November 30, 2013

Briefcase

MEXICO CITY

Drug cartels now making money exporting iron ore

Mexican drug cartels looking to diversify their businesses long ago moved into oil theft, pirated goods, extortion and kidnapping, consuming an ever larger swath of the country’s economy. This month, federal officials confirmed the cartels have even entered the country’s lucrative mining industry, exporting iron ore to Chinese mills.

Such large-scale illegal mining operations were long thought to be wild rumor, but federal officials confirmed they had known about the cartels’ involvement in mining since 2010, and that the Nov. 4 military takeover of Lazaro Cardenas, Mexico’s second-largest port, was aimed at cutting off their export trade.

That news served as a wake-up call to Mexicans that drug traffickers have penetrated the country’s economy at unheard-of levels, becoming true Mafia-style organizations.

LONDON

Eurozone inflation rise eases pressure on bank

Welcome news on inflation and unemployment on Friday will ease pressure on the European Central Bank to act again next week to shore up the 17-country eurozone economy. But they do little to ease longer-term worries over the recovery.

Eurostat, the EU’s statistics office, said unemployment was down for the first time since early 2011 and that inflation edged higher in November, dampening fears that the eurozone is about to face a debilitating period of falling prices.

TOKYO

Consumer prices increase but spending stays tepid

Japan’s economy is gaining momentum, data for October showed, with consumer prices excluding food and energy rising 0.3 percent from a year earlier, the biggest gain since 1998. However, household spending remained tepid, as incomes slipped from the same month a year before.

The slew of indicators released Friday suggests that the ultra-loose monetary policy and stimulus strategy of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is helping end a long bout of deflation.

MUMBAI, India

Economic growth edges up, remains weak at 4.8 percent

India says its economic growth has risen to 4.8 percent in the quarter ending in September. It is an improvement over the previous quarter’s dismal figure but still far below what it needs to pull millions out of poverty.

Asia’s third-largest economy had averaged a healthy 8 percent expansion for the last decade but recently has been faltering. The previous quarter’s growth of 4.4 percent was the lowest in 10 years.

India’s government estimates it needs 8 percent growth to provide jobs for the 13 million people entering the workforce each year out of a population of 1.2 billion.

– From news service reports

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