Tax increase to be decided
Liberal Democratic Party Leader (LPD) Shinzo Abe said he would decide whether to increase a sales tax next year based on economic conditions in the second quarter. “It’s impossible to raise the tax if deflation deepens,” Abe said during a Fuji television program yesterday. A decision will be made after data on economic conditions from April to June become available next August, he said. Polls show the LDP, the largest opposition party, is on track to return to power it lost in 2009 after the election on Sunday, with Abe in line to become prime minister. Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda won parliamentary approval in August for his bill to raise the country’s sales tax for the first time in 15 years. The bill raises the tax to 8 percent in April 2014 and to 10 percent in 2015.
Meat packing plant relisted
A Canadian meatpacking plant involved in a large recall of contaminated beef products over E. coli bacteria concerns is again being allowed to ship products to the US. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency said on Friday that the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has relisted the XL Foods plant in Brooks, Alberta, effective immediately. Canada revoked the plant’s permit to export beef to the US on Sept. 13 at the request of the USDA after several of the company’s beef products were recalled. A massive recall was also implemented in Canada after 16 people became ill.
Economy to grow 3.5 percent
Treasury Secretary Luis Videgaray estimates the country’s economy will increase 3.5 percent next year, slightly less than the almost 4 percent growth next year. He expects inflation to run at 3 percent. Videgaray presented Congress on Friday with a balanced budget plan for next year. Lawmakers are expected to approve the budget by the end of the year. The treasury secretary projects next year’s price for a barrel of oil at US$84.90 and pegs output at 2.55 million barrels a day. Oil revenues finance about 30 percent of the federal government’s budget.
Cisco affirms growth target
Cisco Systems Inc chief executive officer John Chambers affirmed the company’s long-term revenue growth target of 5 percent to 7 percent as he expands software and services to lessen reliance on routers and switches. Cisco, the world’s largest maker of computer networking equipment, is looking for new markets amid intensifying competition from rivals. A central part of that effort has been the acquisition of software and services companies with strong recurring sales and profit margins. Services will become a bigger part of Cisco’s revenue, reaching 25 percent of sales, Chambers said on Friday at a financial analysts’ conference in New York. That business accounted for 21 percent of Cisco’s US$46.1 billion in revenue in the last fiscal year.
Groupon shares surge
Groupon shares surged on Friday as market players reacted to chatter about a possible takeover for the troubled online deals company. Groupon closed with a gain of 22.97 percent at US$4.68. The Chicago-based firm made no comment on reports of takeover talk. Nor did Google, which made an unsuccessful US$6 billion bid for Groupon a year ago. Groupon in September reported a loss of US$3 million in results that came up shy of most analyst forecasts for a small profit.