China Q4 GDP growth may rebound to 7.8%
China’s annual economic growth may have quickened to 7.8% in the fourth quarter a Reuters poll showed, snapping seven straight quarters of weaker expansion, but the recovery is likely to be tepid and the economy may need continued policy support. The median forecast of 24 analysts polled is for gross domestic product to have expanded 7.8% in Q4 from a year earlier, quickening from 7.4% in the third quarter — the weakest expansion since the depths of the global financial crisis in early 2009. The modest recovery in the world’s second-largest economy follows a raft of pro-growth policy steps over recent months, and may reassure China’s leaders after November’s power transition. But the outlook in 2013 remains cloudy given the lingering global uncertainties.
AMR exec Kreeger to head Virgin Atlantic
Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic Airways appointed Craig Kreeger, a 53-year-old American, as its chief executive officer, four weeks after Delta Air Lines Inc agreed to buy a 49% stake in the UK carrier. Kreeger, who takes over on February 1, joins from American Airlines, where he is a senior vice-president, and replaces Steve Ridgway, who said in September that he would step down this year after running Virgin Atlantic since 2001. The new CEO has the experience needed to tap opportunities created by the Delta deal, which will see the carriers operate a joint venture on 31 daily flights between the UK and North America, billionaire Branson said in a statement. Born in Little Rock, Arkansas, Kreeger has worked at AMR Corp for 27 years in commercial, financial and strategic roles, according to Virgin. “Sometimes it can make sense to have a fresh pair of eyes from the outside,” said Douglas McNeill, an analyst at Charles Stanley in London.
Alitalia investors weigh potential share sale
Investors in Alitalia who helped rescue the airline four years ago are considering selling their shares, with some pushing for a deal with long-time stakeholder Air France-KLM, sources with knowledge of the situation said on Monday. Shares in Italian holding company IMMSI, which owns 7% of Alitalia, closed up 18% at 0.53 euros following speculation of a possible sale to Air France-KLM. But the Franco-Dutch group which owns a quarter of Italy’s flagship airline said there were no talks going on. “There is nothing. There are no negotiations,” Air France’s chief executive Alexandre de Juniac told Reuters. He also said