Chinese banks cap lending
Chinese banks scaled back lending last month to 667.4 billion yuan (US$108 billion) from the 792.9 billion yuan posted in April, the People’s Bank of China said on Sunday. Actual lending for last month was far below the 821.3 billion yuan expected in a Dow Jones Newswires poll of 14 economists. “Liquidity conditions were much tighter than expected,” investment bank Goldman Sachs said in a research report yesterday. “If sustained, the tighter monetary and fiscal policy stance is likely to put downward pressure on aggregate demand growth.” Goldman said its forecasts for China’s second-quarter and annual GDP growth — both 7.8 percent — faced “downside risk.”
Sharp stock rises on US deal
Shares in Sharp Corp surged 15.21 percent yesterday as the electronics maker announced steady progress in investment from US firm Qualcomm Inc. The Osaka-based firm jumped ￥61 to finish at ￥462. Sharp on Friday said after the market closed that the second batch of Qualcomm’s investment in it would be completed on June 24. That will make Qualcomm the third-largest shareholder, with 3.53 percent of the stock. Analysts have said boosting ties with Qualcomm, which has strength in central processing units for smartphones, is favorable to Sharp’s corporate performance in the long term.
Osborne to start Lloyds sale
British Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne will launch the early sale to the public of shares in bailed-out lender Lloyds Banking Group on Wednesday next week, the Sunday Times reported without citing sources. UK government-owned shares in the Royal Bank of Scotland, also rescued during the financial crisis, will be sold at a later date, the paper added. Osborne will announce the sale of the state’s 39 percent stake in Lloyds, which could raise up to ￡17 billion (US$26 billion), during his annual policy speech to London’s business community at Mansion House, the Times reported.
Bank sustains main rate
The central bank kept its main interest rate unchanged at 8.25 percent for the ninth month running yesterday in the face of inflation that has accelerated to the fastest rate in 21 months. The expected decision came as analysts forecast a rate cut in the second half of the year when inflation is expected to slow and the bank will have to stimulate growth that has dropped to nearly half of initial expectations. The central bank also left the discount rate at which it repurchases government securities from the commercial institution steady at 5.5 percent while lowering some medium and long-term borrowing rates.
US nonprofits face headwinds
Nonprofit news organizations have been making an impact in the US market, but face financial challenges similar to those of their commercial counterparts, a study by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism showed yesterday. The sutdy found that among the 93 “active nonprofit news sites” launched from 1987 to last year, more than half said marketing and fundraising are big obstacles to their survival. Despite the concerns, nonprofit news site operators express optimism about their future. About 81 percent of those polled said they were “very” or “somewhat confident” they will be financially solvent in five years, and four in 10 predict they will hire new staff in the coming year.