Fri, Dec 29, 2017 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take



Output rises for second month

Factory output rose for the second straight month last month, official data released yesterday showed, as the world’s third-biggest economy continued to pick up steam. Industrial production registered a 0.6 percent increase compared with the previous month, slightly better than market expectations of a 0.5 percent rise. Shipments of products manufactured in Japan rose 2.4 percent month-on-month, while inventories dropped 1 percent, the Ministry of Industry said.


Consumer confidence falls

Consumer confidence retreated from a 17-year high last month, as optimism about the short-term outlook fell sharply, according to a closely watched monthly survey released on Wednesday. While sentiment about current conditions was more positive than last month, consumers were more pessimistic about the situation for business and jobs six months out, the US Conference Board reported. The consumer confidence index fell to 122.1 from 128.6 last month.


Senate approves budget plan

The Senate on Wednesday gave its final approval to the government’s tax reform and budget plan for next year, part of President Mauricio Macri’s push to cut business costs and attract investment to Latin America’s No. 3 economy. Macri was elected in late 2015 with a mandate to free the markets by ditching the heavy controls put on the economy by the previous government. Next year’s budget bill foresees economic growth of 3.5 percent and average inflation of 15.7 percent.


GDP to grow 5.4% next year

The country’s economy is in a stronger position as it enters a new year, bolstering President Joko Widodo as the nation gears up for elections. Having notched up growth above 5 percent in every quarter so far this year, the economy is forecast by the government to expand 5.4 percent next year, which would be the fastest pace in five years. The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of economists is for growth of 5.3 percent.


Nippon Life invests in TCW

TCW Group gained a long-term partner as a Nippon Life Insurance Co investment enabled Carlyle Group LP to sell almost half of its stake in the US$200 billion asset manager. After the deal closed on Wednesday, TCW’s managers controlled a plurality — 44 percent — of the firm, as Nippon acquired 25 percent for about US$490 million. Carlyle, which bought 60 percent of the company in February 2013, reduced its stake to 31 percent, moving the remaining holding to a long-term fund. The transaction values TCW at about 150 percent more than Carlyle’s initial investment.


Shell, Barclays warn of impact

Two major European companies, Royal Dutch Shell PLC and Barclays PLC, said that the US tax reform law would force them to take big charges in the final quarter of the year. Shell on Wednesday said it expects to book between US$2 billion and US$2.5 billion in charges in the fourth quarter as it adjusts its measurements of deferred taxes. Barclays said it expected a charge of £1 billion (US$1.34 billion.). The change in US tax law cuts the corporate income tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent, but also reduces companies’ ability to offset tax bills with past losses.

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