Lockheed to furlough staff
Lockheed Martin says it will furlough 3,000 employees tomorrow due to the US government shutdown. The big defense contractor on Friday said that the number of employees put on furlough will increase weekly if the shutdown continues. Lockheed said the furloughs include staff who cannot work because the US government facility where they work is closed and those whose jobs require a government inspection that cannot be completed or for which the company has received a stop work order. United Technologies Corp said earlier in the week that it will furlough 2,000 employees by tomorrow and more than 5,000 if the shutdown continues next month.
IMF cuts Ireland forecast
The IMF on Friday slashed its growth forecasts for Ireland after predicting weaker consumer demand and export growth for the bailed-out eurozone nation. The IMF, which formed a central part of Ireland’s international rescue in 2010 that was worth 85 billion euros (US$115.2 at current exchange rates), said it expects Ireland’s economy to grow by 0.6 percent this year, compared with a previous forecast of 1.1 percent. It added that GDP was forecast to expand by 1.8 percent next year, compared with its earlier prediction of 2.2 percent. “Most importantly, export growth has been cut by 1.5 percentage points,” the IMF said in a report. “Weaker consumption and export growth are expected to dampen the pace of recovery, with growth now penciled in at 1.8 percent in 2014.”
Wal-Mart in talks with Bharti
Wal-Mart Stores Inc, the world’s largest retailer, said it is in talks with Indian partner Bharti Enterprises Pvt on its future business plan and aims to reach an agreement in the next few weeks. Wal-Mart has a “very good” relationship with Bharti and has had multiple conversations with billionaire owner Sunil Mittal in the past few days to determine the next steps, Scott Price, head of Wal-Mart’s Asia operations, said yesterday. His comments come after Indian media have suggested that Bharti is seeking to exit the joint venture due to Wal-Mart’s lack of progress in expanding operations in the country. While New Delhi changed laws in September last year to allow foreign retailers to own majority stakes in multi-brand retail chains, no global retailers have sought such licenses yet. Rules covering sourcing, infrastructure investment and store location were also eased to entice global chains to open retail stores in India.
Challenges to growth seen
The Asia-Pacific region will have a challenging time sustaining economic growth, as it is constrained by volatility in financial markets and a slow recovery in advanced nations, Moody’s Investors Service said. The region still has a “long way to go” in shifting from export-led growth to driven by domestic demand, Michael Taylor, Moody’s chief credit officer for Asia, told reporters yesterday in Nusa Dua, Indonesia, where trade and foreign ministers from APEC members are attending a summit. “What we are sensing is that there is a change in the economic cycle and sustaining the levels of economic growth that we have seen in the region over the last five years is going to become more challenging,” Taylor said.