Sat, Dec 08, 2018 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

CRYPTOCURRENCIES

Bitcoin leads token slump

Cryptocurrencies yesterday continued their slide with a fresh bout of losses after the US Securities and Exchange Commission dashed hopes that a bitcoin exchange-traded fund would appear before the end of this year. Bitcoin slumped as much as 8.2 percent, taking it below US$3,400 to the lowest level since September last year, consolidated pricing compiled by Bloomberg showed. The wider Bloomberg Galaxy Crypto Index sank 8.4 percent as rival tokens, including Ether, Litecoin and XRP, also retreated.

INDIA

Fitch lowers growth forecast

Fitch Ratings Inc has lowered next year’s growth forecast for the nation from 7.8 percent to 7.2 percent. The forecast cut came in the middle of a power struggle between the Reserve Bank of India and the government, after the Ministry of Finance pushed to have a greater say over the central bank’s functioning. “So far, the Reserve Bank of India has dismissed calls by the government to provide emergency liquidity and to ease lending restrictions,” Fitch said in its latest Global Economic Outlook. Higher financing costs and reduced credit availability contributed to the lowering of the forecast, it said.

SOFTWARE

IBM sells assets to HCL

IBM Corp on Thursday agreed to sell US$1.8 billion in software assets to India’s HCL Technologies Ltd, part of the US company’s effort to focus more on cloud computing. HCL, based in New Delhi, is buying seven businesses focused on markets such as e-commerce and human resources, IBM said in a statement. The transaction is expected to close by the middle of next year, it said, adding that an existing licensing partnership between the two companies is to continue for five of the products. The latest deal came after the Armonk, New York-based company in October agreed to buy Red Hat Inc, a specialist in this area, for US$33 billion.

ITALY

Tria under pressure: report

The ruling Five Star Movement coalition wants Minister of Economy and Finances Giovanni Tria to step down, La Stampa said yesterday, without citing sources. Five Star blamed Tria for ceding too much ground in discussions with Brussels over Italy’s budget for next year, the newspaper said. However, Five Star’s ruling coalition partner, the right-wing League, was defending the minister and wanted him to remain, it said. Brussels has rejected the government’s budget, which it has said would not lower the nation’s large public debt as EU rules require.

BREXIT

Ireland could face hardship

Leaked British government papers indicated that Ireland could face food shortages and a 7 percent drop in GDP if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, the Times reported yesterday. The UK is due to leave the EU on March 29, yet British Prime Minister Theresa May has yet to get her Brexit deal approved by parliament.

GERMANY

Industrial production slips

Industrial production in October saw an unexpected dip, official data showed yesterday, suggesting a wobbly start to the fourth quarter for Europe’s top economy. Industrial output slipped 0.5 percent year-on-year, after a downwardly revised 0.1 percent rise in September, the Federal Statistical Office said. Analysts surveyed by FactSet Research Systems Inc had predicted a jump in October output.

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