World Bulletin / News Desk
Italy's national statistics body ISTAT threatened on Thursday to cease issuing data on the economy, saying it had been crippled by government spending cuts aimed at reducing national debt and righting public finances.
The euro zone's third biggest economy, whose statistics are closely watched as the country's huge state debts put it at the center of the bloc's financial crisis, would face stiff European Union fines if the flow of data is cut off, ISTAT President Enrico Giovannini was quoted as saying.
"Spending cuts are putting ISTAT at risk. From January onwards we will not issue any statistics," Giovannini told daily La Repubblica in an interview.
Prime Minister Mario Monti's government has unveiled plans to cut public spending by 4.4 billion euros in 2012, 10.6 billion euros in 2013 and over 11 billion euros in 2014, to be mainly achieved through a planned 10 percent reduction of public administration staff.
Planned government cuts would reduce financing to ISTAT to 150-160 million euros by 2013 from 176 million euros currently, Giovannini said. He said that was half what is set aside for national statistics in France and one-third of what available in Nordic countries.
Giovannini called the planned cuts "unsustainable".
He said ISTAT produces 300 sets of data a year, up 25 percent from two years ago and 2,000 smaller reports.
Seventy percent of ISTAT's output is aimed at meeting obligations with the EU.
"We will not issue data on inflation, deficit, household income, job data. That will trigger very high EU fines for our country for every day of delay," Giovannini said. "I do not think the government and the parliament will want to get to that point."
The government could finetune its planned spending cuts when it discusses the new budget law in the autumn.
Some ISTAT data releases have been disrupted or delayed in recent weeks by a group of staff members protesting the fact that a promotion they won two years ago has not yet been recognized. Many ISTAT employees are on temporary contracts and would be easier to lay off than permanent staff.
GM plans to build five more plants in China next year, as part of its efforts to ramp up manufacturing capacity there by 65 percent by 2020
Production from conflict-free mines are bagged and tagged with a barcode to make it easily traceable.
"We will further expand our capacities to be able to respond to the high market growth," Jochem Heizmann, head of VW's China operations told reporters on Saturday ahead of the Beijing auto show.
The State Duma lower house on Friday ratified a 2012 agreement to write off the bulk of North Korea's debt. It said the total debt stood at $10.96 billion as of Sept. 17, 2012.
Mt. Gox, once the world's biggest bitcoin exchange, is likely to be liquidated after a Tokyo court dismissed the company's bid to resuscitate its business.
Discussions will continue in the days and weeks ahead, but there is no particular deadline for concluding the talks, the official added.
Russia's oil output stands at over 10 million barrels per day, the world's largest, but it needs new sources of crude oil, including hard-to-recover deposits and the Arctic, to sustain this level
The strike at Yue Yuen is not just one of China's biggest in recent years, it's also more clearly driven by workers' fears that they have been scammed by an opaque and convoluted welfare payment system.
When the system is in place citizens will be able to buy a limited amount of subsidised fuel, and will have to pay a normal, market price for any extra quantities.
Production in Upper Nile state's Paloch oilfields, where output has not been hampered by the conflict, stood at 159,000 barrels per day this week.
Dragomir Stoynev accused fellow European Union members of a politically-motivated attempt to scupper the project, and urged the bloc to understand the effect that doing so would have on its members.
The drops have come mainly because Japan did not take any cargoes in March and South Korea is not scheduled to take any shipments in April, according to the tanker data.
Japan's finance ministry and central bank have declined to comment on the payments.
But a survey shows that most people believe inflation is speeding up and could surpass 37 percent this year.
A fifth payment of $450 million was due on April 15, contingent on Iran having diluted half of its most sensitive stockpile of nuclear materials
The year-on-year inflation rate in the 18 countries sharing the euro was 0.5 percent in March against 0.7 percent in February, the European Union's statistics office Eurostat said.