China's economic growth rate may be gathering pace again, as the government released strong industrial output and retail sales figures. Industrial production rose by 10.1 per cent in November, compared with a year earlier, according to the official data from the National Bureau of Statistics. This was better than expected, and the strongest performance since March. At the same time, China's retail sales increased by 14.9 per cent. This was also the best showing for eight months.
Tax not 'voluntary'
Danny Alexander has told multinational firms that paying tax is an obligation, not "a voluntary choice" they can make to please their customers. The chief secretary to the Treasury was speaking in regard to Starbucks, which last week said it would voluntarily pay more UK corporation tax. Mr Alexander told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show that the government was continuing efforts to tackle tax avoidance. He said this work was taking place both in the UK and abroad.
The decision by India's government to open the retail sector to foreign competition has received full parliamentary backing. A total of 123 MPs voted in favour of the government's decision and 109 MPs opposed it in the upper house. Last week, the Congress-led government won a key vote on the decision in the lower house. The win will help the government push ahead with further economic reforms to bolster India's slowing economy. Last Friday's win in the upper house came after the regional Bahujan Samaj Party's 15 MPs voted with the government, which does not have a majority in the chamber.
The US added 146,000 jobs in November, official data shows, as the economy seemingly shrugged off storm Sandy. The unexpectedly strong performance brought the unemployment rate down to a four-year low of 7.7 per cent of the workforce. The jobs figure was well above most analysts' expectations and continued a recent surge that began in July. Weekly benefits data registered a sharp but short-lived jump in the number claiming unemployment benefits in the states ravaged by the storm last month.