FDI rebounds slightly
Foreign direct investment (FDI) in the nation rose marginally in the first quarter, led by Japanese, EU and US companies, after declining last year, the government announced yesterday. Incoming FDI, which excludes financial sectors, rose 1.4 percent from January to March to US$29.9 billion, the Ministry of Commerce said. It was also up 5.65 percent at US$12.4 billion last month, rising for the second straight month.
Central bank raises key rate
The central bank has increased its key Selic interest rate for the first time in nearly two years to try to cool off inflation. A statement from the bank on Wednesday said it increased the benchmark rate from a record-low 7.25 percent to 7.5 percent. The bank said the increase was needed because of inflation’s “resistance” despite a slowing of the economy. Inflation ran at 6.6 percent in March over the previous 12 months. The government had set 6.5 percent as its target for inflation for this year.
EBay records profitable Q1
EBay Inc grew its earnings and revenue in the first quarter thanks to growth in its PayPal business and its e-commerce sites. However, revenue fell shy of Wall Street’s expectations and the company’s outlook for the current quarter is weaker than expected, causing investors to send the company’s stock lower in after-hours trading. EBay on Wednesday said it earned US$677 million, or US$0.51 per share, in the period between January and last month, up from US$570 million, or US$0.44 per share, in the same period a year earlier. Revenue grew 14 percent to US$3.75 billion, slightly below Wall Street’s expectations.
FOOD & BEVERAGE
Nestle posts sales growth
Swiss food and drinks giant Nestle SA yesterday reported first-quarter sales of 21.9 billion Swiss francs (US$23.48 billion), up 2.3 percent from the same period a year earlier. The company said sales in developed markets continue to be subdued by low consumer confidence amid global financial uncertainty both in the US — which is Nestle’s biggest market — and in Europe. The company expects to see stronger momentum in key emerging markets, where it reported 8.4 percent growth in the first quarter.
EU crisis hits Carrefour
French big-box retailer Carrefour SA saw sales slip in the first quarter due to the economic crisis in Europe and currency depreciation in Latin America. The retailer yesterday reported 20.8 billion euros (US$27.3 billion) in revenue in th eperiod between January and last month, a 1.3 percent drop when sales from discontinued operations are excluded. By pulling out of Singapore, Greece, Indonesia, Malaysia and Colombia, Carrefour tripled its profits last year, but its sales are flagging. The company’s most worrying performance is in Europe.
Shell closes Nigerian line
Royal Dutch Shell PLC on Wednesday said it has shut down a major pipeline in Nigeria’s oil-rich southern delta to remove points that thieves are using to steal crude from it. Shell said its Nigerian subsidiary shut down the Nembe Creek Trunkline, halting production of about 150,000 barrels of oil a day. Shell said it had issued a force majeure warning on its Bonny Light crude oil exports — meaning it is unable to meet the contracted demand for the crude.