World shares tumble…Survey of business economists finds slight rise in optimism…Swedish watchdog says China’s a big arms producer
BANGKOK (AP) – Shares tumbled today in Europe and Asia after China announced sharp increases in the number of people infected with a potentially deadly virus. In early trading in Paris, the CAC 40 lost 1.9% while Germany’s DAX skidded 1.7%. Britain’s FTSE 100 gave up 2.2%. In Asia, many markets were closed for Lunar New Year holidays, while Australia was closed for Australia Day. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 closed 2% lower while the benchmark in Thailand dropped 3.1%. Wall Street is expected to open lower, with Dow and S&P futures both down 1.2%.
WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. business economists are slightly more optimistic about economic growth than they were three months ago, and most foresee sales at their companies remaining solid. The latest survey by the National Association for Business Economics finds that 67% of the business economists interviewed are expecting moderate economic growth of 1.1% to 2% over the coming year. That was essentially unchanged from the October survey.
COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) – A Swedish arms watchdog says China is the second-largest arms producer in the world behind the United States but ahead of Russia. The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute said it has “identified information from 2015-17 on the value of arms sales by major Chinese arms companies.” In the past, the institute said that a lack of transparency had meant that the value of Chinese companies’ arms sales had been either unknown or difficult to reliably estimate.
NEW DELHI (AP) – The Indian government plans to sell its entire stake in the national carrier Air India to shore up falling revenues and privatize the airline. A government document issued today invites initial expressions of interest in the airline, which has accumulated huge losses over the past decade. An initial attempt to sell the carrier last year failed to attract a single bidder. Air India operates both domestic and international routes, has a debt burden of more than 580 billion rupees ($8 billion) and has been operating at a loss for years.
CAMARILLO, Calif. (AP) – The average U.S. price of regular-grade gasoline has declined 4 cents a gallon to $2.60 over the past two weeks. Industry analyst Trilby Lundberg of the Lundberg Survey says the pump price responded to a drop in crude oil costs. áThe highest average price in the nation for regular-grade gas is $3.58 a gallon in Honolulu. The lowest average is $2.16 in Houston. The average price of diesel is $3.05, down 2 cents.