Fri, Jun 01, 2018 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take



Factories boost production

Factory activity last month expanded at its fastest pace for eight months, official data showed yesterday, as demand at home and overseas improved, despite brewing trade tensions with the US. The purchasing managers index came in at 51.9, up from 51.4 the previous month, the National Bureau of Statistics said, in line with a Bloomberg News survey. The reading was well above the 50-point mark that separates expansion from contraction. The bureau said that high-tech manufacturing and improved export orders contributed to the growth.


Industrial output slows

Factory output in April rose less than forecast, adding to concerns about the strength of the economy following a contraction in growth during the first quarter. A sharp drop in production of electronic components and devices was cited as a factor. Government data showed that industrial production rose 0.3 percent from March, when it gained 1.4 percent. April output grew 2.5 percent year-on-year, compared with a 2.4 percent rise in March.


Manufacturing accelerates

The Federal Reserve’s latest survey of business conditions found manufacturing activity accelerating in many parts of the nation in late April and early last month, even as some businesses expressed concern about uncertainty caused by rising trade tensions. The Fed said in the Beige Book survey released on Wednesday that the economy is expanding at a moderate pace. More than half of the central bank’s 12 regions reported a pickup in industrial activity and a third of the districts described manufacturing conditions as “strong.”


Firms upbeat on growth

The economy started the year with faster-than-expected growth, and investment figures suggest that companies are upbeat about their prospects. The expansion of 0.6 percent in GDP exceeded economists’ 0.5 percent median estimate. Consumer-spending growth rose at its fastest pace since 2016, while investment in equipment hit a six-year high. Risks related to Italian politics and US foreign policy have fueled a renewed appreciation of the Swiss franc, which might undermine one support for the economy, economists said.


Property market still slowing

House prices last month rose less than expected, figures from mortgage lender Nationwide showed yesterday, adding to evidence of a slowing property market since the 2016 Brexit vote. House prices were up by 2.4 percent in the year to last month, down from a rise of 2.6 percent in April and below all forecasts in a Reuters poll of economists. Prices fell by 0.2 percent from April, the third time this year that they have declined on a monthly basis, Nationwide figures showed.


Investors dump ruble bonds

Foreign investors offloaded about 200 billion rubles (US$3.23 billion) worth of local-currency bonds since fresh US sanctions imposed in April created uncertainty about how vulnerable the market is to more penalties. Non-residents now own about 31 percent of the government’s outstanding ruble securities, known as OFZs, Bank of Russia First Deputy Governor Ksenia Yudaeva told a news briefing in Moscow on Wednesday. That is down from a record of more than 34 percent earlier this year.

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