Key rates hold steady
The central bank held key interest rates steady as it struggles to foster growth amid high inflation, and took steps to curb currency speculation, lifting the rupee from lifetime lows yesterday. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) kept the short-term lending rate, or repo rate, at 8.5 percent and the reverse repo rate — the rate it pays to banks for deposits, at 7.5 percent. The bank also kept the cash reserve ratio for commercial lenders unchanged at 6 percent. The bank’s 13 rate hikes since March last tear have kept it out of step with many other emerging economies, which have started to ease monetary policy as global growth slows. RBI Governor Duvvuri Subbarao declined to say when the bank would start lowering rates.
Citigroup exec to step down
Citigroup Inc’s head of Japan banking, Darren Buckley, will step down on Jan. 10 after the lender was punished by local regulators for the third time in seven years. The Japanese Financial Services Agency yesterday said it told the company to stop soliciting sales of products, including mutual funds and foreign-exchange deposits, to retail customers after it failed to fully explain their risk. Citigroup’s local securities unit and Swiss bank UBS AG were also ordered to suspend some derivatives transactions after staff of the firms attempted to influence interbank lending rates, the agency said in a statement.
Morgan Stanley to axe 1,600
Morgan Stanley will cut about 1,600 jobs across all levels of company, becoming the latest bank to slash payrolls against a backdrop of extreme volatility in financial markets. The cuts, which amount to 2.6 percent of the bank’s workforce, will be made in the first three months of next year, a spokesman for the New York-based investment bank said on Thursday. The bank had more than 62,000 employees as of the end of September. Spokesman Mark Lake said the cuts would occur globally and would include analyst, associate, vice president, executive director and managing director levels.
Posco to build Brazil mill
South Korea’s Posco Engineering and Construction said yesterday it won a US$4.3 billion deal to build a steel mill in Brazil with an annual capacity of 3 million tonnes. It said it would sign a contract with Companhia Siderurgica do Pecem later in the global day for the integrated mill, which will be completed by 2015. Companhia Siderurgica do Pecem is a joint venture between Brazil’s Vale with a 50 percent stake, South Korea’s Dongkuk Steel Mill with 30 percent and Posco, which holds 20 percent. The mill’s slab production, a semi-finished steel product, will mostly be supplied to Dongkuk Steel Mill.
Victoria’s Secret vows probe
US lingerie maker Victoria’s Secret on Thursday vowed to investigate claims that some of its fair-trade underwear is produced using child labor. In a statement, Victoria’s Secret’s parent company said it was “very concerned” that fair-trade-certified cotton used in its panties could have been farmed using under-aged labor in Burkina Faso. The retailer — which became a household name thanks to its catalogue and the prominent use of models, such as Gisele Buendchen, Helena Christensen, Elle MacPherson and Claudia Schiffer — is a multibillion-dollar-a-year business.
Manufacturers are on a mission to produce desperately needed medical ventilators for the COVID-19 pandemic, even if it means converting assembly lines now making auto parts. Along with a shortage of masks and gloves, the spread of COVID-19 to almost every corner of the globe has highlighted a great need for specialized machines that help keep severely afflicted patients alive. “As the global pandemic evolves, there is unprecedented demand for medical equipment, including ventilators,” GE Healthcare chief executive officer Kieran Murphy said. The group has hired more workers and is making ventilators around the clock. Swedish group Getinge AB is also ramping up output
Facing the rapidly evolving global COVID-19 pandemic, Citibank Taiwan Ltd (台灣花旗) has proactively taken precautionary measures. “The health and safety of our colleagues and their families, as well as our clients and the communities we serve, are of the utmost importance. We continue to take proactive measures to preserve their well-being while we maintain our ability to serve our clients,” Citibank Taiwan chairman Paulus Mok (莫兆鴻) said in a statement yesterday. “We have local and regional contingency plans in place, and we have well-established business continuity plans for the firm. We are monitoring the situation closely, adjusting our operations accordingly,
UPGRADE AND TRANSFORM: Although the cross-strait trade deal might remain, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said businesses should prepare for any disruptions Taiwan might face a decline in foreign trade with China if the cross-strait Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) ends this year, Minister of Economic Affairs Shen Jong-chin (沈榮津) said yesterday. The agreement, which was signed and put into effect in 2010 to reduce trade barriers across the Taiwan Strait, is expected to end this year, despite not having an exact termination date. “We have not received notification [from China] that it wishes to terminate ECFA,” Shen told reporters prior to attending a meeting at the Legislative Yuan. “Even if we are notified, the agreement would only cease after six months.” While acknowledging the
GoShare, an electric scooter sharing service provider with Gogoro Inc (睿能創意), plans to expand to Tainan next quarter in a strategic alliance with Aeon Motor Co (宏佳騰). The company currently offers its services in Taipei and Taoyuan. “Tainan is very popular among tourists. The city receives an average of 22.94 million tourists every year,” GoShare head Henry Chiang (姜家煒) told a news conference yesterday in Taipei, citing Tourism Bureau statistics. “Besides, the city has a long history of riding scooters,” he said. Each household owns an average of 2.5 scooters, he added. “Expanding presence” is one of four strategies GoShare is adopting for this