Economy grows at 0.7% pace

The UK economy expanded 0.7 percent in the fourth quarter of last year, ending the best year since 2007 amid growth in every sector except construction. The increase in gross domestic product followed a 0.8 percent gain in the third quarter, the Office for National Statistics said yesterday. It was in line with the median forecast in a survey of 39 economists. Finance and business services contributed more than half of the gain. The strength of the economy has pushed the pound to a two-and-a-half-year high against the dollar this month and is forcing Bank of England officials to reconsider their forward guidance, a policy aimed at persuading consumers and businesses that borrowing costs will stay low. – Bloomberg


Cost cuts boost Siemens’ profit

Quarterly net profit rose 20 percent at Siemens as the company moved past one-time charges and pressed ahead with its cost-reduction programme, the industrial equipment maker said yesterday. Net profit rose to e1.46 billion (R22bn) from e1.21bn in the fourth quarter of last year, the company’s fiscal first quarter. But a stronger euro and slower demand in emerging markets hurt revenues, which were down 3 percent at e17.325bn. The Munich-based company also said it was withdrawing its listing on the New York Stock Exchange. It said that the US accounted for less than 5 percent of its global trading volume and that ending the listing would simplify financial reporting. – Sapa-AFP