World Business Quick Take

Agencies

Sun, Sep 09, 2018 - Page 14

UNITED STATES

Cleveland Fed supports hikes

Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland President Loretta Mester said a solid jobs report for last month and growing momentum in the US economy underlined her support for continued gradual interest rate increases this year. Mester, who is a voter this year on the policymaking Federal Open Market Committee, said she expects inflation to be “sustainably” at the central bank’s 2 percent target by the end of this year. “We still have an accommodative monetary policy,” she said. “In that environment, we should be moving toward neutral.” The so-called neutral rate of interest is the level at which the Fed’s benchmark would neither boost nor restrict economic growth.

TRADE WAR

Trump divulges Japan talks

The US and Japan have begun discussions on trade, US President Donald Trump said on Friday, adding that Tokyo “knows it’s a big problem” if an agreement cannot be reached. India has also asked to start talks on a trade deal, he said. Trump, who is already challenging China, Mexico, Canada and the EU on trade issues, has expressed displeasure about his country’s large trade deficit with Japan, but had not asked Tokyo to take specific steps to address the imbalance. CNBC on Thursday reported that he told a Wall Street Journal columnist that he might take on trade issues with Japan, causing the US dollar to slip against the yen.

FOOD DELIVERY

Li Ka-shing to join China IPO

Meituan Dianping (美團點評), the Chinese restaurant review and delivery giant, has attracted Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing (李嘉誠) to participate in its initial public offering, which could raise as much as US$4.4 billion, people with knowledge of the matter said. Thomas Lau (劉鑾鴻), chairman of department store operator Lifestyle International Holdings Ltd (利福國際), is also preparing an investment, the people said, without specifying the amounts. Meituan Dianping started taking orders earlier this week.

EUROPEAN UNION

EU says Italian budget viable

A top EU official on Friday said that Italy’s budget plans are going in the right direction, despite calls for a major spending boost by the anti-establishment government in Rome. Italy’s debt stands at a towering 132 percent of GDP, making the country’s debt ratio the second-largest ratio in the eurozone after Greece. However, the government, which brings together the far-right League party and the anti-establishment Five-Star Movement, is under pressure to meet electoral pledges and boost spending instead of slashing its deficit, as was promised by the previous government.

FAST FOOD

Court halts McDonald’s sale

Employees of a McDonald’s in a deprived neighborhood of Marseille, France, on Friday erupted in joy after a court blocked the restaurant’s sale. Residents had joined a months-long campaign to halt the site’s sale by its owner, who says that the outlet — the second-biggest employer in the Saint Barthelemy suburb — is losing money. Employees said that the restaurant is a key part of community life. The court halted the sale to a proposed buyer whose project it deemed unviable, because he had “no experience in the food sector” and insufficient financing.