LONDON: Britain’s trade in goods deficit narrowed to its lowest level in nearly two years in May, pushed down by a fall in imports including ships, but April’s deficit was revised higher. Office for National Statistics (ONS) said construction output suffered its biggest monthly fall in over a year in May, underscoring why government is preparing to announce measures to boost home-building. The ONS said on Friday the goods trade deficit shrank to £8 billion pounds, much smaller than a median forecast for a shortfall of £9.70 billion in a Reuters poll and its lowest level since June 2013. But April’s deficit was revised higher to show a gap of £9.84 billion compared with original estimate of £8.56 billion. — Reuters Ryanair to sell stake LONDON: Ireland’s low-cost carrier Ryanair on Friday accepted International Airlines Group’s bid for its near 30 per cent stake in Irish rival Aer Lingus, clearing the way for a takeover. “The board of Ryanair Holdings plc today confirmed it has voted unanimously to accept IAG offer for Ryanair’s 29.8 per cent shareholding in Aer Lingus Group,” it announced in a statement. “The board believes the current IAG offer maximises Ryanair shareholder value.” IAG, parent of British Airways and Iberia, has made a takeover bid valuing Aer Lingus at a total of 1.4 billion euros. — AFP Global oil demand PARIS: The International Energy Agency (IEA) forecast on Friday that global oil demand growth would slow in 2016 and that oil production in nations outside the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) would stall. In its first estimates for 2016, the IEA forecast that oil demand would slow next year to 1.2 million barrels per day, compared with an average of 1.4 million barrels per day this year. Meanwhile, growth in non-OPEC oil supply ‘is expected to grind to a halt in 2016 as lower oil prices and spending cuts take a toll’, IEA said in its monthly report. — AFP Mali’s solar plant DAKAR: Mali has signed an agreement with a Norwegian renewable energy specialist to build west Africa’s first industrial-scale solar power plant, the company announced in a statement on Friday. Oslo-based Scatec Solar said it had signed up to build the 52 million-euro ($58 million) unit near the southwestern city of Segou and run it for 25 years. “This landmark agreement signals the government’s commitment to meet the nation’s growing energy demand,” Energy Minister Mamadou Frankaly Keita was quoted as saying. The plant is expected to produce enough electricity each year to power 60,000 typical family homes, while cutting annual carbon dioxide emissions by about 46,000 tonnes. — AFP AA lowers plan NEW YORK: American Airlines Group Inc (AA) on Friday lowered its plans for capacity growth in the United States, seeming to heed investors’ calls to slow its expansion in light of weaker-than-expected travel demand. American, the world’s largest passenger carrier, said it expects total 2015 capacity to grow about one per cent compared with 2014, versus an earlier forecast of two per cent . — Reuters