INDIA'S industrial output rose more than expected in October, boosted by increased demand during the festive season in the country. Factory output rose 8.2 per cent from a year earlier. Most analysts had forecast a rise of 4.5 per cent. Manufacturing activity, which accounts for almost two-thirds of overall output, rose 9.6 per cent from a year earlier. Analysts said the data was also helped by a low base and did not indicate a recovery in India's economy. Industrial production had dipped 5.1 per cent during the same month last year.
THE US Bureau of Labour Statistics has reported that Australia is the developed world's least efficient manufacturing nation, according to The Australian Financial Review. The report found that Australia's manufacturing productivity fell four per cent in 2011, putting it last among 19 developed nations. Australian manufacturing has been hit hard by "Dutch disease" — a strong dollar driven by rising commodity exports — which sparks wage hikes that render many industries uncompetitive. The data measures output in national currencies per hour worked, largely eliminating exchange rate effects, the AFR added.
UK Prime Minister David Cameron has welcomed a major deal safeguarding 9000 jobs announced at the Flintshire plant of plane-maker Airbus. On a visit to Broughton, Mr Cameron said the deal was "excellent news and a tremendous boost" for UK manufacturing. The company says a $US9billion ($F15.92b) order for 100 A320 planes from AirAsia will safeguard 1500 Airbus jobs in the UK and 7500 in its supply chain. The wings for its A320 series are made at the Flintshire factory. AirAsias's order is for 64 of the A320neo (new engine option) and 36 of the A320ceo (present engine option) aircraft.
SENTIMENT among Japanese businesses worsened in the three months to December, the Bank of Japan's Tankan survey has indicated, underlining the weakness in the country's economy. The survey's large manufacturers' index deteriorated to minus 12, from minus three in the previous quarter. Japanese manufacturers have been hurt by slowing export demand, a strong yen and subdued domestic consumption.
ANZ Banking Group Ltd has declined to pass on the Reserve Bank of Australia's full cut to interest rates, lowering its key lending rate by 20 basis points. The bank has dropped its standard variable mortgage rate to 6.4 per cent from 6.6 per cent, following the RBA's decision to cut the official cash rate by 25 basis points to 3 per cent at its December meeting. ANZ Australia chief executive officer Philip Chronican said the bank had taken into account the effect of the lower cash rate on domestic funding, ongoing competition for deposits and the international funding environment in making the decision.