Sat, Feb 16, 2019 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

SINGAPORE

GDP growth slows

The economy grew at a slower pace in the fourth quarter than previously estimated, a sign that US-China trade tensions and weaker global demand are starting to bite. GDP increased an annualized 1.4 percent from the prior quarter, lower than the government’s earlier projection of 1.6 percent and the median forecast of 1.5 percent in a Bloomberg survey. The economy grew 1.9 percent in the fourth quarter from a year earlier. Growth in total merchandise trade and non-oil domestic exports is expected to be between zero and 2 percent this year, the government said.

CHINA

PPI, CPI lower than forecast

Factory and consumer price inflation rose at a slower rate than expected last month as global growth cools and the US trade spat drags on, official data showed yesterday. The producer price index (PPI) — an important barometer of the industrial sector that measures the cost of goods at the factory gate — rose 0.1 percent year-on-year last month, compared with a 0.9 percent rise the previous month. Meanwhile, the consumer price index (CPI) — a key measure of retail inflation — rose 1.7 percent, compared with 1.9 percent in December.

PHARMACEUTICALS

Takeda files for huge bond

Takeda Pharmaceutical Co has filed to issue up to ¥500 billion (US$4.53 billion) of notes in what would be corporate Japan’s biggest ever bond if done in a single tranche. The Osaka-based drug maker has taken on massive debt for its US$62 billion takeover of Shire PLC, which vaulted it into the ranks of the 10 biggest drug makers by sales, while more than doubling its borrowing level. Takeda registered to sell a 60-year subordinated bond that can be called in about five years, according to a regulatory filing yesterday.

CHINA

Brazilian chicken levied

The country yesterday announced anti-dumping duties on Brazilian chicken, saying investigations had revealed that poultry imports had done “substantive damage” to the domestic broiler industry. The tariffs — ranging from 17.8 percent to 32.4 percent — are to take effect from Sunday and remain in place for five years, the Ministry of Commerce said. Some companies that have pledged to import at not lower than an agreed minimum price would be exempt, it added.

UNITED STATES

Retail spending plummets

Retail spending unexpectedly took its biggest tumble in nearly a decade during the key holiday shopping period, Department of Commerce data showed on Thursday. For the month of December, retail spending tallied at US$505.8 billion, seasonally adjusted, a 1.2 percent dip from the previous month, marking the largest month-to-month decrease since September 2009. Economists had been expecting an increase of 0.2 percent.

BANKING

RBS plans special dividend

Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC (RBS) plans to award shareholders a special dividend, signaling the state-controlled lender can weather the storm from the uncertainties surrounding Brexit in the months ahead. The bank, which swung to a better-than-expected profit before tax of £572 million (US$731.99 million) in the fourth quarter, still targets a cost income ratio below 50 percent. However, it said this goal was “increasingly challenging” due to the political and economic headwinds facing the UK.

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