Sat, May 25, 2019 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

AGRICULTURE

Aid could influence planting

The latest round of farm aid by US President Donald Trump’s administration might fail in its aim to avoid influencing US planting decisions. The US$16 billion package — offered to help producers struggling in the wake of a US-China trade war — would include direct payments to farmers. To get them, growers must plant crops such as soybeans, corn and wheat. That seems simple enough, except that after heavy rains and flooding in the nation’s heartland this spring, farmers were expected to discontinue their planting plans. Speculation was mounting that growers would instead opt to make claims for so-called prevented plant insurance. As of Sunday, corn sowing was at the slowest pace on record for this time of year. The US Department of Agriculture just “effectively extended” the spring planting season, said Sam Hudson, an agriculture marketing consultant at Cornbelt Marketing in Brimfield, Illinois.

AUTOMAKERS

Moody’s cuts Nissan rating

Moody’s Investors Service yesterday cut Nissan Motor Co’s credit rating by a notch, citing Nissan’s weakening profitability and margins over the past two years. The issuer rating was lowered from “A2” to “A3,” the ratings company said in a statement. Moody’s had placed the Yokohama, Japan-based automaker on negative watch in February. The latest downgrade came days after S&P Global Ratings placed the automaker’s rating on negative watch, saying that there is a more than a one-in-three chance of a further delay in Nissan’s profit recovery. Earlier this month, Nissan cut its full-year earnings forecast after third-quarter profit missed analysts’ estimates, adding to fallout from the arrest of former chairman Carlos Ghosn. It would take several years to gauge the success of Nissan’s strategy of emphasizing margin over unit sales growth, refreshing old models and lowering discounted bulk sales, Moody’s said.

OIL

Russia to take back dirty oil

Russia plans to take back about 1 million tonnes of contaminated oil from Belarus as it cleans up the Druzhba export pipeline section leading to Poland and Germany, four industry sources familiar with the plan told reporters. The plan was discussed at talks in Warsaw on Thursday between Russian, Belarussian and European companies. Another roughly 1 million tonnes stuck in Poland and Germany would be left there to be dealt with by those countries, the sources said. The plan for contaminated crude in the pipeline further west, in Poland and Germany, is that it would be taken off by local refiners, three of the four sources said.

RETAIL

British sales flat last month

British shoppers last month paused for breath after months of strong buying, according to official data that showed continued underlying strength of consumer spending during the Brexit crisis. Monthly retail sales volumes were flat last month, the British Office for National Statistics said, compared with a median forecast for a 0.3 percent decline in a Reuters poll of economists. However, in the three months to last month, sales increased 1.8 percent, the fastest growth by this measure since August last year. Consumer spending has been a relative bright spot for the British economy, contrasting with businesses cutting on investment throughout last year and slower global growth. Compared with April last year, sales were up by 5.2 percent after a 6.7 percent annual rise in March, better than expected in the Reuters poll.

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