Seoul lowers growth, inflation forecast
SEOUL • The Bank of Korea lowered its forecasts for economic growth and inflation, leaving the door open to cut borrowing costs further after holding its key interest rate unchanged at a record low yesterday.
The seven-day repurchase rate was kept at 1.5 per cent where it has been since last June.
Governor Lee Ju Yeol said that while this rate is accommodative, there is still room to lower it.
Citing a weaker-than- expected first quarter, the central bank reduced its estimate for gross domestic product growth this year to 2.8 per cent, from 3 per cent previously, and trimmed the inflation outlook to 1.2 per cent, from 1.4 per cent.
ECB reports recovery in financial sector
FRANKFURT • Europe's battered financial sector is showing further signs of mending and banks are increasingly competing for custom by easing credit standards, a key European Central Bank survey showed yesterday.
The ECB said its quarterly bank lending survey showed banks are easing credit standards for loans to firms.
Asahi to buy Peroni, Grolsch from AB InBev
TOKYO • Japanese beer giant Asahi said yesterday it would buy the Peroni and Grolsch brands from the world's top brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev, which AB InBev had pledged to sell as part of a tie-up with SABMiller.
Terms of the deal - which also includes UK brand Meantime - were not released, but AB InBev in February said Asahi had offered €2.55 billion (S$3.9 billion) for the brands.
Last year, AB InBev said it wanted to sell the Italian, Dutch and British brands in order to ease competition concerns and win approval from regulators, after announcing in November, that it had agreed to take over British rival SABMiller for US$121 billion (S$164 million), the third-largest acquisition in history.
Dubai home prices drop 10% in first quarter
DUBAI • Dubai residential property prices fell 10 per cent in the first three months of the year because of a strong dollar and as buyers had less cash to spend following the oil price slump, industry consultants JLL said in a report yesterday.
The Dubai real estate sector has softened since late 2014 after a three-year boom fed by an influx of cash from politically unstable Arab nations.