Consumer spending

WASHINGTON: American consumers rediscovered their appetite for shopping in June, boosting spending by a strong 0.8 per cent.

It was fresh testament to the economy’s momentum. — AP

Aussie rates ‘steady’

SYDNEY: Australia’s central bank on Wednesday left the country’s benchmark interest rate unchanged at 5.5 per cent, in line with expectations as recent recent economic data has reflected healthy growth with modest inflation and wage increases. — AP

Trade surplus up

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s trade surplus surged nearly by 50 per cent in June compared to the same month last year, buoyed by electronic exports. Total exports in June rose by 11.7 per cent to $11.9 billion. — AP

ICB, Enron settlement

NEW YORK: Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (IBC) has agreed to pay $2.4 billion to settle claims investors claims it helped hide losses at the fallen energy trader Enron Corp through a massive accounting fraud. The settlement was the biggest individual payout so far. — AP

Aussie exports rise

CANBERRA: Boosted by demand from China, Australian exports rose by 13 per cent in this fiscal through the end of June to a record $123.9 billion. The announcement came after the figures showed Australia’s trade deficit with the rest of the world narrowed to $1.05 billion in June, from a deficit of $1.15 billion in May. — AP

CNOOC drops Unocal

SHANGHAI: Building anti-Chinese sentiment in Washington — the key reason cited by Chinese oil company CNOOC for withdrawing its $18.4 billion offer for Unocal — augers poorly for future economic ties between the two powers. CNOOC on Tuesday dropped its bid for Unocal Corp. — AP

Indonesia to pullout

JAKARTA: Indonesia — Asia’s only member of the OPEC — is considering withdrawing from the cartel as a full member. Indonesia had formed a team to review whether continued membership was worthwhile. — DPA