Wed, May 10, 2017 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

GERMANY

Production beats estimates

Industrial production fell by less than expected in March and trade proved resilient, Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy data showed yesterday, supporting robust growth expectations for the first quarter. The reports followed by one day data showing the nation’s industrial orders rose for the second consecutive month in March, the first time since 2015. Industrial output edged down by 0.4 percent on the month, yesterday’s data showed. This was better than the consensus forecast in a Reuters poll for a drop of 0.6 percent. The decline was driven by a 2.5 percent fall in energy output. Manufacturing production was down 0.5 percent while construction output rose 1.5 percent. In the first quarter as a whole, industrial production rose 1.4 percent on the quarter, the ministry said. The ministry said the industrial upswing in the first quarter had momentum.

FINANCE

Wells Fargo eyes unit sale

Wells Fargo & Co is weighing a sale of its insurance brokerage business, which could fetch about US$2 billion, people familiar with the matter said. The San Francisco-based lender has begun reaching out to private equity firms to gauge interest in Wells Fargo Insurance Services USA Inc, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter is not public. While the company is planning to move forward with a sale, it has not set a timeline for holding a formal auction, one of the people said. If Wells Fargo fetches US$2 billion for the insurance services unit, it would be the company’s largest divestiture on record, topping the US$1.05 billion sale last year of its crop insurance business to Zurich Insurance Group AG, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

BANKING

Credit Suisse to cut staff

Credit Suisse Group AG is cutting as many as 35 positions at its equities business in Asia after the unit’s revenue slumped, a person with knowledge of the matter said. The firm is mainly culling trading, sales, prime brokerage and research positions in the region, according to the person, who asked not to be identified discussing private information. The latest round of reductions, which started about two months ago, is to be completed by next month, the person said. Credit Suisse is shaking up a markets business that was singled out as unprofitable and suffering from “significantly reduced client activity” by the firm’s chief executive officer Tidjane Thiam when reporting first-quarter earnings last month. Equities trading revenue dropped 16 percent in the Asia-Pacific region in the quarter, stung by a slump in derivatives sales.

TRADE

EU pushes China on access

Europe hopes China would deliver its pro-globalization pledges by increasing foreign access to its own markets, EU Ambassador to China Hans Dietmar Schweisgut said yesterday ahead of a summit to discuss Beijing’s signature New Silk Road development plan. Chinese President Xi Jinping’s (習近平) speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos in January painted a picture of China as a wide-open economy in contrast to a rising wave of global protectionism. However, the Chinese government has faced increasingly fervent criticism from foreign business groups and governments, who say China has done little to remove discriminatory policies and market barriers that favor Chinese companies. Schweisgut said Europe was impressed by Xi’s defense of globalization and open markets in Davos, calling them important messages.

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