The dollar surged across the board Friday as evidence finally emerged that economic recovery in the United States is translating into solid jobs growth. \nThe single European currency fell to US$1.2133 from US$1.2362 late on Thursday in New York. \nThe dollar was at ¥104.49 from ¥103.64 on Thursday, when it hovered close to four-year lows. \nThe US employment report is a closely watched barometer of the country's economic health. \nMuted job growth had been a key factor behind the US Federal Reserve's reluctance to raise interest rates despite the gathering pace of overall economic activity, analysts said. \nBut data released Friday showed that non-farm payrolls increased by a stunning 308,000 in March against expectations of a 120,000 rise. \nThe news sparked an instant reaction in the markets, with the euro slumping to a low of US$1.2129 from US$1.2230 ahead of the announcement. \nMeanwhile, the dollar rose to a high of ¥104.76 yen from ¥104 earlier. \n"This is good news for the US economy and good for the US dollar as it shows signs that the economy is delivering jobs," said ECU Group chief economist Neil Mackinnon. \nThough the US emerged from recession over a year ago, there had been little improvement to date in the labour market, which had underpinned a belief that benchmark US interest rates were unlikely to rise from 48-year lows of 1.00 percent anytime soon. \nFriday's figures may alter that view as market participants reassess their outlook for US interest rates. \nThe yield on 10-year Treasury bills jumped to 4.13 percent from 3.88 percent following the report. \n"If it marks the beginning of a new trend in payrolls we believe we are on course for an August rate hike, although June cannot be entirely ruled out depending on the strength of the April and May jobs reports," said John Ryding, economist at Bear Stearns. \nMeanwhile, yet more strong British house price data continued to underpin sterling ahead of next week's Bank of England rate-setting meeting. \nThe latest survey from HBOS PLC's unit Halifax found house prices rose 2.2 percent on the month in March, further raising speculation the BoE will raise its key lending rate again over the coming months, having already done so by a cumulative 0.50 points since last November. \nA majority of economists polled by AFP's financial news subsidiary AFX News is now predicting another 0.25 point hike on Thursday next week, which would take the key repo rate up to 4.25 percent \nThe euro was changing hands at US$1.2133 from US$1.2362 late on Thursday in New York, ¥126.78 (¥128.11), £0.6622 (£0.6655) and 1.5654 Swiss francs (Sf1.5612). \nThe dollar stood at ¥104.49 (¥103.64) and 1.2902 Swiss francs (Sf1.2630). \nThe pound was at US$1.8317 (US$1.8568), ¥191.41 (¥192.42) and 2.3642 Swiss francs (Sf2.3451). \nOn the London Bullion Market, the price of an ounce of gold stood at US$419 against US$427.25 late on Thursday.
SELF-SUFFICIENCY: Alibaba is one of a number of Chinese firms that has answered Beijing’s call to invest in the development of cutting-edge technologies Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (阿里巴巴) yesterday unveiled a new server chip that is based on advanced 5-nanometer technology, marking a milestone in China’s pursuit of semiconductor self-sufficiency. The Chinese tech giant’s newest chip is based on micro-architecture provided by the SoftBank Group Corp-owned Arm Ltd, it said. Alibaba, which is holding its annual cloud summit in Hangzhou, China, said that the chip is to be used in its own data centers in the “near future” and would not, for the time being, be sold commercially. “Customizing our own server chips is consistent with our ongoing efforts toward boosting our computing capabilities with better
‘SHORT-TERM ECONOMIC PAIN’: A military takeover would only temporarily weigh on wafer production on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, IC Insights said Taiwan has more chip manufacturing capacity than any other economy in the world, US-based market information advisory firm IC Insights said in a research paper last week, cautioning that the nation’s strength could prompt China to attempt to take over Taiwan. Taiwan commanded 21.4 percent of global installed IC capacity, ahead of South Korea’s 20.4 percent, Japan’s 15.8 percent and China’s 15.3 percent, North America’s 12.6 percent and Europe’s 5.7 percent, IC Insights said. Taiwan is one of two countries that uses 10-nanometer technology or better to produce wafers, holding 62.8 percent of global capacity, with South Korea holding the remaining 37.2
AGGRESSIVE STEP: With the new processors, Apple is aiming at the high-end chips Intel has provided for the MacBook Pro and other top-end Macs for about 15 years Apple Inc on Monday took the most aggressive step yet to strip Intel Corp chips from its computers, announcing more powerful homegrown Mac processors alongside a total revamp of its MacBook Pro laptop computers. The company showcased the chips at an event called “Unleashed,” which also included its latest audio products. The new components, called the M1 Pro and M1 Max chips, are 70 percent faster than its M1 predecessors, Apple said. It also unveiled a redesigned MacBook Pro, adding larger screens, MagSafe charging and better resolution. With the new processors and devices, Apple is aiming squarely at the high-end chips that Intel has
PRICE SPREAD: Oil trading under the Brent futures contract is giving the US a hefty edge in pricing, increasing the rush to secure cheap fuel as winter approaches Asian demand for US oil is rising as the energy crisis boosts prices for other crudes that are priced against the global Brent futures contract. China and other Asian buyers have been snapping up supertankers of US oil for delivery next month and seeking more for December, some traders have said. Most buyers are seeking US grades that had recently slumped to the lowest levels in more than a year, with an added incentive after Beijing awarded millions of tonnes of crude oil import quotas. A wide spread between Brent and West Texas Intermediate (WTI) oil futures is accommodating higher US crude