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France to expand growth in 2016 but joblessness still challenges: PM

PARIS: Growth of gross domestic product (GDP) in France, the eurozone’s second largest economy, would accelerate this year, but it is still “insufficient” to digest the growing slice of unemployed people, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said here the other day. “(Growth) recovery will accelerate in 2016 despite a global context tainted by a number of concerns,” Valls was quoted ... Read More »

Macedonian industrial production increases 10.5% in Dec.

SKOPJE: The Macedonian State Statistical Office (SSO) on Friday reported industrial production in December 2015 increased by 10.5 percent compared to the same month in 2014. Annual industrial production in 2015 rose 4.9 percent compared to the year earlier. According to the data published by SSO, industrial production in mining and quarrying increased by 4.9 percent, in manufacturing increased by ... Read More »

India’s Essar imports 96% more Iran oil

NEW DELHI: Essar Oil, the top Indian buyer of Iranian crude, imported 96 percent more oil from Tehran in December compared with the previous month, tanker arrival data made available to Reuters shows, buoyed by the prospects of lifting of Western sanctions. Essar Oil’s overall shipments from Tehran rose 0.6 percent at about 117,700 barrels per day (bpd) in the ... Read More »

Mexico’s GDP growth in 2015 up at 2.5%

MEXICO CITY: Mexico’s official statistics bureau, the National Institute for Statistics and Geography (Inegi), announced Friday that Mexico had grown by 2.5 percent of GDP in 2015. These numbers from Inegi were in the predicted range of 1.9-2.4 percent provided by the Bank of Mexico, of 2-2.8 percent offered by the Ministry of Finance and the 2.3-2.8 percent range given ... Read More »

Latvian retail trade grows 4.9% in 2015

RIGA: Retail trade picked up in Latvia last year, showing a 4.9 percent growth in constant prices compared to 2014, according to calendar-adjusted data released by the national statistics office on Friday. Food retailers reported a 2.8 percent sales increase and non-food retailers saw their sales rise 6.3 percent year-on-year in 2015. Bank of Latvia’s economist Daina Paula said retail ... Read More »

Iran drives OPEC oil output to new high

LONDON: OPEC oil production has jumped to its highest in recent history in January as Iran increased sales following the lifting of sanctions and its rivals Saudi Arabia and Iraq also boosted supply, a Reuters survey showed Friday. Rising output in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries further aggravates the market share battle between top global producers. In the past ... Read More »

Albania’s December exports down 7.7%

TIRANA: Albania’s exports fell by 7.7 percent in December 2015 compared with December 2014, official figures showed here the other day. Exports in December 2015 fell by 8.5 percent compared with November 2015, according to the Albanian Institute of Statistics. The exports in minerals, fuels and electricity in December 2015 was down 9.8 percent year-on-year, while exports in construction materials ... Read More »

BNN, customs bust alleged international drug smuggling ring

JAKARTA: The National Narcotics Agency (BNN) in cooperation with the Central Java and Yogyakarta customs and excise offices uncovered on Thursday the attempted smuggling of over 100 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine from China. BNN head Comr. Gen. Budi Waseso said his officers arrested eight people suspected to be part of an international drug smuggling network based in Pakistan. “Of the ... Read More »

Thailand’s Govt to buy natural rubber directly from growers

BANGKOK: Thailand’s government will buy natural rubber directly from growers as the world’s largest producer shores up efforts to stem a plunge in prices to the lowest since 2008. The government will purchase 200,000 metric tons of the commodity used mostly in tires and gloves at not more than 60 baht ($1.65) a kilogram each before the current tree tapping ... Read More »

$595k of drugs seized in 4-day op

SINGAPORE: It was around 3am on Thursday, “ladies’ night” at a nightclub – but the music had stopped and the lights had come on. “This bag, is it yours?” a man in a black vest asked a young partygoer. It was a raid by the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB). The man was one of many officers stationed between tables of ... Read More »

