World Business Quick Take


Fri, Sep 07, 2018 - Page 10


Economy rose 0.7% in Q2

The economy is showing little sign of taking a hit from the mounting global trade dispute, with growth so far this year coming in far ahead of expectations. It expanded 0.7 percent in the three months through June, beating the 0.5 percent median forecast of economists in a survey. The latest figures mark a fifth straight quarter of “above-average” growth, the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs said yesterday. After weakness earlier this year, exports bounced back with an increase of 2.6 percent last quarter.


Central bank maintains rates

The central bank gave itself more scope to delay planned increases in interest rates as policymakers showed they were unwilling to take any chances during a volatile week that risks ending in political turmoil. Three days before a national election, with polls pointing to a potentially chaotic outcome, the Riksbank kept its main rate at minus-0.5 percent, as expected, and said it would not raise rates next month, it said in a statement yesterday. However, the bank expects to add 25 basis points to its main rate in either December or February, it said.


Industrial orders disappoint

Industrial orders unexpectedly dipped again in July after a sharp drop in June, official data showed yesterday, as global trade frictions cast a growing shadow over Europe’s top economy. New contracts at industrial firms slipped 0.9 percent, federal statistics authority Destatis said in figures adjusted for seasonal swings, following a 3.9 percent plunge in June. The Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy said in a statement that order intake had “slowed significantly” since the start of the year after robust growth last year.


Italian banks’ ratings cut

UniCredit SpA and Intesa Sanpaolo SpA were among five Italian banks that had their ratings outlook lowered by Fitch Ratings following its decision on Friday last week to revise Italy’s outlook to negative. UniCredit, Intesa, Mediobanca SpA, Credito Emiliano and Banca Nazionale del Lavoro SpA’s outlook ratings were cut to negative from stable, Fitch said on Wednesday. The agency cited an increased risk of a reversal of structural reforms negatively impacting the nation’s credit fundamentals for the ratings downgrade.


AmEx pricing under probe

US officials are investigating whether American Express Co (AmEx) misrepresented its foreign exchange pricing to business clients, a person familiar with the matter said on Wednesday. The probe by the FBI is at an early stage, the source said, confirming a report in the Wall Street Journal. AmEx recruited corporate clients with offers of low foreign exchange rates, but then raised the rates without warning, boosting company revenues and commissions, the Journal said.


Grab expects sales to double

Singapore’s Grab yesterday predicted that sales would double next year to US$2 billion as it integrates the acquisition of Uber Technologies Inc’s regional business and delves deeper into new areas from bike-sharing to digital payments. Grab cofounder Hooi Ling Tan (陳慧玲) told a Bloomberg technology summit in Singapore that the firm would make a big push in Indonesia, where revenue has tripled so far this year and it has a 65 percent share of the ride-hailing market.