Fri, Jun 21, 2019 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take



Slow GDP growth in Q1

Economic growth remained sluggish at 0.6 percent in the first three months of this year, official data showed yesterday, fueling expectations of another interest rate cut before year’s end. The modest increase in GDP for the quarter was the same as the growth rate in the final three months of last year, Statistics New Zealand said. It said the figure was boosted by a 3.7 percent rise in construction and brought the country’s annual growth to 2.7 percent for the year to March 31. The Reserve Bank of New Zealand cut its base rate to a record low of 1.5 percent last month.


Interest rates raised again

The nation’s central bank yesterday delivered its third interest rate hike since September last year and signaled there is more to come, in a move that further widens the gap between it and the world’s major central banks. “Our current assessment of the outlook and balance of risks suggests that the policy rate will most likely be increased further in the course of 2019,” Norges Bank Governor Oystein Olsen said in a statement. The deposit rate was raised by a quarter point to 1.25 percent, as expected. The krone surged 1 percent against the euro, its strongest gain since March. Against the US dollar, the krone was up 1.5 percent.


Ministry mulls tax measures

The nation is considering increasing the personal income tax threshold in next month’s budget, people familiar with the matter said yesterday, as authorities seek to kick-start consumption in the economy. Minister of Finance Nirmala Sitharaman might raise the tax exemption limit for working-age individuals to 300,000 rupees (US$4,312) of their annual income, up from 250,000 rupees, the people said. The tax measures have not been finalized yet. The economy has slowed sharply this year, with growth reaching a five-year low of 5.8 percent in the first three months of the year.


Sustainability bonds surge

The nation has this year become the world’s biggest source of so-called sustainability bonds, as borrowers rush to sell notes that can fund projects to help the middle-class and smaller firms in a sluggish economy. Sales of debt globally for sustainability projects have more than doubled this year to US$16.4 billion, and South Korea makes up about 16 percent of that total, data compiled by Bloomberg show. The Ministry of Economy and Finance sold its first green and sustainability note last week, following issuance of such debt this year by five domestic firms, including KEB Hana Bank and Kookmin Bank.


Oracle beats expectations

Oracle Corp on Wednesday reported quarterly sales that topped Wall Street estimates on strong demand for applications, marking the world’s second-largest software maker’s return to growth amid a crucial transition to cloud-based computing. Revenue for the fourth quarter of its 2019 fiscal year, which ended on May 31, increased to US$11.1 billion, up 1.1 percent from a year earlier, the company said in a statement. Analysts, on average, projected US$10.9 billion, data compiled by Bloomberg showed. Profit, excluding some expenses, was US$1.16 a share, compared with estimates of US$1.07 a share.

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