Inflation falls below target
National inflation in the quarter from January to last month came in lower than forecast, data showed yesterday, underscoring softness in the economy and spurring talk of an interest rate cut. The consumer price index rose 0.4 percent quarter-on-quarter and 2.5 percent annually, the Bureau of Statistics said. Analysts had predicted 0.7 percent and 2.8 percent respectively. While the figures are up from the 0.5 percent and 2.2 percent seen in the previous three months, it is the second straight quarter that inflation has come short of expectations.
Inflation at seven-month low
The country’s inflation slowed to its weakest pace in seven months this month, official data showed yesterday, in the latest sign that the economy is losing steam. Consumer prices rose 6.61 percent year-on-year this month, the Government Statistics Office said, slightly less than the 6.64 percent increase reported last month. In the first quarter of the year, GDP grew by 4.89 percent from a year earlier, with authorities warning of an “extremely challenging” outlook.
Business confidence falls
The nation’s business confidence fell more sharply than expected this month, data showed yesterday, as businesses in Europe’s top economy become increasingly cautious in face of weak economic data. The Ifo Institute’s closely watched business climate index fell to 104.4 points this month from 106.7 points last month. Analysts had been expecting only a very slight decrease this month to 106.2 points. The sub-index measuring current business slipped fractionally to 107.2 points this month — its lowest level in four months — from 109.9 points last month, while the outlook sub-index fell by 2 points to 101.6 points.
Ninendo predicts profit rise
Japanese video game giant Nintendo Co yesterday forecast an eight-fold jump in net profit for the current fiscal year after saying it had returned to the black, helped by a weaker yen. The Kyoto-based firm said it expected to earn ￥55 billion (US$553 million) in the year to last month after reporting a ￥7.10 billion net profit in its latest business year. The first-quarter figure was only about half of the ￥14 billion it forecast in January.
TV business hurts LG profit
LG Electronics Inc yesterday said its first-quarter earnings shrank to a 10th of that posted a year earlier as its television business languished. The South Korean electronics giant said its net profit for the quarter fell to 22.1 billion won (US$19.7 million) from 247.5 billion won a year earlier. Sales rose 7 percent to 14.1 trillion won, while operating profit slipped 13 percent to 349.5 billion won. LG blamed the decline on lower profit from its TV business, which offset an improvement in its mobile phone business.
Ericsson’s Q1 earnings fall
Wireless equipment maker Ericsson yesterday said its first-quarter earnings dropped 86 percent to 1.2 billion Swedish kronor (US$180 million) compared with the same period last year after restructuring charges connected with the downsizing of its Sweden-based operations. The company said sales over the past three months rose 2 percent year-on-year to 52 billion kronor, with North America showing the strongest growth at 23 percent.