World Business Quick Take

Agencies

Fri, Nov 23, 2018 - Page 10

CHINA

Tech proposal examined

Beijing is evaluating the potential effects from a US proposal to increase control over technology exports and is to take steps to uphold the legitimate interests of companies, a Ministry of Commerce spokesman said yesterday. On Monday, the US government proposed stepping up scrutiny over technology exports in 14 key high-tech areas, including artificial intelligence and microprocessor technology. A 30-day public consultation period on the proposal is under way and is to end on Dec. 19.

JAPAN

Inflation stays flat

Inflation stood at 1 percent last month, unchanged from the previous month, according to government data published yesterday, as the world’s third-largest economy continues its years-long struggle with deflation. The price rise was in line with market consensus, but still only halfway to the Bank of Japan’s 2 percent target. With fresh food and energy stripped out, prices rose by even less — just 0.4 percent year-on-year last month.

UNITED STATES

Factory orders fall

Orders to factories for big-ticket manufactured goods fell by the largest amount in 15 months, with a key category that tracks business investment showing weakness for the third consecutive month. The Department of Commerce on Wednesday said that orders for durable goods dropped 4.4 percent last month. The drop last month was led by a huge decline in the volatile areas of commercial and military aircraft.

FURNITURE

IKEA to cut jobs

Swedish furniture giant IKEA on Wednesday said it plans to cut 7,500 jobs worldwide by 2020, mainly office jobs, as it reorganizes to focus its business on e-commerce and smaller shops in city centers. The job cuts affect almost 5 percent of staff at Ingka Holding BV, IKEA’s parent group. IKEA is its biggest brand with 367 stores in 30 countries and 160,000 employees. The decision to cut jobs was “based on how to lead a more simple, effective and efficient” business, it said.

TRADE

WTO to hear complaints

The WTO on Wednesday agreed to hear complaints from a range of countries over new US steel and aluminium tariffs, as well as complaints from Washington over retaliatory duties. The WTO’s Dispute Settlement Body agreed to establish panels to review US President Donald Trump’s decision to hit a long line of countries with tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminium. The body is to create separate panels to hear the complaints, which have been laid by the EU, China, Canada, Mexico, Norway, Russia and Turkey.

SOUTH SUDAN

Oil investment sought

The nation is making its first big foreign investment pitch since declaring an end to civil war, but the oil-rich nation faces hesitation from some companies that want to make sure the fragile new peace deal holds. The country is eager to make up for US$4 billion in lost revenue caused by the five-year conflict. The minister of petroleum and mining said that more than 400 international and local companies are attending this week’s Africa Oil & Power Conference in the capital, Juba. That is up from 300 who attended the initial conference last year.