Agency revises debt outlook
Fitch Ratings agency yesterday revised its debt outlook for the country to negative from stable, citing government debt at more than twice the value of GDP in the fast-ageing nation. “Japan’s sovereign credit-worthiness is under negative pressure from rising government indebtedness,” said Andrew Colquhoun, head of Fitch’s Asia-Pacific Sovereigns team, in a statement. “A stronger fiscal consolidation strategy is necessary to buffer the sustainability of the public finances against the adverse structural trend of population ageing.”
Banks’ debt downgraded
Moody’s yesterday downgraded the debt ratings of the country’s four largest banks, citing the country’s “challenging” economic environment after two devastating earthquakes in Christchurch. The move to lower the ratings of ANZ National, Bank of New Zealand, ASB and Westpac New Zealand to Aa3 from Aa2 follows a downgrade to the four banks’ Australian parents last week. Aa3 is the fourth highest rating on a 21-point scale. “[It] reflects the ongoing impact of the challenging economic environment in New Zealand, which has resulted in asset quality metrics continuing to deteriorate — albeit at a slower pace — beyond minimum expectations,” Moody’s said.
Consumer prices rise
The country’s consumer prices rose for the first time in 28 months last month after a huge quake and Arab turmoil raised fuel prices, data showed yesterday, but analysts said the deflationary spiral is not over yet. Japan’s core consumer price index, which excludes volatile fresh food prices, rose 0.6 percent last month from a year earlier, the first increase since December 2008, according to the internal affairs ministry. The nationwide rise last month, which was in line with market expectations, was due largely to higher costs for oil products.
Japan chides Sony over data
Sony Corp was told by the Japanese government to improve management of personal data after the Japanese electronics maker’s networks were attacked by hackers who stole customer information. Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry announced the order on its Web site yesterday. Separately, Sony said it will resume some of its PlayStation Network and Qriocity entertainment services in Asia today, more than a month after the biggest online data breach in US history led to the suspension of operations.
Honda, Toyota release data
Japanese auto giants Toyota and Honda saw global production halve last month because the March 11 earthquake and tsunami ravaged supply chains, the companies said yesterday. Honda reported a 52.9 percent year-on-year drop in worldwide production and an 81 percent slump in domestic output, while Toyota said global production was down 48.1 percent. Amid power and parts shortages, Toyota had announced production disruptions domestically and in the US, Europe, China and Australia because of the crisis, temporarily slowing output or shutting plants. The company announced a year-on-year drop of 15.4 percent in its global sales figures for last month. Honda said it expected production volume in Asia and Oceania to start picking up in July, the carmaker’s Asian Honda Motor Co unit said.
PRESSURE FROM THE US: Huawei said a decision by the US was ‘arbitrary and pernicious, and threatens to undermine the entire [technology] industry worldwide’ Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) has stopped new orders from Huawei Technologies Co (華為) in response to Washington’s move aimed at further limiting chip supplies to the Chinese company, the Nikkei reported yesterday, citing multiple sources. The orders that TSMC took before the new ban and those that were already in production are not affected, and could continue to proceed if those chips could be shipped before the middle of September, the report said. TSMC, the world’s biggest contract chipmaker and a key Huawei supplier, on Thursday last week announced plans to build a US-based plant and on Friday added that
MediaTek Inc (聯發科), which designs chips used in mobile phones, yesterday launched its new 5G Dimensity 820 system-on-chip (SoC), targeting mid-range to high-end smartphones. The company expects the penetration of 5G technology to gain pace quickly this year and not be affected too much by the COVID-19 pandemic. MediaTek said it aims to expand its 5G chip portfolio this year to cover phones of varying prices after it shipped its first 5G SoC, the Dimensity 1000, last quarter. The Dimensity 820, made by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (台積電) on 7-nanometer technology, is designed for mid-range to high-end 5G phones. MediaTek expects to infiltrate the
TV and online retailer Momo.com Inc (富邦媒體) yesterday said it has set up a new logistics subsidiary, Fu Sheng Logistics Co (富昇物流), to oversee the company’s extensive shipping operations. Leveraging Momo’s 23 satellite warehouses and distribution centers nationwide, Fu Sheng will be in charge of executing the retailer’s same-day shipment plan for deliveries in Taipei, New Taipei City, Taoyuan, Taichung, Tainan and Kaohsiung, Momo said in a press release. Seeking to further shorten its supply chain, the company is to set up another seven satellite warehouses and distribution centers by the end of the year. “Fu Sheng has a fleet of 200 couriers
US-CHINA TENSIONS: The company said that it supplies self-designed chips to the Chinese company and, as such, is not affected by the latest US export restrictions Macronix International Co (旺宏電子) said it does not expect its shipments of memory chips to Huawei Technologies Co (華為) to be affected by the latest US export restrictions on the Chinese tech giant. “As long as the company [Huawei] places orders, we will ship [chips], unless the [Taiwanese] government restricts all Taiwanese companies from shipping” to Huawei, Macronix chairman and chief executive officer Miin Wu (吳敏求) said on Monday in Hsinchu. The US Department of Commerce on Friday took a further step to block chip supplies from non-US companies to Huawei by requiring foreign semiconductor makers to get US government permission before