Sat, Apr 01, 2017 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take



Chinese activity accelerates

Chinese factory activity accelerated last month, official data showed yesterday, the latest sign of improving momentum in the world’s second-largest economy, but analysts warned of headwinds later down the line. The official purchasing managers’ index, which gauges conditions at factories and mines, edged up to 51.8, slightly beating the 51.7 forecast in a Bloomberg News survey and up from the previous month’s 51.6. A figure above 50 indicates growth, while anything below points to contraction. The reading follows data showing a surge in imports last month, while economic growth came in slightly better than expected at the end of last year.


Japan’s output, prices rise

Japanese inflation and factory output picked up in February, while the unemployment rate dipped to a two-decade low, official data showed yesterday, a rare string of upbeat news for the world’s No. 3 economy. Core consumer prices, excluding volatile fresh food, rose 0.2 percent from a year earlier, driven by a rise in energy prices, the data showed. Meanwhile, February industrial production expanded by a stronger-than-expected 2 percent and the jobless rate fell to 2.8 percent from 3 percent the previous month, the lowest level since the mid-1990s. However, household spending remained weak, falling a worse-than-expected 3.8 percent from a year ago, data showed.


German unemployment dips

German unemployment unexpectedly dropped to a new record low last month, as Europe’s largest economy powered ahead. The jobless rate fell to 5.8 percent from 5.9 percent, and the number of people out of work slid by a seasonally adjusted 30,000 to 2.6 million, data from the Federal Labor Agency in Nuremberg showed yesterday. Economists in a Bloomberg survey forecast no change in the unemployment rate and a 10,000 decline in the number of people seeking work. Joblessness fell by about 18,000 in western Germany and by 12,000 in the eastern part of the country, the labor agency said.


Mexico hikes rate to 6.5%

Mexico’s central bank has raised its benchmark interest rate by a quarter-point to 6.5 percent, in a bid to contain rising inflation. The Bank of Mexico announced the hike from the previous 6.25 percent on Thursday, after the country recorded a 5.29 percent annual inflation rate in the first half of March. The bank’s inflation goal is 3 percent. The move came despite significant gains by the Mexican peso against the US dollar in recent months. “Despite the significant appreciation of the peso against the dollar ... uncertainty prevails in the international scene,” the bank said.


Huawei sales grow 32%

Chinese telecom equipment maker Huawei Technologies Co (華為) yesterday reported that sales for last year rose 32 percent from a year earlier, but profit only edged up 0.4 percent due to higher spending on research and marketing. Huawei said it earned 37 billion yuan (US$5.4 billion) on total revenue that rose 32 percent to 521.6 billion yuan. Sales by Huawei’s consumer group rose 44 percent to 179.8 billion yuan, and its enterprise and network businesses also had strong increases. That was offset by a 28 percent hike in spending on research and development and a 38.8 percent rise in marketing costs.

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