US budget surplus

WASHINGTON: The federal government ran a $21 billion budget surplus last month, the best January showing in four years, as both spending and tax receipts set records for the month. The treasury department said the government spent $209 billion last month, a record amount for January and up by 7.9 per cent from January 2005. Government tax receipts, however, also set a record for the month of $230 billion up by 13.7 per cent from January 2005. — AP

Japan’s firms see profit

TOKYO: The combined ordinary profit of Japan’s listed firms is expected to grow by 7.3 per cent in the year to March, hitting an record high for the third straight term. The gain was led by carmakers, boosted by brisk global sales of new models and a stronger dollar, and electronics sector, which had earlier forecast a profit decline. The total, combining group profits using Japanese accounting standards and ‘pretax’ group profits using US accounting standards, is estimated at $227 billion. — AFP