Kellogg fears contamination
Kellogg Co is recalling 16 products containing peanut butter, citing possible salmonella contamination. David Mackay, president and CEO of Kellogg, announced the voluntary recall in a statement late on Friday. He says the company apologizes for the unfortunate situation but says it is needed as part of its commitment to keep consumers safe. The recall includes Austin and Keebler branded Peanut Butter Sandwich Crackers, as well as snack-size packs of Famous Amos Peanut Butter Cookies and Keebler Soft Batch Homestyle Peanut Butter Cookies.
GDP forecast lowered
Recession-hit Singapore will further scale down its economic forecast for this year because the global situation has worsened, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (李顯龍) said in remarks published yesterday. This means that the GDP forecast would likely be worse than the government’s projection for a contraction of up to 2 percent made just two weeks ago. Lee said in remarks published in the Straits Times the move to revise the forecast for the second time in a month was prompted by unexpected developments such as the sharper-than-expected 21 percent fall in key exports for last month.
Circuit City calls it quits
Bankrupt Circuit City Stores Inc, unable to work out a sale of the company, said on Friday it would go out of business — closing its 567 US stores and cutting 30,000 jobs. “This is the only possible path for our company,” Circuit City acting chief executive James Marcum said in a statement. “We are extremely disappointed by this outcome.” The company had been seeking a buyer or a deal to refinance its debt, but the hobbled credit market and consumer worries proved insurmountable. Two buyers — Mexican billionaire Ricardo Salinas Pliego, who controls a chain of electronics stores in Latin America, and the Golden Gate Capital private equity firm — had been looking to buy the company in a shrunken form. But the company couldn’t secure the necessary financing or support from vendors.
Small banks shut down
US regulators on Friday shut down two small banks, National Bank of Commerce in Illinois and Bank of Clark County in Washington State. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp was appointed receiver of the banks. They were the first two federally insured banks to fail and be shuttered by regulators this year amid the pressures of tumbling home prices, rising mortgage foreclosures and tighter credit. National Bank of Commerce, in Berkeley, Illinois, had US$430.9 million in assets and US$402.1 million in deposits as of Jan. 7. Bank of Clark County, in Vancouver, Washington, had US$446.5 million in assets and US$366.5 million in deposits as of Tuesday.
IMF approves loan to Serbia
The IMF’s executive board on Friday approved a US$530 million loan for Serbia to help it cope with the global financial crisis, it said in a statement. The board “approved a 15-month ... stand-by arrangement [about US$530.3 million] to support the authorities’ program aimed at maintaining macroeconomic and financial stability,” the IMF said. The approval makes US$353.3 million “immediately available. However, the Serbian authorities intend to treat the arrangement as precautionary, and not to draw on fund resources unless the need arises,” it said.