Current account surplus grows
The eurozone’s current account surplus widened to 17.4 billion euros (US$23.6 billion) in August from 15.5 billion euros in July, European Central Bank data showed yesterday. The current account on the balance of payments is a closely tracked indicator of the ability of a country or area to pay its way in the world. The ECB revised the July figure downwards from its previously announced 16.9 billion euros. Over the 12 months to August, the current account showed a surplus of 192.8 billion euros, compared to 88.2 billion euros for the same period a year earlier.
EU, Canada ink trade pact
An EU trade spokesman said on Wednesday the EU hopes to conclude a free-trade deal with Canada in the coming days. “Discussions are indeed continuing at the highest level between the EU and Canada towards a comprehensive free-trade deal (CETA) — with the hope to conclude the negotiations in the coming days,” EU Trade spokesman John Clancy told reporters in an e-mail. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper also said on Wednesday his country will “soon” complete negotiations.
IBM earnings up year-on-year
IBM said on Wednesday that it earned US$4.04 billion, or US$3.68 per share, in the third quarter, up from US$3.82 billion, or US$3.33 per share, in the same quarter last year. Excluding one-time charges, the company earned US$3.99 per share, above expectations of US$3.96. Revenue dropped 4 percent to US$23.7 billion from US$24.7 billion. That fell short of the US$24.8 billion expected by analysts surveyed by FactSet. Adjusted for the effects of foreign currency exchange rates, the company said revenue fell 2 percent.
Carrefour quarterly sales fall
French big box retailer Carrefour saw its sales fall in the third quarter of the year, as the persistently poor economy in southern Europe stymies the company’s effort at a turnaround. The company said yesterday that revenue was 21.1 billion euros (US$28.6 billion) in the July to September quarter, down 1.3 percent at current exchange rates from the same quarter last year. France was a notable bright spot, with sales up at all store sizes and up 1.4 percent overall. Yet southern Europe continues to drag, particularly Italy.
Nestle adjusts 2012 sales
Swiss food and drink giant Nestle SA posted a modest 4 percent increase yesterday in sales of dozens of its household name brand products for the first nine months of last year. The firm said it had sales of 68.4 billion Swiss francs (US$74.5 billion) through this month, up from a restated 65.7 billion Swiss francs during the same period last year. The world’s biggest food and drink company had previously reported its nine-month sales last year as 67.6 billion Swiss francs through September, up from 60.9 billion during the same period in 2011.
US profits better than forecast
Bank of America posted a better-than-expected profit for the third quarter on Wednesday, citing better credit quality and lower provisions for soured loans. The second-largest US bank by assets said it had net income of US$2.5 billion in the July to September period, up from US$340 million in the third quarter last year. Revenue rose 5.4 percent from the third quarter last year, to US$21.5 billion, short of expectations.
STEPPING UP: The firm has also asked employees to work in split shifts from this week and to halt all but essential overseas business travel from next month Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) has implemented a remote work policy for employees not on production lines in an attempt to curb the spread of COVID-19, the world’s largest contract chipmaker said yesterday. This is the first time in the Hsinchu-based company’s history that it has launched a large-scale remote work policy, joining global technology companies, such as Apple Inc and Google, that encourage employees to work from home. The chipmaker has also asked employees to work in split shifts from this week, it said. As the number of virus infections continues to climb worldwide, TSMC has urged employees to halt unnecessary
A two-hour drive south of Amsterdam in Veldhoven, workers decked out head-to-toe in protective gear toil in vast assembly halls. Before entering the inner sanctuary of the facilities, they meticulously layer on masks, gloves and special socks. A single speck of dust or a hair can have devastating effects on production. The result of all this painstaking process is an environment that is 10,000 times more purified than outside. As COVID-19 grips the world, it might just be the safest place to work right now. The teams belong to ASML Holding NV, which holds a de facto monopoly on the industry of
DBS Bank Ltd yesterday hacked its GDP growth forecast for Taiwan this year to 0.9 percent, down from its estimate of 2.3 percent two months earlier, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and increasing financial market volatility. The bank’s latest forecast was even lower than London-based IHS Markit Ltd’s estimate of 1 percent, while other research institutes’ projections range from 1.6 percent to 2.6 percent. Taiwan’s economic momentum is being negatively affected by the pandemic, DBS said. The rapid spread of the disease from Asia to Europe and the US has dampened the bank’s previous expectation of a “V-shaped” global rebound in the
DOWNSIDE RISKS: Firms have a ‘very low’ chance of boosting investment returns in the next two years, making it hard for them to improve their capitalization, an analyst said Taiwanese life insurers wanting to improve their capital structure face strong headwinds this year, given prolonged low interest rates and economic impacts derived from trade protectionism and the COVID-19 pandemic, Taiwan Ratings Corp (中華信評) said on Friday. The local life insurance sector also still has high asset risks and such risks are susceptible to market volatility, the local arm of Standard & Poor’s Global Ratings said. Since last year, major financial holding companies — including CTBC Financial Holding Co (中信金控), Cathay Financial Holding Co (國泰金控) and Shin Kong Financial Holding Co (新光金控) — have announced plans to raise fresh capital to