Japan's Tankan business confidence survey was up less than expected,from -12 in February to -8 in March,although it was the best quarterly improvement in two years.At the same time,China also reported a slight miss in estimates as the Purchasing Managers Index rose to 50.9 in March from 50.1 in February.HSBC's China PMI reading rose to 51.6 from 50.4,a little stronger improvement than the government's version.
Asian markets were lower on the mildly disappointing data,with the MSCI Asia-Pacific index falling 0.74% in early Monday trading.Markets in Hong Kong,Australia and New Zealand remain closed till Tuesday for the Easter holiday.
Chinese authorities told Beijing and Shanghai to place new restrictions on home buying in an attempt to limit skyrocketing prices.Homeowners were not to be granted credit to buy second or third homes.
Australia's airline Qantas and the UAE's Emirates Air have inaugurated their new alliance with a symbolic first flight .It will now be possible for Qantas passengers to fly to 65 international destinations from Melbourne and Sydney with one connecting flight in Dubai,as opposed to only five destinations in a previous alliance with British Airways.This will shave two hours off of flights to Europe.
Bookings to Europe are up six-fold on the new routes,which Goldman Sachs believes will be worth about Australian 90 million dollars to Qantas-or US 94 million.Qantas has cut its deficit from A262 million to A91 million in the first half of the fiscal year on retiring old planes and cutting unprofitable routes.CEO Alan Joyce has pledged to return the carrier to profitability.
For the first time in three years,Japan Airlines graduated about a thousand new hires in a JAL hangar in Tokyo.The workers stood stock-still in formation at the ceremony Monday.
Nomura Securities has hired the most new graduates in four years on the strength of the banking industry.