EU to finalize ‘bank union’
EU finance ministers yesterday agreed to meet again next week to finalize details of a “Banking Union” meant to prevent failing banks from ever again wrecking the economy. Following more than 14 hours of talks, the ministers cited some progress, but not enough, with agreement only on the general principles on one of the bloc’s most ambitious projects. Ministers hope the Banking Union will prevent any repeat of failing banks driving governments into international bailouts.
S Korea jobless rate falls
The unemployment rate fell slightly to 2.9 percent last month, as healthcare and other service industries added more jobs, official data showed yesterday. The seasonally adjusted jobless rate compared with 3 percent in October and 3 percent in the same period a year earlier, Statistics Korea said. Unadjusted, the figure stood at 2.7 percent last month. The total number of employed stood at 25.53 million, up by 588,000 from a year ago.
Brazil to see 2.2% growth
The economy is likely to grow 2.2 percent this year and 2 percent next year, an influential industrial group said on Tuesday, calling for less red tape and more competitiveness. “This year was better than last year, but an expansion of around 2 percent is very little for Brazil,” Federation of Industries of the State of Sao Paulo president Paulo Skaf said. “The country needs to grow more.” The group also said Brazil’s industrial sector was set to grow 1.5 percent this year and 2.5 percent next year, from a 0.8 percent contraction last year.
Italy contraction to end
The economy has emerged from two years of contraction, data showed on Tuesday, but economists warned that recovery would remain elusive as resistance grows to further tax hikes and reforms. The third-biggest economy in the eurozone stagnated in the third quarter, revised data showed, in an update of an earlier estimate of a 0.1 percent contraction. Tuesday’s data said the economy had contracted by 1.8 percent over 12 months, instead of the earlier 1.9 percent.
GSK to invest in UK
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is to invest another ￡200 million (US$330 million) on advanced manufacturing in Britain, the company said yesterday, underlining the draw of a tax break designed to encourage research and development. Britain’s so-called “patent box” scheme, which offers a reduced rate of corporate tax on income derived from patents, has been hailed by GSK, its biggest drugmaker, for transforming the country as a place to invest. However, not all Britain’s European partners are as enthusiastic about such patent box arrangements. In July, Germany called for a ban on these schemes, saying they created unfair competition. Patent boxes also operate in the Netherlands and some other EU member states.
Twitter updates software
Updated mobile software rolled out on Tuesday by Twitter lets smartphone users send pictures in direct, personal messages seen only by recipients instead of being shared publicly on the social network. The Instagram-style feature is in the latest Twitter applications tailored for Apple or Android smartphones. Twitter users now also have the option to “swipe” from their home screen, the company said.