Banks set interest rates
Brazil’s Central Bank announced on Wednesday it had raised by 0.5 percentage points the benchmark interest rate to 9.5 percent, in an expected move to fight rising inflation. Following a meeting of the bank’s monetary policy committee on Tuesday, “this decision will contribute to lower inflation and ensure that this trend will continue next year,” the body said. Consumer prices in Brazil edged up 0.35 percent last month. South Korea’s central bank yesterday kept its benchmark interest rate unchanged at 2.5 percent for the fifth straight month. In a widely expected move, Bank of Korea Governor Kim Choong-Soo and his six fellow policymakers froze the overnight inter-bank lending rate for this month at 2.5 percent.
Australia adds 9,100 jobs
Australia’s unemployment rate eased to 5.6 percent last month, retreating from a four-year high with the creation of 9,100 jobs in a better-than-expected performance boosted by election-related work. The seasonally adjusted jobless rate receded from August’s 5.8 percent — a level not seen since the global financial crisis as Australia’s mining-powered economy confronts a peak in resources investment due to slowing commodity prices.
Japanese orders jump
Japan’s machinery orders jumped to ￥819.3 billion (US$8.4 billion) in August, the highest since the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc in 2008 and a sign of a strengthening economic revival. Orders excluding ships and power generation rose 5.4 percent from the previous month, more than double the 2.5 percent median forecast in a survey. The numbers build on a Tankan report released on Tuesday last week that showed confidence among large manufacturers at the highest since the global financial crisis.
Cabinet approves cuts
Prime Minister Enrico Letta’s Cabinet approved 1.1 billion euros (US$1.5 billion) of spending cuts and plans to sell real estate to meet deficit targets. The divestitures and cuts will be spread across various ministries and bring the deficit to within 3 percent of GDP this year, Minister of Finance Fabrizio Saccomanni said on Wednesday. The government is to raise 500 million euros selling property to Cassa Depositi e Prestiti SpA or other state-owned companies, he said.
Samsung gets windfall
Samsung Electronics Co will reap a US$1.4 billion windfall from its decision two years ago to accept stock in Seagate Technology PLC as partial payment for selling its computer hard-disk drive business. Samsung sold the unit in April 2011 for US$687.5 million in cash and US$687.5 million in stock. Since then Seagate’s shares have more than doubled and Samsung agreed to sell part of the stake back to the Dublin-based company.
Disney moves to e-stocks
Stock certificates issued by The Walt Disney Co are heading off to Never Never Land. The stock, which features images of Dumbo, Bambi, Mickey Mouse, Cinderella and other Disney animated characters, have long been a collector’s item. However, US corporations have been switching to electronic stocks for years and on Wednesday, Disney will follow suit, in an effort to create a more secure and efficient system.