Thu, Dec 05, 2019 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

AUSTRALIA

Economy slows down

The economy slowed last quarter as interest-rate cuts and government tax rebates failed to spur household spending, reinforcing expectations that the Reserve Bank of Australia will need to resume easing next year. GDP advanced 0.4 percent from the second quarter, when it rose an upwardly revised 0.6 percent, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said in Sydney yesterday. Economists forecast 0.5 percent for the three months through September. From a year earlier, GDP gained 1.7 percent, in line with estimates. The report came a day after the bank held interest rates at 0.75 percent following three cuts since June.

HONG KONG

Business outlook worsens

Business outlook worsened further last month with the territory mired in recession amid protests and a volatile macroeconomic picture. The purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for the whole economy fell to 38.5 for the lowest reading since April 2003, down from 39.3 a month earlier, according to IHS Markit, which surveyed about 400 private-sector companies. The gauge has now been below the 50 level that divides expansion and contraction since April last year. The combined PMI readings for October and last month put the economy on track to contract more than 5 percent in the fourth quarter of this year barring a significant rebound this month, it said.

INDIA

Services sector rebounds

The country’s dominant services sector rebounded last month, providing some cautious optimism that the economy might be turning the corner. The IHS Markit India Services PMI rose to a four-month high of 52.7, the first time in three months that the reading has been above 50 to mark an expansion in output. The improvement was driven by higher orders and strengthening business confidence. The index is still below its long-run average of 54.2. The rise in the services index followed data earlier this week showing manufacturing also improved last month, resulting in the composite PMI jumping from 49.6 to 52.7.

ENERGY

Tariffs to hurt solar sector

Tariffs imposed by US President Donald Trump would cost the US solar industry US$19 billion in investment and lead to more than 62,000 lost jobs by 2021, the Solar Energy Industries Association said in a report. It found that the tariffs prompted a handful of manufacturers to open panel factories in the US, but they drove up costs to build solar farms. Developers canceled 10.5 gigawatts of projects, enough to power 1.8 million homes. The net impact was 31 jobs lost for every new position created by the duties, the report said.

PHARMACEUTICALS

Regulator reiterates drug ban

The Drug Controller General of India regulator has asked all states to enforce a court directive prohibiting online medicine sales, a senior government official said on Tuesday, raising industry concerns that it could disrupt some online businesses. The country is yet to finalize regulations for online drug sales, or e-pharmacies, but the growth of several online sellers, such as Medlife International, Netmeds, Temasek Holdings Pte-backed PharmEasy and Sequoia Capital-backed 1mg, has threatened traditional drugstore businesses. The Delhi High Court in December last year said the government must ensure online sales are prohibited for the time being, as it heard a petition from a doctor who said unregulated online sales could lead to abuse of medicines.

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