Exports rise slightly
South Korean exports rose slightly last month on growing shipments of key products such as mobile devices and robust demand from China and the US, state data showed yesterday. Overseas shipments rose 2.6 percent from a year ago to reach US$45.84 billion after contracting 1 percent year-on-year in June, according to data from the trade ministry. Imports dropped 2.7 percent year-on-year to US$43.12 billion, the ministry said. Meanwhile, inflation accelerated to a five-month high last month on rising housing and utilities prices, but remained well below the central bank’s target range, state data showed. The consumer price index rose 1.4 percent year-on-year and was up 0.2 percent from June, the state-run Statistics Korea said.
Inflation hits high
Indonesia’s inflation hit its highest level last month since early 2009 after a fuel price hike and an increase in the cost of food during Ramadan, official data showed yesterday. The sharp rise to 8.61 percent year-on-year underscored the myriad risks facing Southeast Asia’s top economy, which is also battling slowing growth and a trade deficit. The consumer price index was at its highest level since January 2009 when it hit 9.17 percent, and rose from 5.90 percent in June.
Jobless rate steady
Germany’s unemployment rate rose to 6.8 percent last month due to seasonal factors such as the start of the summer holiday period, but the labor market in Europe’s biggest economy remained solid, official data showed Wednesday. The unadjusted jobless rate was up from 6.6 percent in June, with 2.914 million people registered as unemployed. That was an increase of 49,000 compared with the previous month, and 38,000 more than a year earlier, the Federal Labor Agency said. In seasonally adjusted terms, the jobless rate was steady at 6.8 percent for the third consecutive month, while the number of people out of work declined by 7,000.
S Korea’s ‘Macau’ no more
South Korea’s Incheon city says a US$290 billion plan to transform a fishing village into a rival to the Chinese gambling enclave of Macau has collapsed. Incheon Free Economic Zone official Jung Mi-hyun said yesterday luxury hotel operator Kempinski AG failed to raise a promised US$40 million by the end of last month. Kempinski’s Korean unit KI Corp is the largest shareholder in consortium Eightcity Co. Korean Air Lines is the second-largest. Incheon said the six-year-old contract with Eightcity is canceled. It will seek a new developer.
Sharp returns to black
Struggling Japanese electronics giant Sharp Corp said yesterday it shrunk its net loss between April and June, while returning to the black at the operating level.The maker of Aquos-brand electronics reported a net loss of ￥17.98 billion (US$183 million) in its fiscal first quarter, against a net loss of ￥138.4 billion a year earlier. Operating profit came in at ￥3.01 billion, against a loss of ￥94.13 billion a year before, it said. Sales climbed to ￥607.91 billion, up almost 33 percent, Sharp said. Sharp credited its improved results to cost cuts and rising sales of products, such as smartphones and solar batteries equipped with its prized IGZO screen technology.