Business confidence down
Business confidence has sagged since consumers were hit with higher prices after an April sales tax hike, suffering the first deterioration in six quarters, a Bank of Japan report showed yesterday. The Tankan survey for the quarter from April to last month showed confidence among large manufacturers stood at plus 12, well short of market expectations, after hitting a more than six-year high of plus 17 in the preceding quarter. The Tankan reading for large companies in the non-manufacturing sector tumbled to plus 19 from plus 24 in the March quarter, also the first downturn in six quarters.
Exports rise 2.5%
Exports rose 2.5 percent last month from a year ago on robust shipments of tech products and steel, official data showed yesterday. Last month’s exports amounted to US$47.8 billion, up 2.5 percent from US$46.7 billion, according to Seoul’s trade ministry. Imports rose 4.5 percent to US$42.5 billion during the same period, leaving a trade surplus of US$5.3 billion.
Trade surplus recovered
Authorities yesterday said the nation’s trade balance swung back to surplus in May and reported a flurry of other positive data, a boost for the country’s economy after a recent slowdown. The surplus was slightly higher than expected at US$70 million, according to the statistics agency, after a deficit of almost US$2 billion in April as exports were hit by a controversial mineral ore export ban. Inflation slowed further to 6.7 percent year-on-year last month after spiking last year following a rise in fuel prices, the agency said, and a manufacturing activity survey hit a new record high.
Bank holds interest rate
The central bank kept interest rates on hold at a record low 2.5 percent yesterday, as a resilient currency and softening commodity prices hobbled the economy’s shift away from mining. The Reserve Bank left the cash rate unchanged for its 10th straight meeting as it continued to highlight the need for accommodative monetary policy to “provide support to demand and help growth to strengthen over time.”
Sales rise in Japan
Japan’s automobile sales rose for the first time in three months, adding to evidence the world’s third-largest auto market is withstanding a consumption tax hike in April. Vehicle deliveries last month climbed 0.4 percent to 452,555 units, the Japan Automobile Dealers Association and Japan Mini Vehicle Association said yesterday. The increase compares with a 5.5 percent drop in April and 1.2 percent decline in May. The higher levy on purchases has failed to dent demand for minicars, which have posted sales gains in 12 consecutive months.
Twitter buys Tap Commerce
Twitter announced on Monday that it has cut a deal to buy mobile ad firm Tap Commerce to bolster money-making tools at the popular one-to-many messaging service. San Francisco-based Twitter did not disclose how much it paid for Tap Commerce, which is located in New York City, but technology news Web site Recode.net reported the deal to be valued at about US$100 million. Tap Commerce specializes in getting people to “re-engage” with applications installed, then ignored, on smartphones or tablet computers.
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,
ELECTRIC FARMLAND: TSMC’s proposal to clear 230 hectares of reforested land for what would become Taiwan’s largest photovoltaic solar farm has generated concerns New rules curbing solar farms built on agricultural land sparked fierce debate at a packed public hearing at the Legislative Yuan yesterday, with industry representatives saying that the new restrictions would endanger President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) green energy goals, while agricultural officials emphasized the importance of protecting farmers and the environment. The Tsai administration has set a target to generate 20 percent of the nation’s power from renewable sources by 2025, by which time it also aims to install 20 gigawatts (GW) of solar power, including 6GW from rooftop solar systems and 14GW from ground-mounted solar farms. Although rooftop solar systems are
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) yesterday posted monthly revenue that suggested second-quarter sales surpassed analysts’ estimates, underscoring how its technological lead is helping the chipmaker weather the COVID-19 pandemic and US sanctions on its second-biggest customer Huawei Technologies Co (華為). Apple Inc’s main iPhone chipmaker posted sales of NT$120.88 billion (US$4.08 billion) for last month, up 40.8 percent year-on-year and bringing its revenue for the second quarter to NT$310.7 billion, beating the NT$308.8 billion analysts expected on average. TSMC, a barometer for the industry thanks to its heft in the global supply chain, had previously lowered its revenue outlook for this
‘SENSITIVE MARKETS’: The previously unannounced project would involve the company handing over control of data to a third party to sidestep privacy concerns Google has abandoned plans to offer a major new cloud service in China and other politically sensitive countries due in part to concerns over geopolitical tensions and the COVID-19 pandemic, two employees familiar with the matter said, revealing the challenges for US tech giants to secure business in those markets. In May, the search giant shut down the initiative, known as “Isolated Region” and which sought to address nations’ desires to control data within their borders, the employees said. The action was considered a “massive strategy shift,” said one of the employees, who added that Isolated Region had involved hundreds of employees