hours a day for runaway renovations, analysts said. The airport is due to open again early next month.

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