Daily Archives: September 1, 2016

U.S. Auto Sales Slow in August

DETROIT, Michigan, Dhu-AlQa’dah 29, 1437, Sep 1, 2016, SPA– The U.S. auto industry struggled to maintain past sales momentum in August, with General Motors (GM), Ford, and Nissan saying Thursday that they sold fewer vehicles as less discounting kept customers from showrooms.
However, the North American unit of Fiat Chrysler reported a 3 percent sales boost buoyed by its popular Jeep sport utility vehicles (SUVs).
GM, the biggest U.S. automaker, reported an 8 percent sales declined compared to August 2015. Ford said that it experienced a 5 percent drop in sales, while Nissan said it saw a 6.5 percent drop – a departure from high sales numbers in previous months.
Automakers offered a positive take on the numbers, saying that the average amount customers paid for a car or truck – the average transaction price (ATP) – had increased.
The average vehicle price had already risen 2.5 percent in July, compared to a year ago, to $34,264, Kelly Blue Book says.
–SPA
18:57 LOCAL TIME 15:57 GMT

U.S. Jobless Claims Remain Low, Planned Layoffs Decline

Washington, Dhu-AlQa’dah 29, 1437, Sep 1, 2016, SPA — The number of people filing initial applications for U.S. state unemployment benefits rose slightly last week but remained near historic low levels, the government reported Thursday, pointing to sustained labor-market strength.
A second report, by a consulting firm, showed planned layoffs by U.S.-based employers decreased 29 percent in August.
The Labor Department said jobless claims fell 2,000 to 263,000 last week. It was the 78th consecutive week that claims remained below the 300,000 level associated with an improving jobs market, the longest such stretch since 1970, when the labor market was much smaller.
The four-week moving average of jobless claims—a better measure of labor-market trends because it smoothes weekly volatility—fell 1,000 to 263,000 last week.
With the labor market nearing full employment, there likely is limited room for further declines in jobless claims, economists say.
Meanwhile, consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas said employers in the United States announced plans to cut 32,188 workers from their payrolls in August, down sharply from 45,346 in July.
The computer sector dominated planned layoffs last month, with Cisco Systems announcing plans to reduce its workforce by 5,500. There also were layoffs in the energy, industrial-goods, and entertainment and leisure sectors.
The jobless-claims and layoffs data comes one day ahead of the government’s job-creation report for August, which economists believe will show a gain of 180,000 positions following a jump of 255,000 in July. The unemployment rate is forecast to fall 0.1 percentage point to 4.8 percent.
–SPA
17:46 LOCAL TIME 14:46 GMT

U.S. Productivity Weakens, Labor Costs Jump

Washington, Dhu-AlQa’dah 29, 1437, Sep 1, 2016, SPA — U.S. productivity fell in the second quarter by more than first estimated, while labor costs accelerated sharply, the government reported Thursday.
The Labor Department said productivity fell at an annual rate of 0.6 percent, even worse than the 0.5 percent decline initially reported. It matched the 0.6 percent drop in the January-March period and marked the third consecutive quarter that productivity has weakened.
Labor costs rose at an annual rate of 4.3 percent in the April-June period, the biggest increase since a 5.7 percent advance in the fourth quarter of 2015. Labor costs fell at a 0.3 percent annual rate in the first quarter.
The downward revision of productivity reflected the fact that the government last week revised lower its estimate of overall output, as measured by gross domestic product (GDP).
Productivity—the amount of output per hour of work—is the major factor that supports rising living standards, and it has been lagging in the current seven-year economic expansion, limiting overall GDP growth.
Annual economic growth has averaged just 1.2 percent in the time since the 2007-2009 Great Recession, the poorest performance in the post-World War II period. Economists say the weakness in productivity has been a factor in the slow growth seen over the past seven years. Federal Reserve (Fed) Chair Janet Yellen has pointed to productivity as a key challenge facing the country.
Economists believe businesses need to begin focusing more on increasing the efficiency of their existing workforce rather than just hiring more workers to meet demand. They expect companies to start focusing on productivity as the labor market hits full employment and the pool of available qualified workers diminishes.
–SPA
17:18 LOCAL TIME 14:18 GMT

