Services-industry index rises
A services-industry index rose in April as Premier Li Keqiang (李克強) grapples with countering a slowdown in the world’s second-biggest economy while avoiding large-scale stimulus. The non-manufacturing purchasing managers’ index was at 54.8 last month compared with 54.5 in March, the National Bureau of Statistics and the Federation of Logistics and Purchasing said in Beijing yesterday. A number more than 50 indicates an expansion. Property construction plunged in the first quarter and economic growth slowed as the country’s leaders face increasing challenges in trying to maintain the rate of expansion while reining in debt. GDP is projected by economists to expand 7.3 percent this year as the government controls credit, less than the government target of about 7.5 percent.
GM in settlement talks
A mediator for General Motors (GM) has begun negotiations about settling more than 300 claims related to a deadly ignition switch problem in some older-model small cars. Kenneth Feinberg confirmed in an interview that he met for four hours on Friday with Robert Hilliard, a Corpus Christi, Texas, lawyer who said he represents families of 53 people killed and 273 injured in crashes of defective GM vehicles. “I’m evaluating various compensation options for GM to consider,” said Feinberg, who plans to present the options to GM in the next few weeks. Hilliard said no dollar figures were discussed, adding that he would not settle at a discount to what his clients could get through court mediation.
Canal’s revenue guess falls
A widened Panama Canal is expected to bring in about US$3.1 billion per year, considerably less than earlier estimates, the official responsible for the waterway said. Canal administrator Jorge Quijano said in an interview that receipts from the Panama Canal could reach US$3.1 billion by 2025, triple their current amount. However, the figure is less than the roughly US$5 billion that had been forecast after improvements to the century-old canal, seen as one of the world’s engineering marvels. Quijano, who said he was being “conservative” with his estimates, blamed a shaky world economic climate for the lowered revenue projections.
Macquarie net income soars
Macquarie Group Ltd, Australia’s biggest investment bank, posted a 49 percent rise in full-year net income to a six-year high as revenue from trading and fund management increased. Profit for the year ended March 31 rose to A$1.27 billion (US$1.17 billion), the Sydney-based firm said in a statement yesterday. That beat the gain of as much as 45 percent the firm forecast on March 24 and compared with profit of A$851 million a year earlier. The bank’s shares fell the most in two weeks as it forecast similar earnings for the year to March next year. “It is a pretty solid result from Macquarie,” Christopher Hall, who helps manage about US$4.4 billion including Macquarie shares as senior investment officer at Adelaide-based Argo Investments Ltd, said by telephone yesterday. “The key is the guidance. While Macquarie says it would be broadly in line, the market is expecting it to be higher.”
Polytronics Technology Corp (聚鼎科技) yesterday announced that it is buying Henkel AG’s thermal clad dielectric material (TCLAD) business division for US$26 million as the Taiwanese firm aims to improve its technology, product portfolio and revenue performance. Polytronics, headquartered in the Hsinchu Science Park (新竹科學園區), is a supplier of protection components and heat dissipation materials. The firm entered the metallic heat-dissipation substrate market in 2007 and developed a unique solventless production process. Its board of directors approved signing an agreement with Henkel to acquire the German chemical firm’s TCLAD division in the US. The purchase includes all assets and business interests, including equipment,
SIZE MATTERS: Medium-sized hotels that do not have the support of parent groups are more vulnerable and are forced to take action, a REPro Knight Frank researcher said About 50 hotels across Taiwan are seeking to exit the market as they succumb to the bleak business outlook amid international travel restrictions imposed to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Yomi Hotel (優美飯店) on Minsheng E Road, Sec 1, in Taipei is seeking to transfer ownership with an asking price of NT$950 million (US$32.15 million) and a pledge for a lease contract that guarantees a 3 percent return. The budget hotel, with room rates that start from NT$1,400 per night, maintains normal operations, but has been struggling since March, when the government placed restrictions on inbound and outbound travel. Occupancy rates for hotels in
With the US dollar expected to weaken in the next 12 months due to near-zero interest rates, investors should consider purchasing US corporate bonds, Standard Chartered Bank Taiwan Ltd (渣打台灣銀行) said on Thursday. The bank said that the US Federal Reserve since last month has been buying bonds issued by US companies to curb default rates. The US dollar is forecast to be weaker against the pound, the euro and the yen, as well as the Canadian dollar, the Swedish krona and the Swiss franc, as the greenback lacks high investment returns after the Fed in March slashed the benchmark interest rate
A Bollywood actor’s face tattooed on his arm, Sandeep Bacche’s devotion shocks few in India where stars enjoy semi-divine status, but even there the hallowed silver screen might be losing its shine to streaming services and pandemic fears. “Whenever things get better and theaters begin operations, I will watch three movies a day for sure just as a way to celebrate,” said the Mumbai rickshaw driver, who is recovering from the virus himself. However, others might not join the party. With cinemas shut for months due to a COVID-19 lockdown, and little prospect they will reopen soon, frustrated Bollywood producers have turned to