Wed, Mar 29, 2017 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

SOUTH KOREA

Growth outstrips estimates

The nation’s economy grew slightly more than previously thought in each of the past two years, authorities said yesterday. The central bank raised its figure for last year’s economic growth rate by 0.1 percentage points to 2.8 percent, saying the manufacturing sector performed better than earlier estimated. It also raised the 2015 figure from 2.6 percent to 2.8 percent, so last year’s rise in GDP was unchanged from the previous year. Decades of rapid growth saw the country rise from the ashes of the Korean War to become a member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, but expansion has slowed more recently.

COMPUTERS

Musk launches Neuralink

Tesla Inc founder and CEO Elon Musk has launched a company called Neuralink Corp to develop technology through which computers could merge with human brains, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter. Neuralink is pursuing what Musk calls “neural lace” technology, implanting tiny brain electrodes that might one day upload and download thoughts, the Journal reported. Musk has not made an official announcement, but Neuralink was registered in California as a “medical research” company in July last year, and he plans on funding the company mostly by himself, a person briefed on the plans told the Journal. It is unclear what sorts of products Neuralink might create, but people who have had discussions with the company describe a strategy similar to Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corp and Tesla, the Journal said.

NETWORKING

Ericsson books more costs

Ericsson AB is to book extra expenses of as much as 15 billion kronor (US$1.7 billion) in the first quarter as its business sputters, highlighting the challenges for new CEO Borje Ekholm as he tries to stabilize the Swedish wireless network maker. Earnings this quarter are to be cut by 7 billion to 9 billion kronor because of “recent negative developments related to certain large customer projects,” Ericsson said in a statement yesterday. Restructuring charges are to be about 2 billion kronor in the quarter as Ekholm accelerates cost reductions. The company is also to write down some assets, hurting operating income by 3 billion to 4 billion kronor, and plans to start exploring strategic opportunities for its media business. Ekholm has already slashed Ericsson’s dividend for the first time in eight years as he tries to reverse a sales plunge caused by fierce competition amid a slowdown in spending by wireless carriers.

INTEREST RATES

Two increases ‘right’: Evans

Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago President Charles Evans said two interest rate increases might be the right amount of tightening for the US economy this year given uncertainty surrounding the outlook for inflation and government spending. “To the extent that I gain more confidence in the forecast I have, that would be a good indicator that I could perhaps support three,” Evans said on Monday in a Bloomberg Television interview from Madrid with Michael McKee. “Two might be the right number if there’s a little bit more uncertainty... I still think that one of the larger uncertainties is whether or not inflation is going to get up to 2 percent sustainably in the US, and so I don’t want to get out ahead of these rate increases, but I thought that it was perfectly acceptable to get one in in March.”

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