Fri, Apr 14, 2017 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

BONDS

Saudi Arabia raises US$9bn

Saudi Arabia raised US$9 billion in its first global Islamic bond issue, the government announced yesterday, a move analysts said could ease pressure on foreign reserves. The sale of Islamic bonds, known as sukuk, comes after the kingdom in October last year turned to the conventional global debt market for the first time, raising US$17.5 billion in a bond issue. Saudi Arabia has also sold domestic bonds and drawn on its accumulated reserves, all in an effort to reform the economy and address budget deficits caused by a collapse in oil revenues since 2014.

TECHNOLOGY

Apple hires diabetes team

Apple Inc has hired a team of biomedical engineers as part of a secret initiative, initially envisioned by late Apple cofounder Steve Jobs, to develop sensors to treat diabetes, CNBC reported, citing three people familiar with the matter. An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment. The engineers are expected to work at a nondescript office in Palo Alto, California, close to the corporate headquarters, CNBC said.

MACROECONOMICS

Brazil cuts policy rate

Brazil’s central bank on Wednesday cut the key interest rate by 1 percentage point in an accelerating strategy to inject life into the floundering economy. This was the fifth straight cut, taking the key Selic rate to 11.25 percent. “The evidence suggests a gradual resumption of [economic] activity,” the bank said in a statement.

ENERGY

Oil demand to remain slow

The International Energy Agency expects growth in the global demand for crude oil to slow for a second consecutive year this year. The Paris-based agency expects growth of 1.3 million barrels a day this year, compared with the 1.4 million barrels it previously forecast, due to stalled demand in the US, the Middle East, Russia and India. In its monthly report released yesterday, the agency said production would grow this year, even when considering pledges by OPEC members to limit output. The combination of factors could keep a lid on oil prices, which have risen in the past six months after a three-year slump.

SOFTWARE

Infosys boosts payout

Indian software giant Infosys Ltd yesterday pledged to return US$2 billion to shareholders this year as it reported subdued growth in profits for the fourth quarter. The company said that it would raise dividends and share buybacks, with its stock price under pressure due to cuts in businesses’ information-technology budgets and worries over a US visa crackdown under US President Donald Trump. Net profit in the three months to March 31 came in at 36.03 billion rupees (US$557.01 million), only marginally above the 36 billion rupees it reported in the same period last year.

TRANSPORTATION

More departures at Uber

Uber’s head of communications is leaving, the latest in a string of executive departures as the ride-hailing company tries to dig out from a pile of trouble. In a memo to employees, CEO Travis Kalanick called Rachel Whetstone a “force of nature” who “was way ahead of the game when it came to many of the changes we needed to make as a company.” Whetstone, who joined Uber in 2015 after a decade at Google, did not give a reason for her departure. The company is facing accusations of routinely tolerated sexism and sexual harassment in the workplace.

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