Japan seeks Myanmar ties
Japan’s foreign minister will suggest that Myanmar enter negotiations on a bilateral investment accord when he holds talks with the country’s top officials this week, Kyodo News reported yesterday. The talks would mark another step as Myanmar gradually reconnects with the rest of the world after decades of tight military rule. A series of reforms have been initiated by Myanmar President Thein Sein aimed at pushing for the lifting of decades of Western sanctions and attracting much-needed foreign investment in the country. In Naypyidaw, Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba will discuss the investment accord, which would promote cross-border investment and allow trade disputes to be settled under international frameworks, Kyodo said, citing a government source.
Indonesia strike ends
Workers at Freeport McMoran Copper & Gold Inc’s mine in Indonesia will gradually return to work this week to end a three-month strike that has crippled output and exports from the world’s second-biggest copper mine, union officials said yesterday. Some workers have started a traditional stone burning ritual and removed a road blockage that kept other workers from accessing the Grasberg mine in the central highlands of Papua island in eastern Indonesia, Juli Parorrongan, a union spokesman, said via telephone yesterday. The union had planned to mobilize workers to return to the mine on Saturday, but some of them are celebrating Christmas with their families in Papua, which is predominantly Christian. Many workers at the Grasberg mine are Papuans. In mid-December, workers reached a deal including a 37 percent pay rise over two years and extra benefits.
Growth slows to 0.3 percent
The nation’s economy, the eurozone’s second largest, grew at a weaker pace than previously estimated in the third quarter as companies cut spending. GDP rose 0.3 percent from the second quarter, when it fell 0.1 percent, Paris statistics institute Insee said on Friday. It had previously reported a gain of 0.4 percent. In the year, the economy expanded 1.5 percent, down from 1.7 percent in the previous quarter. The economy is probably already in recession, with output shrinking this quarter and next, Insee said last week. While business confidence dropped to the lowest in one-and-a-half years this month and manufacturing contracted, government leaders have refused to use the word recession, saying France is in a “slowdown” or an “air pocket.” Investment growth slowed to 0.2 percent in the third quarter from 0.6 percent in the previous three months, the report showed. Consumer spending increased 0.3 percent after dropping 0.6 percent in the second quarter and exports advanced 0.8 percent, up from 0.7 percent.
Flood crisis funding sought
The government will seek Cabinet approval this week for a 350 billion baht (US$11.12 billion) budget for infrastructure and water management to prevent a repeat of the country’s recent flood crisis, a top official said on Saturday. The government’s post-flood rehabilitation task force would propose the budget for flood prevention and infrastructure upgrades to restore investor confidence as soon as possible, the head of the task force, Veerapong Ramangkuland, said in a televised speech. Veerapong said the fund would allow the government to raise and allocate necessary funds to fast-track the work and prevent further damage to the economy.
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
’WHITE BOX’: The open platform would give local firms access to Cisco’s cloud-based mobile network to develop 5G telecom equipment and tap into the global market The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) yesterday introduced a new 5G “open lab” in collaboration with US-based information technology and networking giant Cisco Systems Inc to address the rapidly growing “white box” 5G networking equipment market. The open lab will be a platform where Taiwanese manufacturers can access Cisco’s cloud-based mobile network to develop their own 5G telecom equipment, such as small-cell base stations, network switches, modems and Internet of things (IoT) devices, a ministry statement said. The open platform would allow Taiwanese manufacturers to tap into the lucrative 5G telecom equipment market, which was previously monopolized by Nokia Oyj, Ericsson AB
Nintendo Co is raising its target for Switch production to about 25 million units this fiscal year, people familiar with the matter said, as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic keeps lifting demand and component shortages ease. The Kyoto, Japan-based company, which in April hiked orders to 22 million units by March next year, is asking partners to tack on another few million units, said the people, who did not want to be identified discussing internal goals. Assembly partners plan to work at maximum capacity through December. The new production target suggests that Nintendo is likely to outperform its Switch sales forecast of 19 million
NERVOUS MARKET: With the infection sources still unknown for three COVID-19 cases that had departed Taiwan, investors have become uneasy, an analyst said Local shares yesterday came under heavy downward pressure, falling more than 1 percent as renewed fears over a possible increase in domestic COVID-19 infections hit market sentiment after the nation last week reported a case related to a Belgian national. Selling focused on the bellwether electronics sector, led by contract chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電), which pushed down the broader market as investors ignored gains posted by tech heavyweights on the US market at the end of last week, dealers said. The TAIEX closed down 151.77 points, or 1.2 percent, at 12,513.03, on turnover of NT$231.43 billion (US$7.84 billion). Foreign