Sat, Feb 24, 2018 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

JAPAN

Inflation far below target

Consumer prices edged up 0.9 percent last month, government data showed yesterday, but inflation was still far below a longstanding target of 2.0 percent. Government data showed the core inflation rate stood at the same pace as the previous two months. That was largely in line with market expectations of a 0.8 percent rise in prices, data compiled by Bloomberg News showed. When volatile fresh food and energy were stripped out, prices rose by even less — just 0.4 percent, the Ministry of Finance said.

UNITED KINGDOM

Growth slows on Brexit

The economy grew at its slowest rate in five years during last year as consumers and businesses were held back by factors directly related to Brexit. Armed with more information following an initial estimate, the Office for National Statistics on Thursday said that the economy expanded by only 0.4 percent in the October-to-December period last year, down from 0.5 percent before. The downgrade reduced overall growth to 1.7 percent for last year, its lowest since 2012.

INSURANCE

Swiss Re predicts benefits

Swiss Reinsurance Co Led said it expects to benefit from rising prices even as natural disasters all but wiped out its full-year profit. The Zurich-based reinsurer yesterday reported a slump in net income to US$331 million from US$3.6 billion a year earlier, following one of the most costly hurricane seasons in history. Still, that beat the US$287 million average estimate of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. It also said it would raise the dividend to 5 Swiss francs (US$5.35) and would authorize a new share buyback program.

BANKING

RBS turns post-crisis profit

State-rescued Royal Bank of Scotland PLC (RBS) yesterday announced its first annual post-tax profit since 2007, or the eve of the global financial crisis, following a huge drop in litigation costs. RBS, saved a decade ago by the UK government in the world’s biggest banking bailout, posted a net profit of US$1.05 billion last year following nine straight annual losses, the Edinburgh-based lender said in a statement.

ENERGY

First Solar scores industry win

While most of the US solar industry has blasted US President Donald Trump for slapping tariffs on panel imports, one company still managed to score a quantifiable win. First Solar Inc on Thursday raised sales for this year to as much as US$2.65 billion from an estimate of as much as US$2.5 billion made in December last year, a statement on Thursday said. However, the boost to the sales outlook comes at the same time that First Solar got knocked with a US$408 million charge attributable to the tax overhaul Trump signed late last year.

AUTOMAKERS

Ford appoints new US head

A veteran executive who has led Ford Motor Co’s Lincoln luxury brand is now to head US operations, replacing an executive who was ousted this week over allegations of inappropriate behavior. Kumar Galhotra, 52, is to replace Raj Nair on Thursday next week, the company said. Ford said in a printed release that Galhotra is to lead all aspects of the North American business, the company’s primary source of revenue and profits. Galhotra has been with Ford for 29 years in a number of senior engineering and product strategy positions.

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