Fri, Dec 22, 2017 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

RETAIL

Baby formula recall doubled

French baby-milk maker Lactalis Group yesterday said it was more than doubling the quantity of formula and other products recalled over salmonella fears in the second such move in two weeks. The latest recall involves 720 batches of products sold in France and overseas and follows an initial recall of 625 batches, or nearly 7,000 tonnes of products, on Sunday last week. The new recall concerned powders and infant cereals of the group’s Picot and Milumel brands, as well as the Taranis powdered amino-acid mix, the company said.

NEW ZEALAND

Building rebound boosts GDP

The economy grew 0.6 percent in the third quarter thanks to a rebound in construction, official data released yesterday showed. The rise in quarterly GDP was in line with market expectations, taking annual growth to 3.0 percent. Construction jumped 3.6 percent over the quarter, while service industries rose 0.6 percent, with health and residential care leading the way. Primary industries fell 0.4 percent, partly because wet weather lowered milk production, Statistics New Zealand said.

JAPAN

Inflation target unchanged

The Bank of Japan yesterday opted to keep its ultra-lax monetary policy unchanged, saying rising private consumption, exports and business investment were signs that a moderate recovery has taken hold. In a policy statement, the central bank said it is committed to its nearly five-year-old 2 percent inflation target, but deemed inflation expectations to be in a “weakening phase.” It forecast that inflation would likely gradually rise thanks to tightening capacity. The central bank kept its key policy rate at minus-0.1 percent.

INDONESIA

Fitch grants rating upgrade

The nation won a second rating upgrade this year, with Fitch Ratings raising its assessment to one step above investment grade, months after S&P Global Ratings lifted the nation out of “junk” status. The rating on the nation’s long-term, foreign currency-denominated debt was raised one level to “BBB” with a stable outlook, Fitch said in a statement yesterday. The upgrade puts Indonesia on a par with the Philippines, which received an upgrade just this month. Fitch cited rising foreign-exchange reserves, the focus on macro stability and strong economic growth as drivers of the upgrade.

EGYPT

Reforms bring IMF funds

The IMF on Wednesday approved the third installment of a US$12 billion, three-year loan for Egypt, bringing the total released to date to just more than US$6 billion. The IMF board approved the latest US$2 billion disbursement under the deal signed in November last year, after a fund team last month praised Cairo’s progress on “bold” economic reforms. The IMF said Egypt’s economy is expected to grow 4.2 percent this year and the inflation rate is expected to fall to 13 percent by the end of next year.

CRYPTOCURRENCIES

Broker allows bitcoin trades

E-Trade Financial Corp said it plans to allow customers to trade bitcoin futures from Cboe Global Markets Inc, joining competitors including CME Group Inc in offering the contracts after monitoring their debut earlier this month. Cboe futures are “now available,” the New York-based online brokerage wrote on its Web site late on Wednesday. A spokesman confirmed the move.

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