Key interest rate raised
The central bank on Wednesday raised its key interest rate a half a percentage point to 11.75 percent as it turned the screw further on climbing inflation. The increase — which put the rate at the highest in the G20 group of developed and emerging economies — was expected, given inflation of 5.9 percent last year, well above the government target of 4.5 percent. It was likely, though, to undermine government efforts to slow the appreciation of the real, whose soaring value against the US dollar is sapping exports.
Foreign reserves hit record
The nation’s foreign currency reserves hit a record high for the second straight month. The Bank of Korea announced yesterday that the country’s official foreign reserves totaled US$298 billion at the end of last month. That was up US$1.7 billion from the previous high of US$296 billion in January. Asian countries lead the world in reserve holdings. The central bank attributed last month’s gain to higher operating profits on the reserves and gains in the euro and sterling against the greenback.
Industrial output rises fast
Industrial output was stronger than expected in January on strong overseas demand, with semiconductor and automakers leading the way, official figures showed yesterday. Mining and industrial production increased 4.6 percent from the preceding month following a revised 3.1 percent monthly increase in December, Statistics Korea said. The January rise was the largest since the same figure in September 2009.
Carrefour expects more sales
Carrefour SA, the world’s second-largest retailer, forecast an increase in sales and profit this year after matching its revised guidance for profit growth last year. Current operating income rose 9.3 percent to 2.97 billion euros (US$4.1 billion) last year, from a restated 2.72 billion euros, the Paris-based grocer said yesterday in a statement, in line with a January estimate. Net income rose to 433 million euros from 276 million euros, trailing the 695.5 million euro average estimate of 19 analysts surveyed.
Murdoch gets nod on BSkyB
The British government has tentatively accepted plans by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp to buy full control of British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB). Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt said approval was conditional on BSkyB spinning off Sky News as an independent company. News Corp would retain a 39.1 percent stake in Sky News, the same as its current stake in BSkyB. The plan is still subject to consultation before gaining final approval. News Corp would then be free to make an offer for the remaining BSkyB shares.
Buffet enters Indian market
Billionaire Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway is entering the Indian insurance market as a corporate agent for Bajaj Allianz, the companies said. Berkshire made no investment in Bajaj, but will sell policies for Bajaj Allianz General Insurance, beginning with auto insurance, Bajaj spokesman Santosh Balan said yesterday. Insurance for India’s fast-growing auto market accounts for over 50 percent of Bajaj Allianz’s premium income, which amounted to 20.9 billion rupees (US$465 million) from April through December last year Balan said. Berkshire India, will focus on direct sales via Internet and telemarketing and get commissions per regulatory norms.
POOR INTERNAL CONTROLS: Insurance Bureau Director-General Shih Chiung-hwa said the company is expected to get back on track while its chairman is suspended The Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) yesterday fined Shin Kong Life Insurance Co (新光人壽) NT$27.6 million (US$939,415) for a reckless investment that endangered its solvency, and suspended its chairman Eugene Wu (吳東進) for poor supervision. The penalty is the second-highest in a single case after Nan Shan Life Insurance Co (南山人壽) was fined NT$30 million in September last year and its chairman Du Ying-tzyong (杜英宗) suspended for two years, the commission said. In three rounds of special and regular examinations conducted since last year, the commission found that Shin Kong Life had given too much power to an asset and liability management committee
Sony Corp has cut its estimated Play Station 5 (PS5) production for this fiscal year by 4 million units, down to about 11 million, following production issues with its custom-designed system-on-chip (SOC) for the new console, people familiar with the matter said. The Tokyo-based electronics giant in July boosted orders with suppliers in anticipation of heightened demand for gaming in the holiday season and beyond, as people spend more time at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the company has come up against manufacturing issues, such as production yields as low as 50 percent for its SOC, which have cut into
HEAVY INVESTMENT: Moody’s affirmed the firm’s ‘Aa3’ rating with a ‘stable’ outlook due to its leading position in the industry and ability to match customer requirements Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co’s (TSMC, 台積電) revenue this year is expected to increase about 21 percent to NT$1.29 trillion (US$44.01 billion) from NT$1.07 trillion last year, driven by strong demand for advanced 5-nanometer and 7-nanometer chips mainly used in smartphones and high-performance computing devices, a Moody’s Investors Service report on Wednesday said. TSMC’s rate of revenue growth next year is to increase to 7.5 percent, the ratings agency said. The company, which supplies 5-nanometer chips for Apple Inc’s new iPad series, has introduced the advanced chips ahead of its competitors and gained a significant share of the market for the foundry industry’s
O2O BICYCLE SHOW: The Taiwan Bicycle Show next year is to be online to offline, with forums, audio-visual conferences and livestreaming of the offline events Local bicycle makers expect demand to continue outpacing supply due to orders triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, with some companies seeing orders back up through next year. “Next year is all full in terms of orders. Our lead time on components is one year,” Giant Manufacturing Co Ltd (巨大機械) chairwoman Bonnie Tu (杜綉珍) told a news conference in Taipei organized by the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) to announce next year’s Taipei Cycle Show. The pandemic has reduced bicycle supplies and increased demand around the world, Robert Wu (吳盈進), chairman of KMC (Kuei Meng) International Inc (桂盟國際), one of the world’s