UK hit by record decline
The UK’s recession-battered economy shrank at its fastest pace in more than 50 years in the first quarter of this year, revised official data showed yesterday, amid the worst global slowdown in decades. GDP contracted 2.4 percent in the first three months of the year from the final quarter of last year, the Office for National Statistics said. On a year-on-year basis, Britain’s economy declined by 4.9 percent in the first quarter, the largest contraction since records began in 1948.
Inflation turns negative
Inflation in the 16 countries using the euro turned negative last month for the first time on record, dipping 0.1 percent over 12 months, an estimate from the Eurostat data agency showed yesterday. The Eurostat figure put eurozone inflation at the lowest point on records going back to 1996 and was down from the zero percent that the agency booked in May. The figure hit a record high point of 4 percent last year.
SEC looks to freeze assets
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is seeking to permanently freeze the assets of a Taiwanese immigrant financier accused of bilking investors until his fraud trial is over. Judge Philip Gutierrez said on Monday that he would rule next week on the request concerning the assets of Danny Pang (彭日成), who is accused of bilking investors in his Private Equity Management Group companies. Gutierrez temporarily froze Pang’s assets in April, when he also ordered the California financier to repatriate any assets sent overseas and turn over his passports.
China mulls new company
China is weighing a plan to set up a new company to manage some of the country’s nearly 18 trillion yuan (US$2.6 billion) in state assets, a report said yesterday. The state-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission has been working to establish an asset management company since 2005, the state-run China Daily reported, citing director Li Rongrong (李榮融). Li also warned many state-owned enterprises were not qualified to make overseas acquisitions and would have to improve their corporate governance. The commission currently oversees 138 state companies.
Qatarmakes Porsche offer
Qatar has offered to invest in debt-laden German sports car maker Porsche and to buy stock options it holds in Volkswagen, a Porsche spokesman said. “We have received an offer from Qatar for the acquisition of a participation and a purchase of options on Volkswagen shares,” he said late on Monday. The offer would serve as a basis for further talks, but must be examined by the Porsche and Piech families, who own all of the voting rights in Porsche, he added.
Small firm buys Pirate Bay
A small Swedish software firm announced yesterday that it had purchased Pirate Bay, the popular file-sharing Web site, for 60 million kronor (US$7.8 million). Global Gaming Factory X said the deal would include rights to use the Pirate Bay domain name and accompanying Web sites. The acquisition is expected to be completed in August, the firm said. Pirate Bay is one of the world’s largest file-sharing venues, with more than 20 million users worldwide. In April, four men connected with the site were sentenced to one-year prison sentences for violations of copyright law.