HK’s 0.2% rise disappoints
Hong Kong’s economy grew a slower-than-expected 0.2 percent in the first three months of this year, the slowest pace in three quarters, as China’s expansion cooled. The increase from the previous three months compared with a revised 1.4 percent gain in the fourth quarter, the government said yesterday. The economy grew 2.8 percent from a year earlier, it said, while reaffirming a February projection of economic growth of 1.5 percent to 3.5 percent this year.
India car sales drop 10.43%
India’s domestic passenger car sales, seen as an indicator of overall economic health, fell 10.43 percent to 150,789 vehicles last month from 168,354 units in the same month a year earlier, industry data showed yesterday, as the country’s once red-hot car market reels from high ownership costs, costly fuel and an economic downturn. The sales drop was the sixth monthly fall in a row and marked the longest stretch of decline since the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers began keeping records six years ago.
German exports up 0.5%
German exports rose 0.5 percent in March compared with the previous month. The increase announced yesterday by the Federal Statistical Office was not enough to make up a for a 1.2 percent decrease in February, but it was the third increase in four months. In year-on-year terms, exports were down 4.2 percent in March at 94.6 billion euros (US$124 billion). That figure was dragged lower by a 7 percent decline in exports to the eurozone.
First Cyprus bailout soon
The IMF on Thursday said it would likely disburse its first bailout loan to Cyprus after next week’s board meeting on Wednesday. If the board approves the disbursement, it was expected to be made “shortly after the board meeting,” IMF spokesman Gerry Rice said at a news conference. Following prolonged negotiations, the so-called troika of international lenders — the IMF, the European Commission and the European Central Bank — agreed in late March to lend 10 billion euros to Cyprus.
Amazon looks to 3D screens
Amazon, long rumored to be developing its own smartphone, is working on a screen that allows people to see 3D images without glasses, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday. The company is working on several gadgets to add to its offerings of Kindle tablets and e-readers, the Journal said in the report, citing people familiar with Amazon’s plans. The devices include two smartphones and an audio-only streaming device, the newspaper said.
ArcelorMittal posts loss
ArcelorMittal SA, the global steel-making giant, has reported a loss for the first quarter of the year, even as restructuring efforts are beginning to pay off and the steel market is stabilizing after a sharp decline in the middle of last year. The net loss was US$345 million, compared with a profit of US$92 million in the first quarter of last year. The poor results were due to weaker operations and a high base last year because of a tax windfall. Sales fell 13 percent to US$19.8 billion, and operating profit fell 50 percent to US$404 million.