World Business Quick Take


Sat, Sep 01, 2018 - Page 10


PMI rose to 51.3 last month

Factory activity ticked marginally upward last month, official data showed yesterday, beating forecasts as analysts expected the trade war with the US to weigh more heavily on manufacturing. The purchasing managers’ index (PMI), a key gauge of factory conditions, came in at 51.3 for the month, up from 51.2 in July, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said. The number held comfortably above the 50-point mark that separates expansion from contraction.


Unemployment rises to 2.5%

The jobless rate edged up to 2.5 percent in July, official data showed yesterday, with the number of available positions far outstripping job hunters as the country’s labor shortage persists. The data from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications is only a marginal increase from 2.4 percent in June and 2.2 percent in May, a 26-year low. The jobs-to-applicants ratio in July was the highest in 44 years, with 163 job offers going for every 100 job hunters, a separate survey by Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare said.


Interest rate maintained

The Bank of Korea yesterday left its key interest rate unchanged as it weighed escalating trade battles and signs that Asia’s fourth-largest economy might be losing steam. Bank Governor Lee Ju-yeol said that external risks were on the rise, but the economy was still on track to meet the central bank’s growth forecasts. Lee said there were upside and downside risks to growth, while inflation is still expected to rise toward the bank’s 2 percent goal later this year.


UK housing market cools

British house prices last month grew by a weaker than expected 2 percent year-on-year, mortgage lender Nationwide said, slipping back to a level last seen in June, when prices rose at their slowest annual rate in five years. The slowdown is the latest sign of how the housing market has cooled down since the 2016 Brexit vote. Economists in a Reuters poll had expected prices to rise by a stronger 2.7 percent annually. In monthly terms, prices fell by 0.5 percent last month from July.


Line to issue cryptocurrency

Japan’s Line Corp yesterday said that it would launch a cryptocurrency this month as the company tries to build up a wide range of businesses using its popular messaging app as a platform. The digital coin “Links” will be given as rewards to users of its services and could be traded with other cryptocurrencies at its crypto exchange, Bitbox, the company said. The coin would not be available for users in Japan and the US for regulatory reasons, it said. Line said Link digital coins would be used as payments or rewards within its blockchain-based app services.


AirAsia China plans on hold

AirAsia Group Bhd’s planned foray into China for a wider regional footprint suffered a setback, after Southeast Asia’s largest budget airline failed to secure a deal with its local partners to tap the world’s second-biggest aviation market. A preliminary agreement signed last year for a venture with China Everbright Group and the Henan government has lapsed and will not be extended, AirAsia said in a filing late on Thursday, without providing further details.