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Mon, Oct 02, 2006 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Aviation
Light jets get FAA approval

A fleet of very light jets that could redefine travel has been fully certified by the US Federal Aviation Administration, clearing the aircraft for delivery to customers, the company announced. An Eclipse Aviation spokesman said 23 of the E500 aircraft are in production, in addition to two that have already rolled off the assembly line. The first delivery will be in days, he said on Saturday. Over the next few years the company will aim to fulfill more than 2,500 orders. The twin-engine, six-seat jet aircraft will cost about US$1.5 million. The company believes the E500 will radically change the aircraft industry, saying it costs one-third less than other small jet aircraft. The company said it will be safer and easier to operate, with the lowest cost of ownership ever in a jet aircraft.

■ Automobiles

Nissan to move production

Nissan Motor Co plans to move part of its production from the US to Japan as domestic plants are better at making some models in small quantities, a report said yesterday. The unusual decision for the Japanese automaker, which has been expanding overseas production since the 1980s, was due to domestic plants' ability to meet sudden changes in demand, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported, without citing sources. Production of two Nissan models is slated to be relocated from a US plant in Canton, Mississippi, in 2008 and 2009. The output of the Quest minivan moves to Nissan's plant in Fukuoka Prefecture and production of the Infiniti QX56 sport utility vehicle shifts to a plant of Nissan's affiliate in Kanagawa Prefecture, the paper said.

■ Economy

Positive Tankan expected

A key survey of Japanese corporate sentiment is expected to show confidence remains solid although investors are nervous that the slowing US economy may dampen optimism, analysts said. They said the Bank of Japan Tankan survey could prove pivotal to when the central bank will raise interest rates again. The quarterly report is expected to show the headline index for large manufacturers at 21, unchanged from three months earlier, according to consensus economist forecasts. A positive reading means that confident firms outweigh pessimistic ones. Companies are expected to revise up their capital spending plans for the current fiscal year through next March, reflecting solid domestic demand and hopes that Japan's economy will hold up well in the face of a US slowdown.

■ Retail

Wal-Mart growth slows

Wal-Mart Stores Inc said same-store sales in the US rose about 1.8 percent last month, the smallest gain since June when sales increased 1.2 percent. The retailer provided the preliminary sales figure on Saturday. Wal-Mart said the year-earlier month's results were affected by hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Wal-Mart's growth slowed even as consumer confidence rose to a five-month high and the price of gasoline dropped to its lowest point since March. Sales may be suffering as the company cuts inventory and renovates more than half its US Wal-Mart stores, said analyst Keri Spanbauer, who helps Thrivent Investment Management manage US$67.5 billion, including Wal-Mart shares. "They have some out-of-stock issues," she said. "They're running really lean. In the short run, they may run into some bumps in the road."

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