Business News Archive - November 20, 2008

Chinese employment, already tough in the current global financial climate, may get worse early next year, the country's top employment official said Thursday. Human Resources and Social Security Minister Yin Weimin said the employment situation may face more difficulties in the first quarter of 2009 before improving in the second quarter, Xinhua reported. The minister told reporters the worsening global economic situation has hit Chinese employment since October, the state-run news agency said. He said he expects the situation to improve in the second quarter of next year when government steps to boost domestic demand take effect. Yin, commenting on recent labor unrest in the country, said the problem remains the top concern of the government, Xinhua said. Yin said the overall employment situation this year has remained stable, noting China's jobless rate in the first 10 months of 2008 was 4 percent, well below the government's efforts to keep it at 4.5 percent or lower for the whole y

China, currently the largest holder of U.S. treasuries, may buy more of the debt instruments as they are seen as the best investment option. Economists in China say the U.S.

Major Asia-Pacific stock markets closed with big losses Thursday after a steady sell-off in step with a similar disastrous closing overnight on Wall Street. The Asian rout was led by the 225-stock Nikkei index on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

The International Monetary Fund has agreed to loan Iceland $2.1 billion, bringing Iceland's borrowing total to more than $5 billion, the government said. Iceland has secured the additional funding of $3 billion from Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Russia and Poland, the government said in a statement.

Data on housing and prices pushed the Dow Jones industrial average to a six-year low Wednesday, stirring alarm over where the U.S. economy is headed. The recent housing and price data have considerable shock value.

The majority of Canadian employers polled about Christmas parties said they'll spend the same as usual but 11 percent were canceling festivities altogether. The poll for the Workopolis.com online job search company found 68 percent of companies will spend about the same on parties this year, despite the global economic downturn. Decision-makers at 10 percent of companies polled said they would be spending more. Among those planning on scaling back, 20 percent said they would plan for less expensive entertainment or venues, 15 percent said they hold the party on company premises to cut costs and 13 percent said they would have the party on a weeknight rather than the weekend. Among workers surveyed, 62 percent said they would understand of their company scaled back or canceled holiday parties, the release said.

Crude oil prices fell closer to $50 per barrel Thursday on the New York Mercantile Exchange as sweeping stock losses pointed to weaker demand. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 5.07 percent Wednesday, closing at less than 8,000 for the first time in six years, the bear market signaling weaker economies could continue to undermine commodity prices. Crude oil prices fell sharply, down $3.09 overnight to $50.53 per barrel.

Canadian wholesale sales increased 1.5 percent to $46.3 billion in September, based largely on the automotive sector, Statistics Canada reported Thursday. Following the automotive sector's 6 percent monthly gain to $7.4 billion, the machinery and electronic equipment sector was second in terms of growth,

Word of the Day
  • Stoppage; cessation (of labor).
  • A standing still or idling (of mills, factories, etc.).
The word chomage comes into English from French.]