Fri, Jun 29, 2018 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

GERMANY

Consumer confidence robust

Confidence among consumers should resist fears of a trade war between Washington and Brussels next month, a survey published yesterday showed. A forward-looking barometer by pollsters GfK stood at 10.7 points for next month, the same level as this month and 0.1 points lower than last month. However, there are signs that Europe’s largest economy has lost momentum since the unexpectedly strong growth seen late last year.

NEW ZEALAND

Low interest rate maintained

The New Zealand Reserve Bank yesterday held interest rates at a record low, but signaled it is prepared to cut them if needed as economic growth slows and inflation remains below target. “The official cash rate will remain at 1.75 percent for now,” bank Governor Adrian Orr said in a statement in Wellington. “However, we are well positioned to manage change in either direction — up or down — as necessary.”

RETAIL

Japanese sales fell in May

Japanese retail sales fell last month by the most in nearly two years, pointing to weaker consumption that could restrain any rebound in the economy following a contraction in the first quarter. Retail sales fell 1.7 percent last month from April, but increased 0.6 percent from a year earlier, government data showed. Sales at department stores and supermarkets fell 2 percent from the previous year. Sales of automobiles fell 2.8 percent from a year earlier, while clothing and apparel sales dropped 4.1 percent on year.

ELECTRIC VEHICLES

BP to buy charging network

BP PLC plans to acquire the UK’s largest electric vehicle charging company, the latest in a string of acquisitions by major oil companies in the growing market for greener transport. The British oil major entered into an agreement to buy Chargemaster, which has 6,500 charging points across the UK. It did not disclose terms of the deal, but BP has previously said it plans to spend about US$500 million a year on clean energy. Customers will see the new chargers in its forecourts over the next 12 months.

RETAIL

H&M profits disappoint

Hennes & Mauritz AB (H&M) reported profit that missed analyst expectations and said that its inventory levels increased further as the Swedish retailer suffered from logistics issues that snarled shipments. Pretax profit slumped 22 percent to 6.01 billion kronor (US$666.7 million) in the three months through last month, H&M said yesterday. “The first half of the year has been somewhat more challenging than we initially thought, but we believe that there is a gradual improvement and that we will see a stronger second half,” chief executive Karl-Johan Persson said.

ENERGY

Togo launches new policy

The Togolese government on Wednesday launched a new energy policy that aims to provide universal access to electricity in the small West African country by 2030. The “electrification strategy,” which relies heavily on renewable energy, is to unroll in three phases over 12 years and cost 1,000 billion CFA francs (US$1.76 billion), of which half will come from private investment. African Development Bank Vice President Amadou Hott said that the bank pledged 20 billion CFA francs to finance private operators.

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