Tue, Jul 02, 2019 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

GERMANY

June jobless rate flat at 5%

Unemployment held steady last month, official data showed yesterday, after the measure rose off historic lows for the first time in almost six years the previous month. At 5 percent, the jobless rate was the same as in May, when it rose 0.1 percentage points from April, figures from the Federal Employment Agency showed. The measure’s steady level was in line with forecasts from analysts surveyed by Factset. In absolute terms, the number out of work fell by 20,000 people to just more than 2.2 million.

GAMING

Macau revenue rises 5.9%

Macau casino revenue grew for a second straight month in a sign that the world’s largest gaming hub is holding its ground even as a prolonged trade war bites into China’s economic growth. Gross gaming revenue for Macau casino operators was 23.8 billion patacas (US$3 billion) last month, up 5.9 percent from a year earlier, according to data from the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau. That was better than the median analyst estimate of a 1.8 percent increase and follows modest growth in May.

CURRENCY

ECO is new currency name

Leaders of the member states of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on Saturday formally agreed to name a planned common currency the “ECO.” The aim is to have the currency in place by next year, a statement by the 15-member group said, adding that the currency would be based on a flexible exchange rate regime, coupled with a monetary policy framework focused on inflation targeting. The group would work with the West African Monetary Agency, West African Monetary Institute and central banks to facilitate implementation of a revised single-currency road map, to be presented at the next regular meeting, it said.

INVESTMENT

China eases restrictions

The Chinese government has promised to ease restrictions on foreign investment in gas pipelines, call centers and some other businesses in its latest market-opening measures. Sunday’s Cabinet announcement adds to a series of such measures announced amid trade tensions with Washington, though none directly addresses US complaints about Beijing’s technology ambitions and controls on foreign companies. The latest measures also promise more foreign access to some businesses in agriculture and mining.

TRADE

EU, Vietnam sign FTA

The EU on Sunday signed a landmark free-trade agreement (FTA) with Vietnam, the first of its kind with a developing country in Asia, paving the way for tariff reductions on 99 percent of goods between the bloc and the Southeast Asian nation. The two sides announced the deal in a statement. It still needs the approval of the European Parliament, which is not a given as some lawmakers are concerned about Vietnam’s human rights record.

SEMICONDUCTORS

API buying ex-Hitachi unit

Applied Materials Inc (API), the biggest maker of machines used to make semiconductors, is buying Hitachi Kokusai Electric Inc from KKR in a deal worth about ¥250 billion (US$2.3 billion), a person with knowledge of the matter said, asking not to be identified because the details are not public. Investment firm KKR bought the Japanese mobile phone and wireless communication equipment manufacturer, a former unit of Hitachi, in a tender offer in 2017.

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