Fri, Sep 20, 2019 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

BRAZIL

Interest rates cut again

The central bank on Wednesday slashed interest rates to a record low for the second time in less than two months, as Latin America’s biggest economy struggles to grow. The bank cut its main rate from the previous historic low of 6 percent to 5.5 percent, citing risks of a “more intense slowdown in the global economy.” The nation avoided slipping back into recession in the second quarter after its economy grew 0.4 percent, compared with the first three months of the year when it shrank 0.1 percent.

NEW ZEALAND

Q2 growth at five-year low

Economic growth slowed to a five-year low in the second quarter, official data released yesterday showed. Statistics New Zealand said the economy expanded 0.5 percent in the April-to-June quarter, versus an expected 0.4 percent, as mining and manufacturing activity weakened. GDP growth rose 2.1 percent from a year earlier, but slowed from the first quarter’s 2.5 percent to become the weakest annual growth since the fourth quarter of 2013.

TECHNOLOGY

Microsoft eyes buyback

Microsoft Corp, the world’s largest software maker, said it would repurchase as much as US$40 billion of shares in a new buyback program and boosted its quarterly dividend by US$0.05 to US$0.51 a share. The repurchase authorization has no expiration date, and could be terminated at any time, Microsoft said on Wednesday in a statement. The company’s stock has risen 36 percent so far this year and its market capitalization remains at more than US$1 trillion.

BEVERAGES

Diageo forecasts organics

Spirits maker Diageo PLC yesterday said that it was “not immune” to changes in global trade policies. The Johnnie Walker whisky and Tanqueray gin maker said it continues to expect organic net sales growth to be toward the mid-point of a 4 to 6 percent range and organic operating profit to grow about 1 percentage point ahead of organic net sales. The company also said it expects first-half organic operating profit growth to be in line with or slightly behind organic net sales growth, due to stronger prior year comparables.

AVIATION

Boycott hurts Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways hit turbulence on Wednesday, posting a net loss of US$639 million for the year to March, which it blamed on key markets closing their airspace to Doha. The United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt have enforced an economic boycott of Qatar since June 2017. It was “a challenging year and while it is disappointing that [the group] has registered a net loss of 2.3 billion Qatari riyals — attributable to the loss of mature routes, higher fuel costs and foreign exchange fluctuations — the underlying fundamentals of our business remain extremely robust,” the airline said.

MANUFACTURING

Airbus faces spying probe

German prosecutors have opened an investigation into suspected internal spying by employees of European aviation giant Airbus over two arms projects, sources said on Wednesday. The suspicions arose “a few weeks ago,” and the company has alerted the authorities in Munich, an Airbus source said. “Some of our employees had documents that they shouldn’t have had,” the source said. The staff work in the Munich-based Program Line Communications, Intelligence and Security, which handles cybersecurity and related activities.

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