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Global Business & Economy

World - Global Business & Economy

IMF lowers Thai growth forecast in 2015 BANGKOK: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) lowered its forecast for Thailand's economic growth to 3.5 percent in 2015, and 0.5 percent in 2014, amid concerns over political stability, weak exports and slow domestic consumption.The country has room to ease monetary policy further if growth disappoints, the IMF said in a statement on Wednesday."While the current monetary stance is accommodative, there is scope to consider a further easing of the policy stance if the economic recovery is weaker than anticipated," it said.Thailand's policy rate has stood at 2 percent since March, when it was cut by 25 basis points to help business during rising political tension that led to an army coup in May.The country's military government has struggled to revive growth in Southeast Asia's second-largest economy since the coup that ended prolonged political unrest that hurt tourism, investment and consumption.The IMF's latest forecast is below the Thai central bank's expectation ...

World - Global Business & Economy

South Africa inventions aim to stop slum fires, floods PRETORIA: South Africans social entrepreneurs have come up with inventions aimed at curbing deadly fires and floods in the country's crowded informal settlements.A turquoise detector no bigger than a pack of cigarettes is among the innovations being showcased at a technology exhibition in the capital Pretoria.While a conventional fire detector is set off by smoke, Lumkani, meaning "be aware" in the Xhosa language, looks for another signal: heat."Shack environments tend to be fairly smokey because ...

World - Global Business & Economy

S&P to pay $1.37bn to resolve mortgage crisis lawsuits NEW YORK: US rating firm Standard & Poor's said Tuesday it had agreed to pay $1.37 billion to settle lawsuits that it overrated mortgage bonds at the heart of the "subprime" housing crisis.S&P said it had not admitted to any legal violations in the settlements, which resolve 2013 lawsuits filed by the US Department of Justice, 19 states and the District of Columbia.Under a separate settlement with California pension fund CalPERS over mortgage deals, the ...

World - Global Business & Economy

Spain's January jobless rises for the first time since October MADRID: The number of registered jobless in Spain rose by 1.75 percent in January from a month earlier, or by 77,980 people, leaving 4.53 million people out of work, data from the Labour Ministry showed on Tuesday.The increase in joblessness, the first since October, was mostly due to a rise in unemployment in the services sector, marking the end of the busy Christmas period. The number of people out of a job in the sector ...

World - Global Business & Economy

Swiss exports rose in December with franc cap still in place ZURICH: Switzerland's exports hit a record high in 2014 after rising in December, a month before the Swiss central bank abandoned its cap on the franc, data showed on Tuesday.Exports rose by a real 2.1 percent year-on-year in December to 15.776 billion Swiss francs ($17.01 billion). On a nominal basis, the increase was 7.2 percent, the Customs Office said in a statement on Tuesday.The 1.20-per-euro cap had protected the export-reliant economy from the effects of ...

World - Global Business & Economy

Indonesia 2014 GDP growth seen slowest in 5 years, but set to pick up JAKARTA: Indonesia probably posted its weakest economic performance in five years in 2014 as political uncertainties slowed investments and exports faltered on sliding commodity prices.Southeast Asia's largest economy is finding it harder to fire up its engines of growth with the ending of the commodities boom and as a rise in domestic fuel prices hits spending.The median forecast of 17 analysts in a Reuters poll was for full-year gross domestic product (GDP) to expand 5.07 ...

World - Global Business & Economy

UK construction growth unexpectedly rebounds in Jan: PMI LONDON: Growth across British construction companies rebounded unexpectedly in January after a slow end to 2014, boosted by improving order books and rising confidence, a business survey showed on Tuesday.The Markit/CIPS construction purchasing managers' index (PMI) rose to 59.1 from December's 17-month low of 57.6, topping all forecasts in a Reuters poll and far above the 50 mark that signifies growth.While official data last week showed construction output shrank at the end of last year ...