Tue, Feb 06, 2018 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take



Exports drive Q4 growth

The economy grew slightly better than expected last quarter, supported by a pick-up in exports while consumer spending continued to disappoint. Stronger exports and a surge in investment helped boost growth to a four-year high, marking the best performance since President Joko Widodo took office in 2014. However, consumer spending remains sluggish even after an aggressive run of monetary policy easing, and risks including higher rates in the US are looming that could worsen financial market volatility. GDP rose 5.2 percent year-on-year in the fourth quarter, Statistics Indonesia said yesterday. The median estimate of 17 economists surveyed by Bloomberg was for growth of 5.1 percent. GDP fell 1.7 percent from the previous quarter, matching the median estimate. GDP rose 5.1 percent last year, also matching the median estimate.


Mothers still paying penalty

Mothers in Britain are still paying a significant penalty for working part-time, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies. In a report published yesterday, the London-based research firm said that female employees get about 20 percent less per hour than their male counterparts and can expect to be earning one-third less by the time their first child turns 20. While the gap has fallen to 18 percent for the less well-educated, from 28 percent in 1993, there has been no improvement at all for female graduates — who still earn 22 percent less than their male peers. The firm said a key factor is that women make up the vast majority of part-time workers, who miss out on wage increases enjoyed by people who work full time as they gain experience.


Palm oil sales to India grow

Palm oil exports from Indonesia to India, the world’s biggest buyer, will probably climb to the highest ever this year as strong demand counters higher import duties. Shipments of palm and kernel oils to India climbed 32 percent to 7.6 million tonnes last year from a year earlier, according to the Indonesian Palm Oil Association, commonly known as Gapki. Exports are likely to advance further this year to keep pace with the South Asian country’s population and economic growth, association secretary-general Togar Sitanggang said. India, which relies on imports to meet about 70 percent of its total vegetable oil requirements, doubled the levy on crude palm oil to 30 percent in November and increased the duty on refined palm oil to 40 percent from 25 percent. The move, coupled with high inventories in top producers Indonesia and Malaysia, resulted in palm oil prices dropping 19 percent last year.


Ryanair buys back shares

Ryanair Holdings PLC launched a 750 million-euro (US$934 million) share buyback and sought to reassure shareholders that it is equipped to remain Europe’s biggest low-cost airline after caving in to a unionization drive from pilots. Staff costs will increase by 45 million euros this year as the Irish company lifts pay for its flight crews and there could be further disruption to operations as the pilot dispute plays itself out, Ryanair said yesterday. The carrier pledged to remain the most competitive in Europe, saying that extra-dense Boeing Co 737 Max planes would help retain that advantage. “After 30 years of successfully dealing directly with our people it became clear in December that a majority of pilots wanted to be represented by unions,” Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary said.

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