China objects to report
China yesterday said it opposes the release of a WTO report about its export curbs on rare earths following news accounts that the document rejects Beijing’s policy as a trade violation. The report by WTO experts is not a final ruling and leaks would violate the trade body’s rules, China’s Ministry of Commerce said in a statement. It gave no details of the report. Japan’s Jiji Press news agency and the Financial Times, citing unidentified officials, have said the report sides with the US, the EU and Japan after they said export curbs improperly favor Chinese domestic manufacturers in violation of Beijing’s free-trade commitments.
Exports up, inflation down
South Korea’s exports jumped 7.3 percent last month, turning around a decline the month before, while inflation dropped to a 14-year low, government data showed yesterday. Exports, which account for about 50 percent of GDP in Asia’s fourth-largest economy, swelled to US$50.5 billion, up 7.3 percent from a year earlier, Statistics Korea reported. Imports were up 5.1 percent at US$45.6 billion, resulting in a trade surplus of US$4.9 billion. Meanwhile, inflation dipped again last month, with the consumer price index rising just 0.7 percent from a year ago — the lowest level since July 1999.
Nation posts trade deficit
Indonesia’s trade balance unexpectedly swung back to a deficit in September, official data showed yesterday, in a setback for Southeast Asia’s beleaguered top economy after recently showing signs of a recovery. The news of the US$657.2 million deficit followed a small surplus in August and a string of other positive indicators, including easing inflation and an uptick in the manufacturing sector. Inflation slowed slightly from 8.4 percent year-on-year in September to 8.32 percent last month, official data showed.
Nissan cuts profit target
Nissan Motor Co, Japan’s second-biggest automaker, cut its earnings forecast to reflect tougher-than-expected conditions in many markets and expensive recalls. Nissan president and CEO Carlos Ghosn said in a video statement released yesterday that the recalls and slowdowns in key emerging markets such as Russia and Indonesia took a toll. The company posted a 6.8 percent increase in July-September net profit to ￥189.8 billion (US$1.9 billion) from ￥177.7 billion a year earlier.
McDonald’s says sorry
McDonald’s Japan issued an apology yesterday after it was revealed one of its outlets had posted a notice banning homeless people for more than a year. The notice, which had triggered an online debate, said staff at the west Tokyo branch “would refuse entry to people deemed improper,” citing poor hygiene and homelessness as examples. The global fast-food giant said yesterday that the sign had been replaced.
China to invest in Brazil
A Chinese bank has agreed to buy 72 percent of a Brazilian midsized commercial lender for US$725 million, expanding the Latin American foothold of China’s state-owned banking industry. China Construction Bank (中國建設銀行) and Banco Industrial e Commercial SA yesterday said the Chinese institution would acquire a controlling stake from Brazil’s family-owned Bezerra de Menezes Financial Group.