World Business Quick Take


Sat, Nov 24, 2018 - Page 10


Nation’s economy contracts

The nation’s first economic contraction since 2015 was led by a drop in exports and private consumption, a trend that needs to be reversed if Europe’s largest economy is to rebound before the end of the year. The 0.2 percent decline in the third quarter, matching the initial reading, has been blamed on a slump in the auto industry that the Bundesbank and government predict would be temporary. The data published yesterday showed that exports plunged 0.9 percent in the period, while private consumption fell 0.3 percent. There was strong growth in capital and construction investment.


Property market cools

The city-state’s property market cooling measures have moderated the pace of price rises and subdued transaction activity, the nation’s central bank said. That should contribute to stronger household balance sheets over the medium term. Aggressive land bids have declined after the July curbs, which should benefit the long-term stability of the property sector and encourage prudence among real-estate firms, the Monetary Authority of Singapore said in its annual financial stability review yesterday.


Import barriers a concern

The world’s biggest economies slapped import restrictions on nearly half a trillion US dollars of trade over the past six months, the WTO said on Thursday, voicing “serious concern.” Forty new import barriers were erected by G20 states between mid-May and mid-October — six times more than during the preceding six months — impacting US$481 billion in trade, a WTO report showed. That was the highest figure recorded since the WTO started calculating the measure in 2012.


US online sales increase

Nordstrom Inc and Walmart Inc saw the biggest online sales increases in the week leading up to Thanksgiving among US retailers studied by Edison Trends. Nordstrom’s Web revenue almost doubled over the period — Thursday last week to Wednesday — from a year earlier, while Walmart’s increased 67 percent. Target Corp, Macy’s Inc, Inc and Best Buy Inc also saw sales rise, according to Edison, an e-commerce research company that uses e-mail receipts from purchases to calculate trends.


Facebook to pay 100m euros

Social media giant Facebook Inc has agreed to pay more than 100 million euros (US$114 million) to end a fiscal fraud dispute, Italian tax authorities said on Thursday. The accord aims to “end the disagreement relating to tax inquiries undertaken by the financial police at the behest of the Milan prosecutor for the period 2010 to 2016,” Italy’s tax authority said in a statement. The authority added that Facebook Italy would be “making a payment of more than 100 million euros.”


Nation lacks ‘tech clusters’

Technology talent is drawing more investment to cities such as Toronto and Montreal, but the nation could lose momentum if it does not do more to encourage industries to scale up, CBRE Ltd said. The nation lacks “tech clusters,” dense areas of activity that contain critical mass for companies, and educational and research institutions, the Toronto-based brokerage said in a report on Thursday. Toronto is the only city competitive enough to rank among powerhouses in North America, it said.