Sat, Mar 09, 2019 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

JAPAN

GDP beats growth estimates

The economy grew at an annual pace of 1.9 percent from October to December last year, revised data from the Cabinet Office showed. The figure released yesterday was an improvement over an earlier estimate of 1.4 percent growth in the final quarter of last year. It also showed a rebound from a 2.4 percent contraction in the previous quarter for the world’s third-largest economy as storms and earthquakes crimped travel and spending. On a quarterly basis, the economy grew 0.5 percent over the period.

UNITED STATES

Households’ net worth down

American households saw their net worth plummet at the end of last year amid a rout on Wall Street, the biggest tumble since the global financial crisis, the Federal Reserve reported on Thursday. Household net worth fell US$3.7 trillion to US$104.3 trillion in the final three months of the year, the report said. The 3.5 percent decline was the largest drop in percentage terms since the fourth quarter of 2008. The value of equities alone fell US$4.6 trillion during the quarter, but this was partly offset by gains in the value of real estate and other assets, the report said.

GERMANY

Factory orders drop 2.6%

Factory orders unexpectedly fell in January, piling on more evidence that Europe’s largest economy continued to lose momentum at the start of year. Orders were down 2.6 percent, the most since June, defying expectations for a 0.5 percent gain. December last year’s reading was revised up to a 0.9 percent increase from an originally reported 1.6 percent decline.

ITALY

Women lag in labor market

The nation’s women are lagging behind the rest of Europe when it comes to economic activity, meaning it is missing out on billions of euros each year. The proportion of working-age women participating in the labor market is the lowest in the region. Less than half of Italian women are employed and raising that level to match the euro-area average of 62.3 percent could boost GDP by 88 billion euros (US$98.6 billion) each year, Bloomberg calculations showed.

BANKING

Top German banks in talks

The top executives of Deutsche Bank AG and Commerzbank AG have resumed discussions on a possible merger of the two lenders, the German magazine Focus reported, citing unidentified people familiar with the matter. Deutsche Bank chief executive officer Christian Sewing has been in intense talks with Commerzbank chief executive officer Martin Zielke for some days, after receiving a mandate from their management and supervisory boards, Focus said. In September last year, Sewing said his bank was open to a merger.

TELECOMS

No German ban on Huawei

Germany does not want to ban Chinese telecoms equipment maker Huawei Technologies Co (華為) from building its 5G networks, German Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Peter Altmaier said on Thursday. However, the government would change the law to ensure that all components used in the 5G networks would be secure and that there would be no breaches of data protection rules, he said. Germany also would not use its increased veto powers to fend off foreign takeovers in this case, because the construction of the 5G network was not an issue of a merger or an acquisition, he said.

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