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World Business Quick Take

CHINA

Q1 plunge of 9% forecast

China’s economy is set to post a 9 percent plunge in the first quarter from a year earlier, Goldman Sachs Group Inc said yesterday. A day after retail sales, industrial output and investment data plunged by far more than the median estimate of analysts, Goldman economists said that their new forecast for real GDP growth this year is 3 percent, down from 5.5 percent. The previous first-quarter forecast was for an expansion of 2.5 percent.

ENVIRONMENT

McDonald’s targets toys

McDonald’s Corp yesterday pledged to end the use of plastic found in toys served with children’s “Happy Meals” in the UK and Ireland by the beginning of next year. The plastic items would be replaced with a “soft toy, sustainable paper-based gifts or books,” the US fast-food giant said. “This represents the biggest reduction in plastic by McDonald’s UK and Ireland to date and is the next step in its mission to reduce its environmental impact across all areas of the business,” the company said in a statement.

RETAIL

Carphone to shut stores

British electricals retailer Dixons Carphone PLC is closing all of its 531 UK standalone Carphone Warehouse stores as part of a plan to turn around its mobile business, the company said yesterday. The stores, representing 8 percent of Dixons Carphone’s total UK selling space, are to close on April 3. The closures would result in 2,900 redundancies, with 1,800 other workers expected to take new roles internally.

RETAIL

Nordstrom revises forecast

Apparel retailer Nordstrom Inc on Monday withdrew its forecast for the current fiscal year and said that it would close stores in the US and Canada for two weeks, starting yesterday, in an effort to arrest the spread of COVID-19. The stores closing include Nordstrom full-line, Nordstrom Rack and Trunk Club clubhouses. It would provide pay and benefits to its store employees during the period, Nordstrom said.

AVIATION

S&P downgrades Boeing

S&P Global Ratings on Monday downgraded its rating for aircraft manufacturer Boeing Co. “Boeing’s cash flows for the next two years are going to be much weaker than we had expected, due to the 737 MAX grounding, resulting in worse credit ratios than we had forecast,” S&P said in a statement. “In addition, the significant reduction in global air travel due to the coronavirus will likely result in an increase in aircraft order deferrals, further pressuring cash flows.” It lowered its rating for the company to “BBB” from “A-.”

TECHNOLOGY

Huge French fine for Apple

The French Competition Authority on Monday slapped a record 1.1 billion euro (US$1.2 billion) fine on US tech giant Apple Inc for anti-competitive behavior toward its independent retail distributors. It found that Apple acted to prevent independent retailers in France from competing on price and abused its economic power over them, the agency said. Authority President Isabelle de Silva said that it was “the heaviest fine against a firm” as well as in any case, which also included two of Apple’s wholesalers in France who were hit with fines worth nearly 140 million euros.

 

News source: Taipei Times