EC ‘studying’ drafts

BRUSSELS: The European Commission (EC)is studying new negotiating drafts on agriculture and industrial goods in WTO free-trade talks. “The commission is currently studying in detail the two texts which are both long and detailed, and we will comment as soon as possible,” EC spokesman Peter Power said. — AFP

P’pine budget surplus

MANILA: The Philippines is on track to balancing its budget this year after posting a better than expected surplus in April, president Gloria Arroyo said on Tuesday. The budget surplus in April more than doubled to $604 million year on year, due to higher tax collection. Arroyo said this took the cumulative deficit to 25.8 billion pesos from January to April much lower than the programmed ceiling ‘by 19.3 billion pesos’ for the period. — AFP

German prices up

FRANKFURT: German prices at the factory gate jumped by 5.2 per cent in April, the biggest annual increase since August 2006, figures released on Tuesday by the national statistics office showed. Producer prices rose by 1.1 per cent from their level in March. As is regularly the case, energy prices were largely responsible for the increases and the annual rate of increase fell back to 2.7 per cent once such elements were excluded. — AFP