Small biz lending

NEW YORK: President Barak Obama is trying — again — to help small business get the cash they desperately need. He will visit a small business in Maryland on Wednesday to present a series of initiatives aimed at increasing bank lending to small businesses, according to a White House official. The programs that he will unveil include an increase in the maximum amount businesses can borrow through the Small Business Administration’s primary loan program, which currently stands at $2 million. In addition, the Treasury Department will expand access for smaller banks to the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), a move aimed at spurring more local lending by community banks. — Agencies

Apple’s record sales

LOS ANGELES: Apple, the California-based technology company sold 7.4m iPhones in its latest quarter, taking the total to just under 34 million. Revenue from sales of handsets, accessories and carrier agreements shot up 185 per cent to $2.3 billion in the three months till September 26. Most consumers claimed they were cutting back, and yet for Apple the quarter was strongest yet for sales of iPhones and Mac computers. Its overall profits leapt 46 per cent to a forecast-busting $1.67 billion. Demand for Apple’s sleek laptops, whizzy phones and music players was stronger in Europe than anywhere else in the world with revenues in the region rising 45 per cent, compared with 25 per cent globally. — The Guardian

S Korea spending

SEOUL: Spending by international Visa cardholders visiting South Korea increased by some $100 million in 2008 to $1.3 billion, according to Tourism Outlook:South Korea, a new report released by Visa. The top five contributors to inbound Visa card spending in South Korea last year were Japan ($449.9 million), USA ($368 million), China ($65.7 million), Hong Kong ($57.3 million) and Chinese Taipei ($38.9 million) .— Agencies