Thailand hikes key rate
Thailand raised interest rates for the seventh straight meeting as Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s plans to boost wages and rice prices heighten inflation risks even as growth eases. The Bank of Thailand increased its benchmark one-day bond repurchase rate by a quarter of a percentage point to 3.5 percent, it said in Bangkok yesterday. The move was predicted by 16 out of 20 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News, with the rest expecting no change. Thailand has boosted borrowing costs nine times since the start of July last year, the longest tightening cycle since the 23 months ended June 2006.
German confidence down
German business confidence deteriorated sharply this month, the Ifo economic research institute said yesterday. The monthly Ifo business climate index plunged to 108.7 points from 112.9 points last month, highlighting a sharp slowdown seen also in other recent data. The result was well below expectations of a decline to 111 points, according to a poll of economists by Dow Jones Newswires, and was the biggest drop since the index lost 4.7 points in July 2008. It was also the lowest level since June last year, when it stood at 106.5 points.
Glencore bids for Minara
Swiss-based commodities giant Glencore yesterday announced a takeover bid for Australian nickel miner Minara, its first major play since listing in London and Hong Kong. The off-market cash bid for the 27 percent share of Minara that Glencore does not already own values the cobalt and nickel firm at A$1.02 billion (US$1.07 billion), or A$0.87 a share. Glencore said the offer was a “substantial premium to Minara’s recent trading price and an attractive exit opportunity” for shareholders after the miner reported a 31.2 percent drop in half-year profit to A$27.3 million.
Qantas’ profit doubles
Qantas Airways Ltd yesterday reported that annual net profit more than doubled to A$250 million, but warned that the general operating environment was challenging and extremely volatile. The Australian flagship carrier’s result for the 12 months through June compares with A$112 million in the previous year. It was also below the market consensus of A$322 million, according to a median of four analysts’ estimates published by Australian Associated Press. Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said in a statement that the “result reflects the strength of the Qantas Group’s portfolio and is our best performance since the global financial crisis.”
Heineken’s profit drops
Heineken NV, Europe’s largest seller of beer, said first-half earnings were down from the same period a year ago, when it booked a one-time gain, and that it expects flat full-year earnings. Net profit in the first half of this year was 605 million euros (US$872 million), down from 700 million euros in the same period a year ago. Sales rose 11 percent to 8.36 billion euros, mostly due to the acquisition of brands, including Dos Equis and Tecate. Sales rose 3.3 percent, it said. The family-controlled company said commodity costs, high unemployment and weak consumer confidence would remain a drag on its business in Europe and the US, offset by growth in emerging markets.
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
Shin Kong Financial Holding Co (新光金控) yesterday said that its insurance unit would adjust its investment portfolio after being banned from buying new stocks a day earlier by the Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC). “We will research what we can do based on the commission’s specific instructions after we receive the regulator’s formal documents,” Shin Kong Financial spokesman Sunny Hsu (徐順鋆) told the Taipei Times by telephone. The commission on Tuesday fined Shin Kong Life Insurance Co (新光人壽) NT$27.6 million (US$941,722) for reckless investment, and demanded that the insurer reduce its overseas investment ratio from 43 percent to 39 percent. The fine would affect
Taipei Times: When do you think the hospitality industry can return to how it was before the COVID-19 pandemic? How does Formosa International Hotels Group (FIH, 晶華酒店集團) fare this quarter and beyond? FIH chairman Steve Pan (潘思亮): The virus outbreak will have a serious impact on business travel, driven mainly by meetings, incentive travel, conferences and exhibitions over the past three decades. For the past six months, many businesspeople have grown used to exchanging information on the Internet, where more people can participate. The trend might sustain for three to five years until people are vaccinated and it is safe to
NO VIRUS BLUES: A SEMI Taiwan official said that the virus does not slow down the global semiconductor industry’s investment in manufacturing equipment The production value of the nation’s semiconductor industry is expected to grow 16.7 percent this year from last year, outpacing the global industry’s 3.3 percent growth, industry association SEMI said yesterday. That would help Taiwan safeguard its second spot in the global semiconductor market with a production value of more than NT$3 trillion (US$102.73 billion), SEMI Taiwan president Terry Tsao (曹世綸) told a media briefing in Taipei for the Semicon Taiwan trade show beginning today. The global semiconductor industry’s production value is expected to increase to US$426 billion this year, SEMI said. In terms of semiconductor equipment investment, equipment billings from Taiwanese firms