World Business Quick Take


Sat, Feb 16, 2013 - Page 6


No lithium batteries for A350

Airbus will not use lithium batteries in the A350 long-range liner under development, a company source told reporters yesterday, as investigations continue into battery fires that have grounded rival Boeing Co’s 787 Dreamliner carriers. “The first planes will be delivered with cadmium, not lithium batteries,” the source said, adding that the airliner’s first test flights will still take place with the lithium batteries. The announcement comes as Boeing’s 50 Dreamliners in service around the world have been grounded since last month, after battery smoke forced an emergency landing of one plane and a battery fire was reported on a parked plane. US air safety investigators have since focused on how a battery fire occurred on the parked plane at Boston’s Logan airport saying that evidence pointed to a single cell on the eight-cell lithium-ion battery, which short circuited, leading to a rise in temperature.


IMF warns on housing debts

The nation’s economy remains vulnerable to rising household debts, the IMF said on Thursday, and a further tightening of mortgage rules may be necessary to cool its hot housing market.The housing sector is “an important source of vulnerability, noting the rising household debt-to-income ratio,” IMF directors said in a report. Ottawa has tightened the rules for government-backed mortgage insurance and mortgage lending standards four times since late 2008. The measures have helped slow the pace of home price and mortgage debt increases, but prices are still elevated, the IMF said. Its directors “concurred that, should the household debt-to-income ratio continue to rise, additional measures may be needed” to avoid amplifying the impacts of a shock to the economy. The market expects the Bank of Canada to start raising its key lending rate from a near-historic low of one percent by year’s end, which would put downward pressure on home prices.

South Africa

New diamond mine planned

The world’s leading diamond company, De Beers, yesterday announced a US$2 billion investment in a new diamond mine that is scheduled to begin production in 2021. The underground mine is beneath the open-pit Venetia Mine in northern Limpopo Province. “The development and build phase of the underground mine is expected to create 1,000 jobs over the next nine years while open-pit mining operations continue,” De Beers said in a statement. The company estimates that the new mine will yield 96 million carats of diamonds and secure 3,000 jobs, for both skilled and semi-skilled workers.


Core inflation rate rises

The nation’s core inflation rate accelerated last month as the deepest austerity measures in the nation’s democratic history sustained price increases while pushing the economy deeper into recession. Core inflation, which excludes energy and fresh food prices, accelerated to 2.2 percent last month, the National Statistics Institute in Madrid said yesterday. That is more than the 2.1 percent median of four forecasts in a Bloomberg survey. Underlying prices fell 1.6 percent from the previous month. The headline inflation rate, based on EU calculations, was 2.8 percent, matching an estimate published on Jan. 31. Stripping out taxes, inflation was 0.7 percent last month, according to the national statistics institute, and 0.2 percent if fresh food and energy were also excluded, according to the Spanish measure.