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Carrefour warns on profit again
PARIS: Carrefour cut its 2017 profit forecast for the second time in six months on Wednesday, as its new boss prepares to unveil a turnaround plan for the world’s second-largest retailer next week. The French supermarket group said it now expected recurring operating profit of about 2 billion euros ($2.5 billion). That would be down 15 per cent year-on-year at current exchange rates, worse than the 12 per cent drop it forecast
 
 
Bank of Canada raises benchmark interest rate
OTTAWA: The Bank of Canada raised its benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points to 1.25 per cent Wednesday, pointing to sustained growth in the G7 economy and inflation that is closer to the country’s target. The central bank explained in a statement that while the Canadian economy was going strong, with jobs on the rise and inflation in check, “uncertainty about the future of NAFTA is weighing increasingly on the outlook.”
   
Bank of America takes tax hit, vows longer-term boost
NEW YORK: Bank of America Corp’s quarterly profit was nearly chopped in half by tax-related charges but the lender’s management promised the new US tax system would eventually benefit shareholders. The tax overhaul, signed by US President Donald Trump late in December, is taking a chunk out of Wall Street profits this quarter as lenders swallow one-time charges on overseas earnings and account for tax benefits that are now less
 
 
EU says banks’ bad loan woes ease but need capital buffer hikes
BRUSSELS: European Union banks’ holding of bad loans is decreasing but remains high, the European Commission said on Thursday as it prepares measures to force higher provisioning for future soured debt. The 2008-2009 global financial crisis left European banks saddled with piles of non-performing loans (NPLs) which they struggled to recoup from distressed firms and households. But as the bloc’s economy recovers, the amount of
   
ECB’s Nouy ‘inflexible’ in meeting with Italian banks
MILAN: The European Central Bank’s Chief Supervisor Daniele Nouy was “inflexible” at a meeting with Italian lenders on Wednesday where topics such as bad loans were discussed, two sources with knowledge of the matter said. Italian banks piled up soured loans in a deep recession and are struggling to get rid of them as a clogged judicial system hampers recoveries and sales can only be carried out at a loss. The Bank of Italy
 
 
Alcoa misses estimate as Brazil drought hits production
BENGALURU: Aluminum producer Alcoa Corp’s profit and revenue both missed market estimates for the fourth quarter as a drought in Brazil hit bauxite production and higher power prices in Spain boosted expenses, the company said on Wednesday. Alcoa’s shares, which closed up 1.3 per cent in the regular session, fell nearly 6 per cent in after-hours trading. The company said the drought in Brazil led to an acute water shortage that not
   
Seattle area rents drop as new apartments sit empty
Rents are dropping significantly across the Seattle area for the first time this decade, as a flood of new construction has left apartments sitting empty in Seattle’s hottest neighborhoods. The average rent across King and Snohomish counties dipped 2.9 per cent in December compared with the prior quarter, according to a new quarterly landlord survey by Apartment Insights/RealData. Rents sometimes drop by a few bucks this time
 
 
Trump’s offshore oil plan to lure rigs from Guyana
WASHINGTON: The world’s hottest offshore prospect for oil companies is off the coast of Guyana, where a series of major discoveries has drawn hundreds of millions of dollars. The Trump administration is hoping to lure some of that investment to the US with a proposal to sell leases in almost every inch of the nation’s outer continental shelf - including territory hugging the US East Coast that share characteristics with Guyana,
   
Retailers try luring shoppers with food, other items
Los Angeles: Retailer Mark Werts was dining in a Hong Kong restaurant a few years ago when he noticed that most people were doing more than chewing. “Of about 130 people, 129 people were on their phones,” said Werts, who owns the brands American Rag Cie clothing and Maison Midi home goods. “So it struck me that there’s an enormous opportunity while you’re eating to combine selling decor in a restaurant.” The epiphany led him to
 
 
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