Fri, Feb 09, 2018 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

TRADE

German imports hit record

The German trade surplus, one of the world’s largest, narrowed slightly to 245 billion euros (US$299.80 billion) last year from a record 253 billion euros in 2016, as imports outpaced exports, official data showed yesterday. Imports climbed 8.3 percent to an all-time high of 1.03 trillion euros, while exports rose at a slightly slower clip of 6.3 percent to 1.3 trillion — also a fresh record, the federal statistics authority Destatis said in a statement.

BANKING

Brazil cuts benchmark rate

The Brazilian central bank on Wednesday cut its benchmark interest rate to a new low of 6.75 percent, but hinted it was now done with a historic easing cycle. The bank lowered the Selic rate by 0.25 percentage points, its 11th consecutive cut aimed at helping Latin America’s largest economy emerge from a stifling two-year recession. The rate now stands at about half of what it was at the end of 2016, thanks to a strong fall in inflation in a nation historically dogged by surging prices.

MEDIA

LA paper sells for US$500m

A biotech billionaire on Wednesday struck a US$500 million deal to buy the Los Angeles Times, ending the newspaper’s quarrelsome relationship with its Chicago-based corporate overseers and bringing it under local ownership for the first time in 18 years. The agreement between Los Angeles medical entrepreneur Patrick Soon-Shiong and Tronc Inc represents the latest instance of a rich, civic-minded individual purchasing a newspaper from a big corporation. The deal includes the purchase of the San Diego Union-Tribune and some other publications and the assumption of US$90 million in pension liabilities.

BANKING

Lying Rabobank unit settles

Dutch lender Rabobank’s California unit on Wednesday agreed to pay US$369 million to settle allegations that it lied to regulators investigating allegations of laundering money from Mexican drug sales and organized crime through branches in small towns on the Mexico border. The subsidiary, Rabobank National Association, said it does not dispute that it accepted at least US$369 million in illegal proceeds from drug trafficking and other activities from 2009 to 2012. It pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the US for participating in a cover-up when regulators began asking questions in 2013.

ENERGY

Total net profit jumps 39%

French oil and gas giant Total yesterday said that recovering oil prices and increased production gave profits a welcome boost last year. Total said in a statement that its net profit jumped 39 percent to US$8.6 billion last year. When adjusted for one-off and volatile items, the bottom-line profit figure advanced 28 percent to US$10.6 billion, the statement said.

UNITED KINGDOM

Soros funds halt-Brexit

Billionaire George Soros contributed £400,000 (US$554,840) through his foundations to a campaign group that is seeking to halt Brexit, group chairman Mark Malloch-Brown, a former diplomat who is chair of the Best for Britain campaign group, said on Wednesday. Best for Britain aims to halt Brexit and secure a rerun of the 2016 referendum on EU membership. Soros’ contributions to the group were first reported in the Daily Telegraph newspaper.

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