■ China's economyCPI forecast at 4.1 percent
Inflation in China is expected at 4.6 percent in the fourth quarter, giving a full year consumer price index (CPI) reading of 4.1 percent, a central bank report showed yesterday. The People's Bank of China, the central bank, said the short-term results of macro-economic controls had become apparent and the effects would continue in the long-run. It projected CPI in the first and second quarters of next year at 4.2 percent and 4.0 percent, respectively. At the same time, the Development Research Center (DRC), a government think tank under the State Council or Cabinet, put the CPI at 4.0 percent this year. "Inflation for 2004 should be controlled at around 4.0 percent," the Shanghai Securities quoted the DRC as saying. "Fourth quarter CPI in 2003 was already high, which leaves limited room for a high price rise in the fourth quarter this year," it said.
EU criticized in report
The EU was berated in a hard-hitting new report Wednesday for failing to deliver on a promise to transform itself into the world's most dynamic economy by 2010. The widely trailed 51-page report, called "Facing the Challenge", makes gloomy reading for EU leaders on the eve of a two-day summit that will debate the bloc's "Lisbon Strategy" for economic revitalization. The EU's targets for growth and employment are falling behind, and not just because of leaner economic times, budgetary constraints or the addition of 10 relatively poorer member states in May, the report said. "Unfortunately progress to date has been inadequate, largely due to a lack of commitment and political will," it said.
Microsoft, Intel team up
Microsoft Corp, the world's largest software maker, and Intel Corp plan their first joint advertising campaign to promote personal computers that let home users record television and play music. The first phase of the "digital joy" campaign begins Sunday and will cost "several tens of millions of dollars," said Brad Brooks, a director of Microsoft's Windows consumer marketing effort. The PCs use Microsoft's Windows software and Intel's Pentium 4 chips. Microsoft last month began selling a version of Windows for use on so-called Media Center PCs that double as home entertainment hubs. Intel, the world's largest computer-chip maker, and Microsoft see such products as a way to spur sales of home PCs, which have grown faster than business machines since 2002 and are poised to repeat that again next year.
American to axe more jobs
American Airlines, struggling to compete with lower-overhead carriers, will cut more jobs to reduce costs, chief executive Gerard Arpey said Wednesday. The company had already disclosed that it would lay off up to 650 mechanics and 450 pilots, as CEO Gerard Arpey reminded investors during a meeting in Fort Worth. "We will see more cuts across the board, all workers, in the months ahead," Arpey said. American and other carriers are losing money as they are squeezed by high fuel costs and tough competition that makes it hard to raise fares. Arpey also blamed the airline industry's problems on carriers continuing to add seats for sale, which has depressed fares. American has joined in the rush -- increasing capacity by 2.3 percent last month, although traffic rose more, up 9.1 percent.