Business this week
Jul 13th 2013 |From the print edition
The European Commission unveiled its proposed “single resolution mechanism” that would give it the authority to wind down failing banks in the euro zone with the support of a new cross-border fund. Germany is opposed, arguing that such an expansion of the commission’s powers would require a treaty change. France, Italy and Spain are fairly happy with the idea.
American regulators outlined plans to increase the amount of capital that eight systemically important banks must hold. The banks will be required to increase their leverage ratios to 5% of their total assets, which is above the 3% agreed to by international regulators in the Basel 3 accord. Although the banks would have until 2018 to comply, they might in practice need to meet these thresholds earlier.
A committee set up by the British Treasury to choose a new administrator for LIBOR gave the job to NYSE Euronext, which operates the New York Stock Exchange. It is paying a token 1 pound (1.50 dollars) for the honour and expects to start managing the international benchmark interest rate early next year. The British Bankers’ Association has overseen LIBOR since the 1980s, but the scandal surrounding the manipulation of the rate by traders dented its reputation.
The global asset-management industry grew to a record 62.4 trillion dollars last year, according to the Boston Consulting Group, passing the previous high set in 2007, before the financial crisis. Most of the gain is explained by roaring equity markets, which increased the value of assets under management.
China’s Ministry of Public Security accused GlaxoSmithKline, a British drugs company, of bribing doctors in three cities to prescribe its medicines to patients and of receiving kickbacks through conference fees. China has been an important growth market for GSK over the past decade.
Faring slightly worse
The IMF shaved its forecast of growth for the world economy from a previous estimate in April. It lowered its projections for this year in America, the euro zone, China, Brazil, Russia and India, though Britain, Canada and Japan all had their GDP growth figures revised up. The IMF’s list of looming risks includes a sharper slowdown in emerging markets and the possible tapering of quantitative easing in America, which, it said, could lead to “sustained capital-flow reversals”. Meanwhile, the cooling of China’s economy was underlined by official figures showing that its exports unexpectedly fell by 3.1% in June compared with the same month last year. Imports were down by 0.7%.
Royal Dutch Shell appointed Ben van Beurden as its new chief executive. Mr Van Beurden, who has spent a large part of his 30 years at the energy company working at its liquefied-natural-gas division, had not been regarded as a front-runner.
Spoiling the books plot
A judge in America ruled that Apple had conspired with five big publishers to push up the price of e-books and break Amazon’s grip on the market. The judge found that the “evidence is overwhelming that Apple knew of the unlawful aims of the conspiracy” hatched with the publishers, which have all reached separate settlements with the Department of Justice. Apple is to appeal against the decision.
The chief executive of Barnes & Noble resigned, two weeks after its latest quarterly earnings report made for troubling reading. The book retailer’s Nook e-reader doubled its losses as it struggled to compete with the Kindle and iPad, a blow to the company’s hopes that digital publishing would offset falling sales of books.
在做出有关阅读便利方面的季度收益报告两周后，Barnes & Noble公司首席执行官提出辞职。这个书本零售商发行的NOOK电子书跟kindle和ipad拼力竞争，结果导致损失加倍。本以为靠数字出版能抵消书本销量下降带来的损失，结果确让公司深受打击。
Tribune became the latest media company to announce it is splitting in two, with a plan to separate its newspaper arm from its television and internet division. The publisher of the Los Angeles Times and other dailies gets around two-thirds of its sales from newspapers and websites, but only a fifth of its operating profit. It recently bought 19 local TV stations in a 2.7 billion dollars deal.
Global personal-computer shipments continued to slump, falling by about 11% in the second quarter, according to Gartner and IDC, two tech-market research firms. Both also reported that China’s Lenovo overtook Hewlett-Packard as the world’s biggest seller of PCs.
Delivering on a promise
The British government set out its plan to privatise the Royal Mail. Valued at up to 3 billion poumds (4.5 billion dollars), it will be the biggest privatisation in Britain since the mass sale of state industries more than two decades ago. Postal workers will be handed 10% of the shares, though unions remain opposed. The privatisation does not include post offices