Sat, Mar 23, 2019 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

FRANCE

Activity posts surprise drop

Economic woes resurfaced at the end of the first quarter as business activity unexpectedly resumed a decline. IHS Markit’s measure of manufacturing and services dropped to 48.7 this month, falling once again below the 50 level that separates expansion from contraction. The figure was less than last month’s reading of 50.4 and defied economists’ predictions for a small improvement.

ARGENTINA

Q4 worst since 2009

The economy sharply contracted in the fourth quarter with GDP falling 6.2 percent from a year earlier, the National Institute of Statistics and Censuses said on Thursday. It was the worst quarterly performance since 2009 after the global financial crisis. Analysts had forecast a 6.4 percent contraction. South America’s second-largest economy shrank 2.5 percent last year, the worst since 2014.

JAPAN

Most think dispute will last

Three in four companies expect US-China trade frictions to last until at least late this year, a sharp contrast to market hopes that the two sides might soon strike a deal, the monthly Reuters Corporate Survey found. Nine in 10 think China’s economic slowdown is to persist at least through late this year, with more than half anticipating that China would slow further next year or beyond, the survey showed.

INSURANCE

FWD talks Siam acquisition

Billionaire Richard Li’s (李澤楷) FWD Group (富衛) has revived talks about a potential acquisition of the life insurance operations of Thailand’s Siam Commercial Bank PCL after a two-year hiatus. Siam Commercial reached a preliminary pact with FWD on a potential life-insurance partnership, the lender said yesterday. A deal would see FWD acquire Siam Commercial’s life insurance unit and sign a long-term distribution agreement with the lender, the filing said.

BANKING

Deutsche hedges forecast

Deutsche Bank AG yesterday pledged to reverse years of declining revenue, while cautioning that the market environment so far is weaker than it had anticipated. Revenue for this year should be “slightly” higher than last year, assuming “solid” economic growth, the Frankfurt, Germany-based lender wrote in its annual report. The bank maintained a profitability target for this year, but said that the goal remains dependent on how markets develop.

SPORTSWEAR

Nike back to Q3 profit

Nike Inc on Thursday said that it returned to third-quarter profitability, while touting new investments in e-commerce and women’s athletics. The sports giant scored profits of US$1.1 billion in the quarter ending on Feb. 28, compared with a US$921 million loss in the same period a year ago due to a one-time tax cut. Revenues rose 7 percent to US$9.6 billion. Sales growth was led by China with 19 percent and sales in North America rose 7 percent.

TECHNOLOGY

Tencent loses on gaming

Tencent Holdings Ltd (騰訊) on Thursday said that net profit plunged 32 percent in the fourth quarter in its sharpest quarterly decline as the company weathered tightened regulations on gaming. Net profit came in at 14.23 billion yuan (US$2.12 billion), it said. Revenues rose 28 percent at 84.9 billion yuan last quarter, and 32 percent last year to 312.7 billion yuan driven in part by advertising.

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