Talks on A$-yuan conversion
Australia and Hong Kong officials will discuss the potential for direct conversion of the Australian dollar and Chinese yuan, particularly in the area of commodity exports, Australian Treasurer Wayne Swan said yesterday. The high-level talks, which are set to start in Sydney next year, will also support the development of new yuan-denominated financing and investment products, said Swan, who was speaking at a Hong Kong forum before traveling to Beijing. China is Australia’s biggest trading partner and Australia has been keen to become the third country allowed to directly convert capital amounts to yuan, after the US and Japan.
Applied Materials’ sales low
Applied Materials Inc cut its full-year forecast for this fiscal year, citing weaker than expected demand for its semiconductor equipment business, primarily among foundry customers. The shares fell in early trading. For the fiscal year ending Oct. 28 this year, the company expects net sales to be below the previous outlook of US$9.1 billion to US$9.5 billion, the Santa Clara, California-based company said yesterday in statement. Earnings excluding some items would be less than its previous projection of US$0.85 a share to US$0.95 cents a share, the company said. Applied Materials is seeing weaker demand from its foundry customers and manufacturers that build chips for other companies.
Amazon tests smartphones
The online retail giant Amazon is testing a new smartphone and might launch production later this year or early next year, the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday. The story, datelined Taipei, said the company is working with Asian component suppliers to test the new device, which would enter a crowded market dominated by Apple’s iPhone, Samsung’s Galaxy handsets and LG models. Amazon expanded into the tablet market last year with the Kindle Fire, which runs on Google’s Android software. The Android platform is used by slightly more than half the smartphones in the US market, while the iPhone accounts for 31.9 percent, according to an industry survey released earlier this month.
1-euro deal saves jobs
Japan’s Mitsubishi Motors yesterday said it would sell its sole European plant to a Dutch industrial group for 1 euro (US$1.20) in a deal that calls on the buyer to keep 1,500 jobs at the facility. The automaker had earlier this year announced plans to end production at the factory in the southern Netherlands by the end of the year, blaming a difficult operating environment in the debt-hit continent. In a statement yesterday, the Japanese firm said it would sell Netherlands Car BV, or NedCar, to VDL Groep, which makes buses and a range of industrial products, for a token 1 euro in exchange for keeping the plant running.
S Korea jobless rate rises
South Korea’s jobless rate rose only marginally last month compared with a month earlier, figures showed yesterday, as the economy remained stable despite global turbulence. The unemployment rate stood at 3.2 percent last month, up from 3.1 percent in May, Statistics Korea said. The seasonally adjusted rate was unchanged from the previous month at 3.2 percent. Fewer jobs were created last month. Bosses added 365,000 more jobs year-on-year, compared with 472,000 in May.