Public debt to hit 83.7%
France’s public debt is expected to come to 83.7 percent of GDP this year, the government said on Tuesday, well beyond the 60 percent level prescribed by the eurozone. The government, in an upward revision of its previous forecast for this year of 83.2 percent, said that the public debt would expand to 87.5 percent of output in 2012. Earlier on Wednesday, the national statistics body INSEE said French public debt had risen sharply in the first quarter of the year to 80.3 percent of GDP. It said in a first estimate that at the end of March, the public sector debt rose by 46.5 billion euros (US$56.7 billion) from the figure for the previous quarter to 1.535 trillion euros.
Moody’s reviewing debt
Moody’s Investor Service on Wednesday placed Spain’s sovereign debt rating “on review for possible downgrade” because of the weak growth prospects of its fragile economy. The credit rating agency said it could lower Spain’s Aaa rating by “one, or at most two, notches” at the end of the three-month review period. The decision was prompted by “the deteriorating [short-term and long-term] economic growth prospects,” by “the challenges the government faces in achieving its fiscal targets” and by “concerns over the impact of rising funding costs over the medium term,” it said. The warning followed a decision by another ratings agency, Fitch, on May 29 to cut Spain’s credit rating one notch from the maximum AAA to AA+, arguing that the economic recovery would be more muted than that forecast by the government.
German sales rose in May
Retail sales in Germany rose in May as the economic recovery gathered pace and unemployment fell. Sales, adjusted for inflation and seasonal swings, increased 0.4 percent from April, when they dropped 0.5 percent, the Federal Statistics Office in Wiesbaden said yesterday. May’s gain was in line with the median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey of 17 economists. In the year, sales declined 2.4 percent. German companies are stepping up output and increasing their workforce as an Asian-led global recovery boosts export orders, in turn encouraging consumer demand.
Yahoo to buy back stock
Yahoo has set the stage to buy back US$3 billion worth of its stock in the coming three years, according to a filing on Wednesday with US securities regulators. The plan was approved by the Yahoo board of directors on June 24 and authorizes the pioneering Internet firm to repurchase as much as US$3 billion in common stock during the next three years. “The repurchases may take place in the open market or in privately negotiated transactions,” the Sunnyvale, California-based company said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Microsoft to kill Kin phones
Microsoft on Wednesday said it was killing the Kin line of mobile telephones it unveiled in April to win over young people enthralled by online social networking. “Microsoft has made the decision to focus on the Windows Phone 7 launch and will not ship Kin in Europe this fall as planned,” the US technology giant said in an e-mail response to a reporter’s inquiry. “Additionally, we are integrating our Kin team with the Windows Phone 7 team, incorporating valuable ideas and technologies from Kin into future Windows Phone releases.”
Dignitaries from 47 countries yesterday congratulated President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on the commencement of her second term and highlighted Taiwan’s achievements in democracy and its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sent his congratulations a day earlier. As of noon yesterday, 263 high-ranking officials from 47 countries and global organizations had congratulated Tsai via statements, letters, social media posts or recorded footage, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, while releasing a collection of footage sent by selected dignitaries. The governments of Taiwan’s 15 diplomatic allies sent their congratulations, as did the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy,
REASSURING NUMBERS: Taiwan’s test capacity ranks sixth or seventh among 91 nations, and is not low compared with other nations, Chen Shih-chung said The quarantine period for foreigners visiting Taiwan for business would vary based on the COVID-19 situation of the nation or territory that they are coming from, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday, as it reported the 13th consecutive day of no new cases. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, told reporters at the center’s daily briefing that modified rules covering foreign business visitors had been completed and were ready for him to sign. The complete details of the new rules would be released later this week, he said. Foreigners on long business trips would have
IN PROTEST: The US’ top diplomat said the WHA had been deprived of Taiwan’s scientific expertise, while Tsai said political factors should not be put above health US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo on Monday condemned Taiwan’s exclusion from the World Health Assembly (WHA), while President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday lodged a strong protest against the WHO for not inviting Taiwan. Twenty-two nations voiced support for Taiwan’s bid for participation on the first day of the assembly’s two-day virtual meeting, but despite the global community’s unprecedentedly strong support for Taiwan, it remained blocked from the assembly, with WHO member states on Monday agreeing to delay discussion on Taiwan until later this year. Pompeo, who on May 6 urged WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to invite Taiwan to the WHA,
The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday announced no new cases of COVID-19, adding that a ban on mask exports would be lifted soon under three conditions. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that 401 people from among the nation’s 440 confirmed cases have been removed from isolation. Yesterday was the 12th consecutive day that no new cases of COVID-19 were reported in Taiwan, and the 37th day of no new domestic cases. “As our local communities have gradually become safe, we should not become careless,” Chen said. “We should continue to take personal protective measures