FX reserves hit record high
Seoul’s foreign exchange reserves rose to their third straight record high last month as the nation’s key buffer against potential financial turmoil steadily approaches US$300 billion. The country’s foreign reserves totaled US$298.62 billion at the end of last month, the central bank said in a statement yesterday. That was US$950 million higher than February’s record US$297.67 billion. The reserves have climbed since falling to just above US$200 billion in November 2008 as the nation’s monetary authorities used them to help fight a shortage of US dollar liquidity as credit dried up amid the global financial crisis. The Bank of Korea said strength in the euro and other currencies, which led to an increase in the US dollar value of the portion of the reserves denominated in them, as well as operating profits were behind last month’s increase.
CEO to donate US$120m
Japan Internet conglomerate Softbank Corp said CEO Masayoshi Son would donate US$120 million of his personal wealth plus his salary until he retires to help tsunami victims. Softbank, the only Japanese mobile carrier offering the iPhone, said yesterday that Son’s ￥10 billion donation to the Japanese Red Cross Society and other nonprofit organizations is the biggest by an individual to quake and tsunami victims. Son, 53, will also donate all of his annual salary each year to aid organizations until he retires. His salary was ￥108 million in the fiscal year that ended last month.
BP to sell aluminum unit
British energy group BP said yesterday it had agreed to sell its ARCO Aluminum unit to a Japanese consortium for US$680 million as it seeks to meet the costs of last year’s disastrous Gulf of Mexico oil spill. “Although a strong business, ARCO Aluminum is clearly a non-strategic asset for BP,” chief executive Bob Dudley said in a statement. “Today’s agreement will deliver an attractive price for the business, unlocking its value for our shareholders.” The US unit, which supplies aluminum sheet used to make beverage cans, is being bought by a consortium comprising five Japanese companies. Sumitomo Light Metal Industries is to take a 40 percent stake, Furukawa Sky Aluminum Corp 35 percent, Sumitomo Corp 20 percent, Itochu Metals Corp 3 percent and Itochu Corp 2 percent. BP is looking to unlock US$30 billion by the end of this year to meet cleanup and compensation costs linked to last year’s oil spill.
Oil prices too high: Kuwait
OPEC member Kuwait said yesterday that oil prices were too high because of unrest in the Middle East and Japan’s earthquake. “Although we are enjoying high prices, we would like to see lower prices ... We would like to see a normal oil price,” Faruq al-Zanki, chief executive of national conglomerate Kuwait Petroleum Corp, told reporters. He said a “normal oil price would be between US$90 and US$100” a barrel. New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for delivery next month rose US$0.29 to US$108.23 per barrel yesterday afternoon in Asian trading, topping Friday’s peak of US$107.93 and hitting its highest level since late September 2008. Brent North Sea crude for delivery next month advanced US$0.21 to US$118.91. Zanki said that unrest sweeping the Middle East, especially with the outage of Libyan oil supplies, had “pushed oil prices up by around 20 percent.”
Softbank Group Corp plans to keep a stake in the chip designer Arm Ltd, even if it sells a partial interest to Nvidia Corp, the Nikkei reported. The companies are negotiating terms, the newspaper reported, citing sources. Softbank might take a stake in Nvidia after it buys Arm, the report said. Nvidia and Arm might also merge through a share swap, and Softbank would become a major shareholder in the combined company, it said. The two parties aim to reach a deal in the next few weeks, the sources said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. Nvidia is the
END TO SPECULATION: The hotel’s management contract has been extended, despite reports that it wanted to end its alliance with Hyatt Hotels over a deal with Riant Capital Singapore-based Hong Leong Hotel Development Ltd (豐隆大飯店股份) yesterday said it has extended a management contract to ensure the continued presence of the Grand Hyatt brand in Taipei, ending rumors that the two sides were parting ways. “We are pleased Hyatt is able to come to terms on the extension of the management contract of Grand Hyatt Taipei,” said Kwek Leng Beng (郭令明), executive chairman of City Developments Ltd (城市發展) and Millennium & Copthorne Hotels Ltd (千禧國敦酒店). Hong Leong Hotel Development is a subsidiary of Millennium, and both fall under the Hong Leong Group (豐隆集團). The Grand Hyatt Taipei (台北君悅大飯店), owned and built by
Gold surged to a fresh record on Friday, fueled by US dollar weakness and low interest rates, while silver headed for its best month since 1979. Spot bullion is up more than 10 percent this month, as US real yields lingered near record lows. While the ferocity of rallies in gold and silver cooled in the middle of the week, most market watchers predict there might be more gains ahead. Both metals have added about 30 percent this year, with gold and silver exchange-traded funds boosting holdings to a record, as concern about the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic fuels demand for
MOVING FROM CHINA? The article did not name the company, but Foxconn, Wistron and Pegatron were among firms chosen for a production-linked incentive plan in India An Apple Inc vendor is looking at shifting six production lines to India from China, which could result in US$5 billion of iPhone exports from the South Asian nation, the Times of India reported, citing people familiar with the matter who it did not identify. The establishment of the facility would create about 55,000 jobs over about a year, the newspaper reported, not naming the Apple vendor. It would also cater to the domestic market and expand operations to include tablets and laptops, the newspaper reported. Samsung Electronics Co and Apple’s assembly partners are among 22 companies that have pledged 110 billion