Growth forecast lowered
The World Bank yesterday said that it had lowered its forecast for annual economic growth this year to 1.4 percent from a projection of 1.5 percent in January. “A downgraded forecast for gross domestic product growth in 2019 reflects lower oil prices; the medium-term outlook remains modest,” the World Bank said. Real GDP growth exceeded expectations last year, reaching 2.3 percent, but the rise was largely due to “one-off effects in non-housing construction,” the bank said.
Economic situation ‘delicate’
European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs Pierre Moscovici yesterday said that the nation’s economic situation was “delicate” and needed to be monitored closely. Arriving at a meeting of eurozone finance ministers in Bucharest, Moscovici cited non-EU figures pointing to no growth or even recession for Italy. “These are figures that we need to follow very closely,” he said. In its latest estimates released in February, the European Commission forecast 0.2 percent growth for the nation this year.
Ghosn to remain in custody
Former Nissan Motor Co chief executive Carlos Ghosn is to remain in custody until at least April 14, a Japanese court ruled yesterday, as prosecutors quizzed him over fresh allegations of financial misconduct. The Tokyo District Court said in a statement that it had accepted a request from prosecutors to detain the 65-year-old auto tycoon for a further 10-day period that can subsequently be extended once more. Ghosn’s lead lawyer, Junichiro Hironaka, has vowed to appeal the decision.
Swedbank chairman quits
Swedbank AB chairman Lars Idermark yesterday said that he would leave his position at the bank with immediate effect, just a week after Swedbank’s chief executive was ousted over her handling of a fast-growing money laundering scandal. Idermark said in a statement that he was stepping down as the intense attention would affect his role as chief executive of forestry group Sodra. The allegations against Swedbank have linked it to the US$230 billion Danske Bank A/S Estonian money laundering scandal.
Court rejects Texaco appeal
The Canadian Supreme Court on Thursday declined to hear an appeal from a group of Ecuadoran villagers seeking compensation from the Canadian subsidiary of US energy giant Chevron Corp over oil pollution in the Amazon jungle. The villagers from central Ecuador want the company to pay for pollution of native lands between 1964 and 1992 by Texaco, a US oil subsidiary the firm bought in 2001. The decision puts an end to the group’s attempt to sue Chevron Canada Ltd for US$9.5 billion.
Wages fall unexpectedly
Wages fell unexpectedly in February, adding to concerns that the economy is losing momentum and that inflation might evaporate later this year. Household spending increased slightly less than forecast. Labor cash earnings fell 0.8 percent year-on-year, the ministry of health, labor and welfare reported yesterday, compared with projections for them to advance 0.9 percent. Household spending rose 1.7 percent from a year earlier, data from the ministry of internal affairs and communications showed, versus the median estimate of an increase of 1.9 percent.