“Saudi-Japanese Business Forum – Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030” Holds Activities 2 Tokyo

On the other hand, the Japanese Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Hiro Shiki Seko welcomed, in a similar speech, the visit of the Deputy Crown Prince to Japan and the accompanying delegation of ministers.
He added that the large number of attendees to this forum is an evidence of the great interest being attached to it by the Japanese to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its close ties with Japan.
He pointed out that this relation, which was founded in 1955, has been strengthened steadily in the field of economy, and that the Kingdom is a very important partner for Japan, where it is the largest oil exporter to Japan, stressing that Japan is also one of the largest exporters of various products to the Kingdom, and this is a clear evidence that the relations between them are strong and prosperous.
At the conclusion of his speech, the Japanese Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry welcomed again the visit being currently paid by the Deputy Crown Prince to Japan, stressing that this visit will lay the foundations for new rules for cooperation between the two friendly countries.
Then, the ceremony of handing over the booklet entitled “Strategic Partners of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030” was held where the Chairman of Japan External Trade Organization JETRO handed over the booklet to the Minister of Commerce and Investment, Dr. Majed Al-Qasabi.
Moreover, the Japanese Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry also presented the booklet as gifts to the Saudi Ministers.
–SPA
15:15 LOCAL TIME 12:15 GMT

“Saudi-Japanese Business Forum – Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030” Holds Activities

Tokyo, Dhu-AlQa’dah 29, 1437, Sep 1, 2016, SPA — In the framework of the visit of Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Second Deputy Premier and Minister of Defense to Japan, the “Saudi-Japanese Business Forum – Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030” held its activities here today with the participation of Saudi Minister of Finance Dr. Ibrahim Al-Assaf; Minister Economy and Planning Dr. Adel Faqih and a number of Saudi and Japanese Ministers.
At the beginning of the Forum, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Japan External Trade Organization “JETRO”, Hiroaki Ishii, delivered an opening speech in which he welcomed the Japanese Ministers and businessmen, whose numbers amounted to 500 businessmen in this Forum.
JETRO Chairman said that “Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030” is a national strategy for the transformation in the twenty first century and is fit and in harmony with the aspirations of Japan in the finance of industries and the development of facilities where Japanese companies have great potentials to contribute to this vision
–More
15:09 LOCAL TIME 12:09 GMT

European shares boosted by rally in banks, miners

LONDON, Dhu-AlQa’dah 29, 1437, Sep 1, 2016, SPA — European shares rose at the open on Thursday, buoyed by a rally in banks and a recovery by commodity stocks after recent falls, Reuters reported.
Banks gained 1.6 percent, the top sectoral risers, with talk over M&A in the sector combining with hopes of improved growth.
Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank both rose 3 percent, the top gainers on the German DAX, after reports the banks had held talks about a tie-up. Deutsche Bank’s CEO on Wednesday called for more consolidation in the sector, although he said his bank would not do any big deal-making any time soon.
The STOXX Europe 600 kicked off September with a rise of 0.6 percent, after finishing August with a 0.4 percent fall on Wednesday as commodity prices slumped.
Oil prices stabilised and metal prices recovered, leaving the energy and mining sectors up 0.5 percent and 1.2 percent respectively.
Miners benefited after activity in China’s manufacturing sector unexpectedly expanded at its fastest pace in nearly two years in August as construction boomed, suggesting the economy may be steadying in response to stronger government spending.
Euro zone PMI surveys were also in focus. The figures showed manufacturing growth in the bloc slowed during August and much of the expansion remained focused in the north.
Italian and French blue chip stocks were off highs after national figures showed that manufacturing slowed in both countries.
Germany’s DAX ticked up as growth there remained solid.
–SPA
12:32 LOCAL TIME 09:32 GMT