Wed, May 17, 2017 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

AUTOMAKERS

Ford to cut jobs: report

US automaker Ford Motor Co is poised to cut thousands of jobs worldwide, with reductions expected to total about 10 percent of its global workforce, the Wall Street Journal reported late on Monday. A source confirmed to reporters that massive job cuts are planned at Ford in the coming days, affecting as many as 20,000 salaried workers. The US’ second-largest automaker, Ford employs about 202,000 workers worldwide. The announcement came as the company grapples with slowing sales after several years of growth. The automaker sold 214,695 vehicles last month, 7.2 percent fewer than during the same period last year. Ford spokesman Mike Moran said the company’s immediate goals “include fortifying the profit pillars in our core business, transforming traditionally underperforming areas of our core business and investing aggressively, but prudently, in emerging opportunities.”

TUNISIA

The economy picks up

The nation’s embattled economy picked up in the first quarter and there was a slight fall in unemployment, according to data published on Monday by the National Statistics Institute. Economic growth in the first quarter was 2.1 percent, slightly more than the 1 percent mark registered last year, as GDP grew by 0.9 percent, the report said. An uptick in tourism revenues, agriculture and mining activity, namely phosphates, were among the sectors that contributed to growth. At the same time unemployment dropped slightly to 15.3 percent, compared with 15.5 percent in the previous quarter. While Tunisia is hailed as a success story of the Arab Spring uprisings, authorities have failed to redress the economy since the 2011 revolution.

TRADE

Australia, HK eye FTA

Australia and Hong Kong began talks to secure a free-trade agreement (FTA), Australian Minister for Trade and Investment Steven Ciobo said yesterday, adding that he would focus on securing increased access for service providers and it could be firmed up within one year. Ciobo, who met Hong Kong Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Gregory So (蘇錦樑) in Hong Kong, said that as tariffs on Australian goods are already at zero, talks would focus on improving access for financial, education, travel, construction, mining, energy and transport companies. Ciobo told Sky News that Canberra would “look and try to negotiate as comprehensive an FTA as possible over the next 12 months or thereabouts.” Hong Kong was Australia’s eighth-largest export market and 12th-largest trading partner overall from 2015 to last year, Australian government data showed.

CHINA

US Treasury holdings surge

The nation in March increased its holdings of US Treasuries by the most in two years, a sign that the world’s second-biggest economy is stabilizing and stricter capital controls have helped to stem capital flight. The nation raised its ownership of US government bonds, notes and bills by US$27.9 billion to US$1.09 trillion, the biggest increase since March 2015, according to a monthly US Department of the Treasury report released on Monday. That means China remains the second-largest foreign holder of US debt. Adding the US$3.7 billion surge in Belgium’s ownership, which is often seen as a home to China’s custodial accounts, the total increase was the biggest since 2014.

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