Wildlife smuggling syndicates busted in raid

KUALA LUMPUR: Two animal smuggling syndicates were crippled by the Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) which saw the arrests of six smugglers, including the mastermind and several brokers. Two mousedeer and 468 live burung murai batu (magpies) were seized from the suspects, aged between 30 and 50, in separate raids in Selangor and Johor on Thursday night. The mousedeer ... Read More »

South Africa records trade balance surplus in Dec

CAPE TOWN: South Africa recorded a bigger-than-expected trade balance in December from the previous month, but a sharp decline in exports of manufactured goods revealed the persistence of weak economic activity. Expectations of increased exports by Africa’s most industrialised economy as a result of a weaker rand that fell more than 40 percent to the dollar last year had failed to ... Read More »

Value of Singapore stocks down 6.4% in Jan

SINGAPORE: Singapore’s stock market lost a hefty 6.4 per cent of its value in January amid market turmoil caused by fears of a hard landing in China’s economy and oil price woes. The market capitalisation of the 766 companies listed on the Singapore Exchange (SGX) was $804.9 billion as of yesterday, down from $856.4 billion as at Dec 31. January ... Read More »

South African white corn increase

CAPE TOWN: South African white corn increased by its extended daily limit in Johannesburg on concern the nation still requires imports to meet local demand despite recent rains easing the effects of the worst drought in memory, BVG (Pty) Ltd. said. White corn for delivery in July rose 2.5 percent to 5,016 rand ($312) a metric ton by midday on ... Read More »

Proposal for import-export warehouse to curb smuggling

WANG KELIAN: Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Shahidan Kassim has suggested the building of a special import-export warehouse at the Malaysia-Thailand border to curb smuggling. He said this irresponsible activity (smuggling) was the main threat to the economy and the source of other problems in the country, hence a more practical mechanism was needed as a solution. “If there ... Read More »

Hong Kong banks’ profits slide the most since 2008 financial crisis

HONG KONG: Hong Kong banks on average saw their pre-tax profit decrease by 2.8 per cent last year due to a drop in loan demand and increase of bad debt, making it the worst year for the local banking sector since the global financial crisis in 2008, according to the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA). HKMA deputy chief executive Arthur ... Read More »

Kuwait sees a record budget deficit on falling oil income

KUWAIT: OPEC member Kuwait projected a record budget deficit for the fiscal year starting April 1 on the sliding price of oil, the finance ministry said yesterday. The shortfall for the 2016-17 fiscal year is estimated at 11.5 billion dinars ($38 billion) or a massive 30 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) due to a sharp decline in oil revenues, ... Read More »

Big-spending Philippines posts strong Q4 growth

MANILA: Growth in the Philippine economy picked up late in 2015 as strong domestic demand and government spending cushioned the impact of weak exports which are hurting many of its larger, trade-reliant Asian neighbors. Even the severe El Nino dry spell, which hit farm output, failed to dampen the country’s momentum much. Southeast Asia’s fifth-largest economy grew 6.3 percent in ... Read More »

Qatar’s Commercial Bank profit falls by 24.9% to QR1.45bn in 2015

DOHA: The Commercial Bank delivered a net profit of QR1.45bn for 2015, a 24.9 percent decrease in profitability compared to 2014. On a quarterly basis, Commercial Bank generated net profit of QR117m in the fourth quarter 2015, as compared to QR387m in the fourth quarter 2014. The Board of Directors is recommending, for approval at the annual general assembly on ... Read More »

Consumer prices ease in January

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka’s consumer prices in January rose 0.9 percent from a year earlier, slowing from the previous month’s 2.8 percent, data from the Department of Census and Statistics showed yesterday. However, annual core inflation hit a 32-month high. On a month-on-month basis, the Colombo Consumer Price Index (CCPI) fell 0.2 percent. In December, it rose 0.3 percent, slowing from ... Read More »