Sun, Aug 06, 2017 - Page 14 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

UNITED STATES

Month of robust job creation

The US saw robust job creation again last month, with unemployment falling back to a 16-year low, restoring the economy to the employment level seen before the 2008 crisis. The economy added 209,000 net new positions for the month, well above analyst forecasts, although below the 231,000 increase in June, the Department of Labor reported on Friday. However, average monthly job creation so far this year is 185,000, slightly below the average recorded last year and well below 2015 and 2014. Last month’s gain pushed the unemployment rate back down a tenth of a point to 4.3 percent, the lowest level in 16 years.

CHINA

Former bank head jailed

The nation’s anti-graft watchdog yesterday said the former head of the supervisory board at China Development Bank (中國國家開發銀行), the country’s largest policy lender, has been jailed for 14 years and fined 3.5 million yuan (US$520,020) for receiving bribes. The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said in a statement on its Web site that Yao Zhongmin (姚中民) accepted bribes amounting to 36.2 million yuan directly or indirectly through his brother between 2002 and 2013.

ISRAEL

S&P raises outlook

Improved economic growth and efforts to rein in spending prompted Standard & Poor’s to raise the outlook on the country’s debt profile, the credit rating firm announced on Friday. While S&P held Israel’s debt rating stable at “A+,” it improved the outlook to “positive” from “stable,” which means it could raise the grade a notch in the next two years, the company said in a statement. The agency praised the government for “measures that restrain future expenditure growth” which in turn “could enable the government to resist ongoing spending pressures.”

TECHNOLOGY

Google works on ‘magazine’

Alphabet Inc’s Google is working with publishers on a news product called Stamp that would serve up articles in a mobile magazine-like design, similar to Snapchat’s Discover service, according to a person familiar with the matter. Stamp evolved from media relationships Google already has for another one of its products, called AMP, which is meant to help load articles faster. The Wall Street Journal reported the talks earlier. “The success of the open source AMP project is down to the constant collaboration with publishers that involves working early on upcoming features,” Google said on Friday in a statement.

INVESTMENT

Berkshire profits fall

Berkshire Hathaway Inc, the conglomerate controlled by billionaire Warren Buffett, said on Friday that its second-quarter profit fell 15 percent as costs rose for its various businesses and it earned less from its investments. The Omaha, Nebraska-based company reported net income of US$4.26 billion, or US$2,592 per Class A share, during the quarter. That is down from the US$5 billion, or US$3,042 per share, a year ago. Operating earnings came to US$2,505 per Class A share, down from US$2,803 a year ago. Revenue rose 6 percent to US$57.52 billion. The company said costs rose at its insurance businesses, railroads and financial products providers.

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