Business this week
Taiwan applied to join the new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, a rival to the World Bank that has been devised and will be unofficially led byChina. More than 40 countries, includingBritain,Germany andRussia, have signed up to the AIIB, despite American misgivings about its openness and creditworthiness.China was cool to the idea of admittingTaiwan: a foreign-affairs spokesman saidBeijing wants “to avoid the two Chinas…situation”.
After some delay Chinaat last announced that it would implement a deposit-insurance scheme starting on May 1st. By setting limits to the protection of savers, this is an important advance in the government's promise to liberalise the financial system and encourage competition among banks. The scheme will insure bank deposits of up to 500,000 yuan ($81,000), which should cover up to 98% of accounts.
The Bank of England published the criteria for this year's stress tests of seven big banks, which must demonstrate that they have adequate capital to withstand hypothetical economic shocks. The new tests place less emphasis on how the banks would respond to an economic meltdown in Britain and more on global risks, including a property crash in China and oil falling to $38 a barrel.
UnitedHealth, America's biggest health-care group, agreed to buy Catamaran, one of the “pharmacy-benefit managers” that mediate prices between drug companies and health insurers, in a $12.8 billion deal. Spending on prescription drugs ballooned by 13% inAmerica last year, the largest increase since 2003. This was mostly because of a 31% jump in disbursements on speciality medicines, according to a report from Express Scripts, another PBM.
Charter Communications announced a takeover of Bright House Networks for $10.4 billion. Charter, which will beAmerica's second-biggest cable operator after the deal closes, had bid for Time Warner Cable last year before it was trumped by Comcast.
The legal battle between Hewlett-Packard and former executives at Autonomy rumbled on. HP alleges that Autonomy provided it with misleading accounts ahead of an ill-fated $11.1 billion takeover in 2011. For the first time HP directly sued Mike Lynch, Autonomy's founder, and Sushovan Hussain, its former chief financial officer, seeking $5 billion in damages. Mr Lynch said he would counter-sue.
Annual profit at Huawei, a Chinese maker of telecoms equipment, rose by a third, to 28 billion yuan ($4.6 billion). Huawei's earnings were boosted in part by building some of the radio towers used in the roll-out of 4G inChina. Its smartphone business is also thriving, with sales up by 33%. Although Huawei has come under suspicion inAmerica for links to the Chinese army, a recent report to the national-security adviser inBritain concluded that it poses no threat.
Chinese hackers were thought to be behind a cyber-attack on GitHub, a website that is popular with software developers and used to store code. But it also links to copies of websites that are banned inChina, including Greatfire.org, which provides software tools that make it easier to evadeChina's internet censors.
A negative feeling
Japan recorded zero inflation in February, according to a key measure from the Bank of Japan that excludes last year's increase in the sales tax (overall consumer prices rose by 2% from the same month last year). The news raised fears thatJapan may slip back into deflation, despite a formidable effort by the central bank over the past two years to break the country's deflationary spiral.
Consumer prices in the euro zone fell by 0.1% year on year in March. It was the currency bloc's fourth consecutive month of deflation, though it was an improvement on February's inflation rate of -0.3% and January's -0.6%.
The British economy grew at a faster pace last year than had been thought. A second estimate found GDP expanding by 2.8% in 2014, compared with the 2.6% that had been previously published. The news was welcomed by the government in the first official week of campaigning ahead of a general election on May 7th.
1.apply to 适用于；运用
例句:The researchers said the findings could apply to humans.
2.promise to 承诺
例句:China's leaders promise to hunt down and punish hoarders and speculators.
3.respond to 回应,反应
例句:A spokesman didn't respond to requests for comment.
4.agree to 同意，赞成
例句:He could agree to cut nuclear arms with russia.