Tue, Jul 31, 2018 - Page 10 News List

World Busienss Quick Take



Retail sales rebound

Retail sales rebounded last month, recovering from a sharp drop in May and offering a sign of improved consumption in the second quarter of this year. The main contributors were fuel sales, which rose 17 percent from a year earlier due to higher oil prices, food and beverages, and medicines and toiletries. Air conditioners also sold well, thanks in part to higher temperatures. Demand from inbound tourists remained strong, rising from a year earlier. Still, tepid wage gains mean Japanese shoppers remain reluctant to really ramp up spending. That leaves economic recovery still reliant on exports at a time when the trade outlook looks increasingly cloudy, with the US considering tariffs on car imports.


ARM to buy Treasure Data

ARM Holdings PLC, the British computer chip designer owned by Softbank Group Corp, has agreed to buy US-based data analytics firm Treasure Data Inc, people familiar with the matter said. Treasure Data might fetch about US$600 million in the sale, the people said, asking not to be identified because the deal is not yet public. The acquisition is part of ARM’s push into the Internet of Things (IoT). Last month, it announced the acquisition of Stream Technologies, a Glasgow-based company that improves connectivity for IoT devices. Softbank, which bought Cambridge, England-based ARM in 2016 for US$32 billion, is interested in investing in artificial intelligence, driverless cars, IoT, robotics and ride sharing, chief executive officer Masayoshi Son has said.


Lotte might sell malls

Lotte Group, reeling from a wave of anti-South Korean sentiment in China for more than a year, is considering selling some of its department stores in the country, a move that would accelerate the conglomerate’s withdrawal from the world’s second-largest economy. The sale of some of Lotte Shopping Co’s five malls is among options being reviewed in the country, a Lotte Group spokesman said, in response to an earlier Chosun Ilbo report. Lotte Confectionery Co, which has three factories in China, is also reviewing its business there, the representative said. Despite some signs of thawing, Lotte’s ongoing struggles illustrates how South Korean companies continue to face hardships in China about a year-and-a-half after Seoul angered Beijing by deploying a US anti-missile system. Hyundai Motor Co has also seen its sales fall in the country in the wake of the dispute.


Economic growth surprises

Economic growth unexpectedly accelerated in the second quarter of this year as consumer spending and exports picked up. GDP advanced 1 percent in the period, accelerating from a revised 0.8 percent in the first three months and beating the 0.5 percent estimate in a Bloomberg survey of economists. GDP grew 3.3 percent from a year earlier. The largest Nordic economy has seen 20 consecutive quarters of growth, which in part has been fueled by a record wave of immigration since 2015. It has driven employment to a record high level and public debt to the lowest since 1977. Consumers have so far withstood a slide in the housing market even as confidence has waned some this year. Interest rates are at rock-bottom, but the central bank has flagged it would start raising rates from a record low of minus-0.5 percent toward the end of the year after unleashing record stimulus over the past four years to stabilize inflation.

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