April 13: Pictures of the day
April 13: Pictures of the day
People wearing masks and raincoats take part in an anti-radioactivity rally to urge the government to quickly release information about "radioactive rain" and risks of radioactivity, near the Integrated Government Complex in Seoul.
Japan's government has downgraded its assessment of the economy for the first time in six months to reflect last month's devastating earthquake and tsunami, while wholesale prices rose at the fastest pace in more than two years in an ominous sign for company profit margins.
A loss of electricity from a crippled nuclear power plant and radiation leaks could weigh on the outlook for some time, the government warned on Wednesday, though it still expects the economy to recover later this year as reconstruction begins in the northeastern areas wrecked by the tsunami.
Higher input costs could also squeeze profit margins at companies struggling to secure enough parts to keep their factories running.
A labourer walks past a residential estate under construction.
Property investors are looking to riskier markets such as Spain and emerging Europe as competition for safer prime European commercial real estate pushes up investment volumes and prices, research showed.
Direct investment in prime European commercial property hit 26.7 billion euros ($38.6 billion) in the first quarter, up 26% on the year, research by global real estate consultancy CB Richard Ellis showed on Tuesday.
First-quarter deal volumes in the UK, Germany, and France rose by 18-39%. Those in Italy and Central and Eastern Europe rose by 75% and 197% respectively, while those in the Nordics, Benelux, Iberia, Austria, Greece, Ireland and Switzerland fell by 3-39%, CBRE said.
Shoppers walk past a Louis Vuitton store in Shanghai.
Advertising executive John Kwok recently spent thousands of dollars on a traditional-style Chinese jacket at luxury retailer Shanghai Tang's Pedder Street store in the heart of Hong Kong's business district.
Shoppers such as Kwok represent the future for Chinese luxury goods buyers, seeking out goods that emphasise China's culture rather than just the Western heritage and exclusivity that have proven so effective to date, industry experts say.
"You can't find anything similar at other international labels," said Kwok, describing his Shanghai Tang purchase. "It's not about price, but availability."
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