Fri, Jan 10, 2020 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take



CPI rises 4.5% annually

Consumer inflation last month steadied, while factory price declines moderated, leaving room for monetary easing to cement a stabilization in economic growth. The consumer price index rose 4.5 percent last month from a year earlier, matching November’s rate and halting an acceleration fueled by surging pork prices. The producer price index declined 0.5 percent from a year earlier and from a 1.4 percent drop in November. While pork prices — a key element in the country’s CPI basket — rose 97 percent from a year earlier, that was actually slower than increases seen in October and November. They fell 5.6 percent last month from November.


Final deal needs ‘more time’

A comprehensive agreement on the relationship between the kingdom and the EU would take longer to negotiate than the 11-month transition period that begins when it leaves the bloc at the end of this month, European Commission Chief Negotiator for Brexit Michel Barnier said yesterday. After the kingdom exits on Jan. 31, the sides would have until the end of the year to negotiate a new trade relationship — a short period given the complexity of the discussions. “We are ready to do our best and to do the maximum in the 11 months to secure a basic agreement with the UK, but we will need more time to agree on each and every point of this political declaration,” Barnier said in a speech in Stockholm.


Vehicle sales continue to fall

Vehicle sales last month continued to fall, capping a second straight annual decline for the world’s biggest market, which is showing few signs of emerging from its historic slump. Sales of sedans, sport utility vehicles, minivans and multipurpose vehicles fell 3.6 percent last month from a year earlier to 2.17 million units, the China Passenger Car Association said yesterday. The drop was the 18th in the past 19 months, with the only gain coming in June last year, when dealers offered large discounts to clear inventory. The full-year decline was 7.5 percent. Automakers and dealerships are struggling as a slowing economy and tariff uncertainties caused by trade tensions keep consumers away from showrooms. General Motors Co on Tuesday said that sales in the nation last year plunged 15 percent and warned that pressure on its business would continue this year. Local manufacturers are also reeling, with BYD Co (比亞迪) posting a 11 percent drop in last year’s sales and SAIC Motor Corp (上海汽車) reporting an 11.5 percent decline.


Fast Retailing lowers outlook

Uniqlo owner Fast Retailing Co lowered its full-year profit outlook after Japan’s weather and a sales-tax hike delivered a double blow to its first-quarter results. Asia’s largest retailer said that earnings for the year through August would be ¥245 billion (US$2.24 billion), the company said in a statement yesterday. Fast Retailing in October last year predicted annual operating profit of ¥275 billion. The first quarter is typically a strong one, but Uniqlo’s domestic same-store sales fell for three straight months as consumer spending was dampened by a typhoon and an increase in the country’s sales tax in October. A warm November also deterred shoppers from buying the company’s popular cold-weather clothing. Fast Retailing reported operating profit of ¥91.7 billion for the quarter ended in November, missing analysts’ average estimate of ¥109.7 billion.

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