Unemployment rate falls
South Korea’s unemployment rate declined last month to a seasonally adjusted 2.7 percent, led by new jobs in service industries, state data showed yesterday. The latest jobless rate compared with the 3 percent reported in August and 2.9 percent in September last year, Statistics Korea said. The total number of employed people also rose by 463,000 to 25.46 million last month — the biggest year-on-year gain for 12 months. However, the unemployment rate among those fresh out of college — aged 25 to 29 — was higher at 7.7 percent, compared with 7.6 percent in August and 6.7 percent a year ago.
UK expands yuan business
The UK joined Hong Kong and Taiwan in being allowed by China to take part in a program allowing offshore yuan to be invested in Chinese securities, a move that bolsters efforts to internationalize the currency. China approved an 80 billion yuan (US$13 billion) quota for investors in London to buy onshore assets under the Renminbi Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor scheme, British Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said in Beijing on Tuesday. The deal was part of a series of agreements signed during Osborne’s trip, which include direct trading between the yuan and the pound and allowing Chinese lenders to open wholesale banking branches in the British capital.
Faster China growth seen
The Chinese economy may have expanded by 7.8 percent in the third quarter, analysts polled by Agence France-Presse forecast ahead of the release of the figures tomorrow, in what could be the first acceleration in the world’s second-largest economy for almost a year. The median forecast in a survey of 11 economists saw growth ahead of both the 7.5 percent logged in the April-to-June period and 7.7 percent in the first three months of the year. However, many of those polled said growth may now have peaked and is likely to ease in the coming months, as the comparable figures in the second half of last year were relatively high.
Italy unveils draft budget
Italy’s government on Tuesday approved a 2014 budget that will have “less spending, less debt and less tax” to help sustain a gradual economic recovery it hopes will start later this year. Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta said political tensions within his uneasy right-left coalition had “not made the task very easy,” and the budget still has to go to parliament for final approval. The draft includes tax breaks totaling 14.6 billion euros (US$19.8 billion) over three years, of which 5 billion euros are for workers and 5.6 billion euros for businesses, officials said. In total the finance ministry foresees 27.3 billion euros of tax breaks over three years.
Citigroup’s Q3 disappoints
US banking giant Citigroup reported on Tuesday third-quarter results that missed expectations, citing a “challenging” environment. Citigroup posted a net income of US$3.2 billion in the July-to-September quarter, up from US$468 million in the same quarter last year. Earnings per share came in at US$1, up from US$0.15 a year earlier. Revenue jumped 30 percent from a year ago, to US$17.9 billion, but also came in weaker than the US$18.7 billion estimates. Compared with the second quarter, revenue fell 13 percent.