Business in brief: Northern Irish business improving
COMPANIES in Northern Ireland have reported an increase in activity for the twelfth month running, helped by a further increase in new business.
With workloads continuing to rise, businesses increased their staffing levels, according to the latest Ulster Bank Purchasing Managers’ Index for the North.
US violates trade rules with China
World Trade Organisation judges found yesterday that the United States had violated global trade rules by imposing import duties on a range of Chinese steel products and solar panels that Washington asserted had government subsidies.
But the three-member panel also rejected some of the Chinese arguments against the US countervailing duties in the $7.2bn dispute brought in May 2012.
Airbus’ A330 revamp
Airbus announced a revamp of its twin-aisle A330 passenger jet, offering a cheaper alternative to the Boeing 787 Dreamliner as the two planemakers vie for up to $250bn in orders from cost-conscious airlines.
The European planemaker launched the A330neo to open Britain’s Farnborough Airshow with a deal for 25 planes from leasing company Air Lease Corp
Airbus boss Fabrice Bregier predicted up to 100 purchase commitments this week for the model, which features new, more fuel-efficient Rolls-Royce engines.
China’s regional boost
China’s regional governments are starting to pull out their own stimulus cards to shore up growth as central authorities limit aid for the economy.
Northern Hebei province, whose 4.2pc first-quarter expansion pace was less than half that of a year earlier, will invest 1.2 trillion yuan (€142bn) in areas including railways, energy and housing.
Heilongjiang province in the northeast, with 2.9pc growth that was China’s lowest in the first quarter, will spend more than 300 billion yuan over two years in areas including infrastructure and mining.
BRICS for Shanghai
Shanghai looks set to become the headquarters of a development bank being launched by the BRICS emerging market nations, despite fears by some members of the group that China could hijack the bank to serve its interests.
Brazil, China, India, Russia and South Africa are due to sign off on the new institution today, along with an emergency reserves fund, after two years of negotiations, a major step for the diverse group.