Industrial output rose 3.9%
Japan’s industrial production rose for the third straight month last month June as the world’s No. 3 economy stages a recovery from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. Factory output climbed 3.9 percent from the previous month and is expected to continue growing in the months ahead. Cars and electronic parts helped fuel the improvement, according to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. Industrial production is a key indicator of Japan’s economic health, and its steady climb suggests that manufacturers are restoring capacity after the tsunami damaged critical parts factories. The disruption led to a big plunge in output for Japanese manufacturers such as Toyota Motor Corp, and industrial production is still 5.3 percent lower than it was in February before the disasters. Shipments jumped 8.5 percent, which lowered inventories by 2.8 percent. That implies “further upside for production in the months ahead,” said Kyohei Morita, chief economist at Barclays Capital Japan, in a report.
China may buy Greek bonds
China could provide loans to Greece to fund government bond buybacks in the secondary market to help cut the country’s debt burden, a Greek finance ministry official said yesterday. “There are signs that China is interested in taking part in the new funding scheme for Greece,” said the official who declined to be named. The official did not elaborate, but referred to a meeting Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos had with China’s IMF representative in Washington earlier this week. China has made a major investment in Greece’s main port in Piraeus and offered to buy Greek government bonds when Athens resumes issuance, according to comments by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (溫家寶) during a visit to Athens last year. Wen said China had already bought Greek bonds previously.
Mazda’s losses expand
Japan’s Mazda Motor yesterday said its net loss widened to US$330 million in the three months ending June when production and sales were hit by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. Japan’s fifth-largest carmaker by volume said its net loss in the fiscal first quarter reached ￥25.5 billion, from a ￥2.1 billion net loss in the same period a year ago. Operating loss reached ￥23.1 billion, after an operating profit of ￥6.4 billion yen a year earlier. Sales fell 29.4 percent to ￥408.1 billion. Mazda was also in the red in the first quarter a year ago due to one-off changes in accounting methods, but it had been enjoying rising sales since, thanks to government incentive programs. For April-June this year, however, Mazda’s global sales volume fell 11.3 percent to 281,000 vehicles compared with the same period a year ago. Its sales in Japan also fell 31.8 percent to 35,000 units.
Eurozone inflation slows
Inflation in the 17 countries that use the euro unexpectedly fell this month, official figures showed yesterday, raising speculation that the European Central Bank (ECB) might not need to raise interest rates as quickly as markets have been predicting. Eurostat, the EU’s statistics office, said consumer prices in the eurozone rose by 2.5 percent in the year to July. That’s still above the ECB’s target of keeping inflation just below 2 percent, but down on market expectations for an unchanged reading of 2.7 percent. Despite the debt crisis that has engulfed the eurozone and signs of waning economic activity, the markets have been pricing in another interest rate increase from the ECB in September.
Polytronics Technology Corp (聚鼎科技) yesterday announced that it is buying Henkel AG’s thermal clad dielectric material (TCLAD) business division for US$26 million as the Taiwanese firm aims to improve its technology, product portfolio and revenue performance. Polytronics, headquartered in the Hsinchu Science Park (新竹科學園區), is a supplier of protection components and heat dissipation materials. The firm entered the metallic heat-dissipation substrate market in 2007 and developed a unique solventless production process. Its board of directors approved signing an agreement with Henkel to acquire the German chemical firm’s TCLAD division in the US. The purchase includes all assets and business interests, including equipment,
SIZE MATTERS: Medium-sized hotels that do not have the support of parent groups are more vulnerable and are forced to take action, a REPro Knight Frank researcher said About 50 hotels across Taiwan are seeking to exit the market as they succumb to the bleak business outlook amid international travel restrictions imposed to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Yomi Hotel (優美飯店) on Minsheng E Road, Sec 1, in Taipei is seeking to transfer ownership with an asking price of NT$950 million (US$32.15 million) and a pledge for a lease contract that guarantees a 3 percent return. The budget hotel, with room rates that start from NT$1,400 per night, maintains normal operations, but has been struggling since March, when the government placed restrictions on inbound and outbound travel. Occupancy rates for hotels in
With the US dollar expected to weaken in the next 12 months due to near-zero interest rates, investors should consider purchasing US corporate bonds, Standard Chartered Bank Taiwan Ltd (渣打台灣銀行) said on Thursday. The bank said that the US Federal Reserve since last month has been buying bonds issued by US companies to curb default rates. The US dollar is forecast to be weaker against the pound, the euro and the yen, as well as the Canadian dollar, the Swedish krona and the Swiss franc, as the greenback lacks high investment returns after the Fed in March slashed the benchmark interest rate
A Bollywood actor’s face tattooed on his arm, Sandeep Bacche’s devotion shocks few in India where stars enjoy semi-divine status, but even there the hallowed silver screen might be losing its shine to streaming services and pandemic fears. “Whenever things get better and theaters begin operations, I will watch three movies a day for sure just as a way to celebrate,” said the Mumbai rickshaw driver, who is recovering from the virus himself. However, others might not join the party. With cinemas shut for months due to a COVID-19 lockdown, and little prospect they will reopen soon, frustrated Bollywood producers have turned to