Sat, Jun 30, 2018 - Page 10 News List

World News Quick Take

Agencies

JAPAN

Jobless rate hits 26-year low

The jobless rate last month slumped to a 26-year low, while the jobs-to-applicants ratio hit a new record high as the nation struggles with labor shortages, official figures showed yesterday. The unemployment rate fell to 2.2 percent from 2.5 percent in the previous three months, according to a survey by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, the lowest level since August to October of 1992. The jobs-to-applicants ratio stood at its highest rate in 44 years, with 160 job offers going for every 100 job hunters, the Ministry Health, Labor and Welfare said in separate data.

UNITED STATES

<>bGDP growth revised down

Economic growth in the first quarter was revised down to a lackluster 2 percent — a sharp deceleration and the poorest showing in a year. The Department of Commerce on Thursday said in its final estimate for the first quarter that GDP was even weaker than previously thought. Lower numbers from consumer spending and business inventories helped trim 0.2 percentage points off last month’s estimate that GDP had grown 2.2 percent in the period, but recent economic reports, including consumer spending, have looked strong and point to far better growth in the second quarter.

VIETNAM

Economy grows 6.8 percent

The economy posted steady growth in the second quarter, underpinned by solid foreign investment and exports. GDP rose 6.8 percent in the second quarter from a year earlier, the General Statistics Office said in Hanoi yesterday. The economy expanded 7.1 percent in the six months through this month compared with a year earlier, the office said.

TOBACCO

Australia not inhibiting trade

A WTO dispute body has ruled that Australia did not unfairly inhibit trade by requiring plain packaging for tobacco products, sending a message that tough-on-tobacco rules do not necessarily contravene fair trade rules. The WTO’s dispute settlement body said complainants did not successfully demonstrate that Australia had contravened its obligations to ensure fair trade following its adoption of path-breaking legislation in 2012 requiring plain packaging as a way to reduce health risks.

PHARMACEUTICALS

Novartis to spin off Alcon

Novartis AG is to spin off eye-care company Alcon as the company’s new chief executive officer refocuses the Swiss drugmaker on prescription pharmaceuticals. Novartis is also to buy back up to US$5 billion of shares, using proceeds from the sale of its consumer-health joint venture with GlaxoSmithKline PLC, the Basel-based company said in a statement yesterday. The spinoff of Alcon is subject to final approval by the board and by shareholders at next year’s annual meeting.

APPAREL

Nike earnings up 12.8%

Nike Inc shares on Thursday surged as the company reported higher earnings, announced a new share buyback program and talked up its ambitious digital investment program that emphasizes direct selling to consumers. Nike reported earnings of US$1.1 billion in its fiscal fourth quarter, up 12.8 percent from a year earlier. Revenue also rose 12.8 percent to US$9.8 billion. The company beat analyst expectations in both earnings per share and revenue. China was the firm’s strongest region in terms of revenue, where sales jumped 35 percent.

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