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Renault makes offer to merge with Nissan

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French carmaker Renault SA has again made a formal offer to merge with Nisan Motor Co, under a holding company structure, Japanese broadcaster TBS reported on Monday, citing a source close to the matter.

Nissan rejected the proposal made in mid-April, the source said late Monday, adding that French government, Renault’s biggest shareholder, made a similar offer in January after the alliance was rocked by the arrest of Ghosn in November.

The rejection could jeopardize the recent momentum for improving ties between the two companies.

Renault, Nissan’s largest shareholder, is seeking to further solidify its partnership with the Japanese company, which contributes about half of the French automaker’s net profit.

But some Nissan executives view the partnership balance as unfair as Nissan has been seeking an equal capital relationship with Renault.

Renault holds a 43.4 percent stake in Nissan, which has a 15 percent stake in the French firm without voting rights. Nissan sold 5.65 million vehicles worldwide last year, 1.5 times more than Renault.

Talks have been ongoing since Renault Chairman Jean-Dominique Senard first made an informal proposal to Nissan Chief Executive Officer Hiroto Saikawa in April, the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the discussions aren’t public. Nissan rebuffed the idea then and has continued to oppose it, the person said.

News of the talks comes as Nissan is set to report on Tuesday its lowest annual operating profit in a decade, hurt by slumping U.S. sales, aging models and a product cycle that’s out of sync. The merger proposal came after the most tumultuous few months in the companies’ two-decade partnership, which was shaken by the shock arrest of the alliance’s chief architect and former chairman, Carlos Ghosn.

Nissan declined to comment on the discussions. Representatives for Renault didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

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Economy

UK wages are growing at fastest rate since 2008

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British workers are enjoying the strongest wage growth since the financial crisis a decade ago as the labor market tightens.

Average earnings excluding bonuses continued to increase an annual 3.3 percent in the three months through November and unemployment fell to 4 percent, matching the lowest rate since 1975, the Office for National Statistics said Tuesday. Separate figures showed the budget deficit unexpectedly widened in December.

British workers are enjoying the long-awaited return of real wage increases.

With earnings forecast to accelerate further, Bank of England policy makers might normally be preparing to raise interest rates to curb inflationary pressures building in the labor market. But mounting concern that Britain could leave the European Union with no deal is expected to stay their hand. Traders put the chance of a hike this year at less than 70 percent.

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Economy

Bekteshi-Duran meeting: UNCTAD pledges to help N. Macedonia accelerate development

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North Macedonia got an offer from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) to utilize the opportunities of the Program for science, technologies and innovations to help the national capacities contribute to the development and higher productivity of economy.

This was the keynote of the meeting between Minister of Economy, Kreshnik Bekteshi, and Deputy Secretary-General of the UNCTAD, Isabelle Durant.

Economy Minister Bekteshi spearheads North Macedonia’s delegation to the second Trade Policy Review at the World Trade Organization (WTO) headquarters in Geneva. North Macedonia has been a member of the WTO since 2003.

At the meeting, Bekteshi briefed Durant about the ongoing reform drive and improvement of business climate in the country. A main emphasis was placed on the Prespa accord that solved the perennial dispute with Greece, the regional cooperation, and the process of integration into the EU and NATO.

Besides the meeting with Deputy Secretary-General of the UNCTAD, while in Geneva Minister Bekteshi will hold meetings with Roberto Azevedo, Director General of the World Trade Organization, and Ambassador Dagfinn Sorli, Norway’s Permanent Representative to the WTO and EFTA.

North Macedonia has been a member of the WTO since 4 April 2003.

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Economy

China posts slowest economic growth since 1990

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China’s econoy grew at its slowest pace in nearly three decades last year, as a bruising trade fight with the U.S. exacerbated weakness in the world’s second-largest economy.

The 6.6% growth rate for 2018 reported Monday is the slowest annual pace that the world’s second biggest economy has recorded since 1990. That is the weakest annual performance in nearly three decades.

Economic growth in China slowed to 6.4% in the fourth quarter of last year, according to Monday’s data, in line with economist’s predictions.

Adding to the gloom was the trade conflict with Washington. The uncertain outlook for Chinese exporters caused companies to delay investing and hiring and in some cases even to resort to layoffs–a practice that is often discouraged by China’s stability-obsessed Communist Party rulers.

The official jobless rate ticked up to 4.9% last month from 4.8% in November.

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