Business this week
Oct 12th 2013 |From the print edition
Barack Obama nominated Janet Yellen to replace Ben Bernanke as chairman of the Federal Reserve in February. Ms Yellen is Mr Bernanke’s deputy and became the outright favourite for the top job when Larry Summers withdrew his name from consideration. She has been instrumental in creating the Fed’s policy of monetary stimulus and the “forward guidance” on interest rates that many central banks now give. However, she could get a rough ride from Republicans at her confirmation hearing in the Senate.
Slaying George’s dragons
The IMF’s latest GDP forecasts shaved 0.3 of a percentage point off the world’s economic growth rate for this year, to 2.9%. The fund warned that the Fed should not taper its stimulus programme too quickly, or the subsequent rise in borrowing costs would hinder growth. But it gave George Osborne, Britain’s chancellor, something to crow about by lifting Britain’s growth forecast by half of a percentage point; in the spring the IMF had raised concerns that Mr Osborne’s austerity measures could choke growth.
The IMF also cut its growth outlook for emerging markets. Brazil raised its main interest rate for the fifth time since April, by half of a percentage point to 9.5%, as it battles stubbornly high inflation.
Serbia proposed severe spending cuts. The government said it was also getting a loan “on favourable terms” that was almost a “gift” from the United Arab Emirates.
After 40 years without much success, Airbus at last broke into the Japanese aviation market in a big way when Japan Airlines ordered 31 A350 widebody jets with a total list price of $9.8 billion, and placed an option for 25 more aircraft. It is a blow to Boeing, which had a virtual monopoly in Japan. Analysts wonder if JAL’s decision to buy from Airbus is related to the technical problems that have beset Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner; two JAL Dreamliner flights had to be diverted this week because of glitches.
Demand for shares in Royal Mail was said to be heavily oversubscribed ahead of its flotation, the biggest sale of a state asset in Britain for two decades. As with past privatisations, the government has been criticised by some for undervaluing what the market will pay for a public-sector company.
Twitter provided much-sought-after details of its finances ahead of its IPO. Revenue at the microblogging site was $253m in the first half of the year, double that from the same period last year, and it had 218m monthly active users, up by 44% from last year (around 5% of that is spam).
HTC reported a worse-than-expected quarterly loss, its first in 11 years. The Taiwanese smartphone-maker has fallen further behind its cheaper Chinese rivals, and now accounts for 3% of global market share, down from 9% in 2011.
The Apple of its eye
The Obama administration decided not to overturn a ban imposed by America’s trade commission on some of Samsung’s older phones for infringing patents held by Apple. It is unlikely to hurt the South Korean company’s sales much, though some have questioned the White House’s motives. In August it did quash a ban imposed by the commission on Apple’s older iPads and iPhones that were found to infringe Samsung’s patents.
奥巴马政府未否决美国贸易委员会对侵权苹果的一些旧款三星产品颁布的禁令。尽管有人质疑白宫的动机，但这不会对这家韩国公司的销量有太大影响。而与之截然不同的是，今年八月，奥巴马政府解除了美国贸易委员会对侵权三星产品的苹果旧款iPads 和 iPhones发布的禁令。
Alcatel-Lucent said it would cut 10,000 jobs, or around 15% of its worldwide labour force. Since France’s Alcatel and America’s Lucent merged in 2006, the combined telecoms-equipment maker has made a profit in just one year. Others in the industry, such as Cisco, are also retrenching. Although most of the cuts are outside France, the French government said it wanted “social dialogue” with the company about scaling them back.
Walmart brought the shutters down on its troubled joint venture in India with Bharti. Foreign supermarket retailers have yet to set up shop fully in India after last year’s regulatory change that allows them to own up to 51% of their operations. Most are put off by the requirement that 30% of their produce must come from small local businesses.
Electronic-cigarette companies were relieved when the European Parliament decided not to reclassify their products as medicinal, thereby avoiding tougher regulations. European governments, however, still want strict restrictions until more is known about the health effects of e-cigarettes.
Suited and booted
Men’s Wearhouse, a clothing chain that has most of its stores in America’s eastern states, rejected a $2.3 billion takeover bid from Jos A. Bank, a rival. Last month the boss of Men’s Wearhouse provided a novel explanation for a big quarterly drop in profit, saying that the13 in 2013 was causing suspicious brides (not grooms) to postpone their wedding plans until next year.
大部分专营店开设在美国东部各州的服装连锁Men’s Wearhouse拒绝其同行Jos A. Bank时装店以23亿美元的价格收购。上月，Men’s Wearhouse 老板对该企业季度大幅亏损做出了新奇的解释，称2013年中的13 这个不吉利的数字可能是造成新娘（不是新郎）将婚礼推迟到明年的原因。