Sat, Feb 09, 2019 - Page 5 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

FINLAND

Basic income trial fails

The government yesterday announced the first findings from a two-year basic income trial that ended a month ago, with researchers saying it failed to spur the unemployed to work more and earn more as was hoped. During the trial, 2,000 unemployed Finns became the first Europeans to enjoy a guaranteed basic income, a monthly pay check from the state, regardless of whether they found work or sat at home on the couch. The trial was the nation’s test of one alternative to renewing its social security model, a vast task expected to be tackled after parliamentary elections in April.

AUSTRALIA

RBA cuts growth forecasts

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) yesterday cut growth and inflation forecasts in response to weaker consumption as it assesses how slumping property prices could reverberate across the economy. Economic growth in the year ending June was lowered to 2.5 percent from 3.25 percent and by half a percentage point in the following 12 months, according to the Statement on Monetary Policy released in Sydney. Headline inflation is predicted to slump to 1.25 percent in the year through June due to lower oil prices. The RBA estimated that a sustained 15 percent fall in oil prices would cut about half a point from the consumer price index and could “cumulatively” lower core inflation by a quarter point through indirect effects over two to three years.

ENERGY

Total finds ‘significant’ gas

French energy giant Total SA on Thursday announced that it had found “significant” gas in the Outeniqua Basin, 175km off the southern coast of South Africa. Total chief executive officer Patrick Pouyanne said in a statement that the potential quantities “could be around one billion barrels of global resources, gas and condensate light oil.” South African Minister of Mineral Resources Gwede Mantashe welcomed the news of the discovery as “potentially a major boost” for the economy, which grew less than 1 percent last year.

FASHION

Gucci pulls sweater

Gucci on Thursday pulled a black polo neck sweater from its shops after it sparked comparisons with racially offensive golliwog and “blackface” imagery. The “balaclava jumper” can be pulled up to the eyes with the mouth visible through large red lips. “Happy Black History Month y’all,” one black American fashionista tweeted ironically, with others pointing out the resemblance to a golliwog. It is the third Italian brand to be hit in recent months by race rows, after Prada and Dolce & Gabbana. Gucci was quick to pull the jumper, issuing a statement of apology within hours of the first posts questioning it.

BANKING

SG lowers profit target

Societe Generale SA (SG) boosted its bottom line last year, but trimmed its profit target and announced plans to cut back its investment bank as the outlook for global finance remains topsy-turvy. The 3.9 billion euros (US$4.4 billion) in net profits were up 38 percent from 2017, but that was a year when Societe Generale booked considerable restructuring costs and legal settlements. The result beat the expectations of analysts, who were expecting an average of 3.6 billion euros, according to a survey by data firm Factset. Net banking income, the equivalent to revenue for a bank, rose 5.2 percent to 25.2 billion euros, in line with expectations.

AUTOMAKERS

Fiat pays US$77m penalty

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