Cook opts out of payout
Apple chief executive Tim Cook has opted not to take US$75 million in dividend payout on restricted shares of stock he owns in the maker of iPhones, iPads, iPods and Macintosh computers. Documents on file with the US Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday said that while other Apple employees would be awarded quarterly “dividend equivalents” of US$2.65 on restricted shares, Cook asked not to be included. Restricted shares typically don’t qualify for dividends, so the decision by Apple’s board amounts to bonuses for employees of the Cupertino, California-based company.
Obama holds off on China
The administration of US President Barack Obama on Friday rejected calls from the US Congress to brand China a currency manipulator, but said its “significantly undervalued” currency was a key brake on global growth. The US Treasury Department said China had not met the standards for manipulation of the Chinese yuan to gain an unfair competitive trade advantage. Such a distinction could pave the way for retaliatory sanctions. In its semi-annual report to Congress on exchange-rate policies, the Treasury pledged to “closely monitor” the pace of the yuan’s appreciation and “press for policy changes” to boost China’s exchange-rate flexibility.
Yen, yuan trading to start
Japan and China are expected to start direct trading of their currencies as early as next month as part of efforts to boost bilateral trade and investment, reports said yesterday. With the planned step, exchange rates between the yen and the yuan will be determined by their transactions, departing from the current “cross rate” system that involves the US dollar in setting yen-yuan rates, Kyodo News said. The two governments are eying setting up markets in Tokyo and Shanghai, the Yomiuri Shimbun said. The yen-yuan exchange system would help businesses in the world’s second and third-largest economies reduce risks associated with exchange rate fluctuations in the dollar and cut transaction costs, Kyodo said.
EU sues Argentina in WTO
The EU on Friday filed a suit against Argentina’s import restrictions with the WTO, intensifying the disputes between the South American nation and its trading partners. The EU’s Executive Commission said the case followed measures by Argentina that include an import licensing regime and an obligation on companies to balance imports with exports. “Argentina’s import restrictions violate international trade rules and must be removed,” EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht said.
US Congress to grill Dimon
JPMorgan Chase’s embattled chief executive Jamie Dimon will be hauled before the US Congress on June 7 to explain recent huge trading losses, legislators announced on Friday. Dimon will testify before the Senate Banking Committee as committee chair Tim Johnson vowed to “get to the bottom of the massive trading loss.” Congress, regulators and JPMorgan Chase staff are looking at the actions that led to more than US$2 billion in derivatives trading losses. The hearing is likely to be highly politically charged, a proxy for the battle between Democrats and Republicans over Wall Street reform.