Commercial sales double
Japan’s commercial property sales more than doubled last year to ￥3.54 trillion (US$34 billion), the highest since 2007, driven by real estate investment trusts acquisitions, DTZ Research said in a report yesterday. Property sales climbed near the record high of ￥3.61 trillion in 2007 and rose from ￥1.72 trillion in 2012, DTZ Japan research head Kayoko Hirao wrote.
S Korea jobless rate up
South Korea’s unemployment rate inched up last month from the previous month, although the number of people employed grew by more than half a million from a year earlier. The seasonally adjusted jobless rate stood at 3 percent last month, compared with 2.9 percent in November, the state agency Statistics Korea said yesterday. The total number of employed people last month stood at 24.96 million, up 560,000 from a year earlier, the agency said.
Hanoi plans privatization
Vietnam plans to sell stakes in a slew of state-owned companies this year, including its national airline and auto manufacturer. State media reported that Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung last week ordered stock market listings for 11 companies under the control of the transport ministry. Among the companies slated for partial sale are Vietnam Airlines, Vietnam Automobile Industry Corp and Waterway Transportation Corp.
Argentina prices up 28.4%
Inflation in Argentina soared 28.4 percent last year, unofficial estimates released by private research institutes on Tuesday showed. The government was due to release its official statistics yesterday, but these are largely ignored by the business community in favor of private estimates. The government is regularly accused of underplaying inflation figures, claiming a rate of 11 percent for 2012 in contrast to private figures that put it at 25 percent.
US sales beat estimates
US retail sales rose slightly last month due to holiday sales, beating what had been gloomy expectations, US Department of Commerce data released on Tuesday showed. Retail and food services sales totaled US$431.9 billion, up 0.2 percent from November, the data showed. Excluding auto sales, retail sales last month rose 0.7 percent, according to the adjusted data that does not take into account price changes.
More called in LIBOR probe
Several former Barclays PLC traders suspected of involvement in LIBOR manipulation were ordered to report to UK fraud prosecutors for interviews, a person with knowledge of the case said. The Serious Fraud Office sent notices to the people in the US and UK over the last six weeks, telling them to come in to be questioned under caution as part of a global investigation into rate-rigging, the person said.
Toshiba buying UK firm
Japan’s Toshiba yesterday said it would buy a controlling interest in British nuclear firm NuGeneration, as it tries to rekindle an atomic business hammered by the 2011 Fukushima crisis. The engineering giant said it had reached a deal with NuGeneration’s owners — France’s GDF Suez and Spain’s Iberdrola — to take a 60 percent stake in the firm for ￡102 million (US$167 million), which plans to build nuclear power plants in northwest England.