Wed, Dec 04, 2019 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

AUSTRALIA

Central bank maintains rates

The central bank yesterday held interest rates at a record low, despite “uncertainty” over consumer spending ahead of the festive season. The cash rate would remain unchanged at 0.75 percent as downside risks in the global economy “lessened recently,” Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Philip Lowe said. The resource-rich economy recorded its weakest annual growth in a decade for the year to June, expanding just 1.4 percent, but Lowe said that it has reached a “gentle turning point.” He said he expected growth to pick up to three percent by 2021.

TECHNOLOGY

T-Mobile begins 5G services

T-Mobile US Inc on Monday said that it became the first company to launch 5G wireless services across the US, although it would be slower than some expect for the new generation of connectivity. The number three US carrier said that its 5G network covers 200 million people and “goes through walls,” outperforming the limited 5G deployment of larger rivals Verizon Communications Inc and AT&T Inc earlier this year. The T-Mobile system operates on a low band that offers speeds faster than current 4G networks, but below the maximum promised for 5G. However, the company called it “real, standards-based 5G.”

INTERNET

Facbook testing transfer tool

Facebook Inc on Monday began testing a tool that lets users move their images more easily to other online services, as it faces pressure from regulators to loosen its grip on data. The social network’s new tool allows people to transfer their photographs and videos directly to competing platforms, starting with Google Photos. The company said that it would first be available to people in Ireland and would be refined based on user feedback. The tool would then be rolled out worldwide in the first half of next year.

BANKING

UniCredit to cut 8,000 jobs

Italian bank UniCredit SpA plans to reduce 8,000 jobs under a three-year plan that aims to increase shareholder value. UniCredit aims to close 500 branches, putting the customer focus on “streamlined processes and innovative products,” it said. The bank, Italy’s largest by assets, yesterday said that net profit would grow to 5 billion euros (US$5.5 billion) by 2023, from a forecast 4.7 billion euros this year, with earnings per share rising 12 percent per year. The bank also plans to return 8 billion euros in value to shareholders through share buybacks, which would reduce its market exposure and increase the value of shares traded, and dividends, which would increase by 40 percent in the period.

UNITED STATES

Manufacturing activity drops

Pain in the US’ manufacturing sector worsened last month as activity contracted for the fourth straight month, an industry survey released on Monday showed. Amid a slowing global economy and trade disputes, weak demand again ate into production of metals, wood products, plastics, appliances, oil, furniture and textiles, the Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) monthly report said. Inventories and prices fell for the sixth month in a row, while backlogs were the lowest in nearly four years. ISM’s index edged down two-tenths of a point to 48.1 percent, marking a faster rate of contraction than in October. Any reading below 50 indicates contraction.

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