Japan inflation rate dips
Japan reported its inflation rate eased slightly last month as a sales tax high stunted demand. The government reported yesterday that the core consumer price index, which does not include prices for fresh foods, rose 3.3 percent last month, down from the 3.4 percent seen in May. However, factoring out surging energy prices, such as a 10.6 percent rise in the cost of gas, the increase was 2.3 percent. Excluding the direct effect of the April 1 increase in the sales tax to 8 percent from 5 percent, the inflation rate was 1.3 percent, the Bank of Japan says. It has set a 2 percent inflation target, aiming to break Japan out of years of deflation, but forecasts that the rate will remain just above 1 percent for the foreseeable future.
German confidence rises
Consumer confidence in Germany is edging fractionally higher, driven by rising income expectations, a GfK poll said yesterday. Of particular note was an increase in income expectations to the highest level since unification in 1990, GfK continued. At the same time, Germany’s victory in the FIFA World Cup seems to have had no tangible effect on sentiment, as was expected, it added. Looking ahead to next month, GfK’s headline household confidence index was forecast to rise to 9 points in August from the 8.9 points this month.
India opens debt market
India is opening its short-term debt market to foreign investors, but liberalization is to be “in a measured way” to avoid causing volatility, central bank Governor Raghuram Rajan said on Thursday. Addressing a meeting in Colombo on the sidelines of a South Asian central bank governors’ meeting, Rajan said India needed to build more liquidity before liberalization. He said long-term foreign investors wanted a gradual process of opening up of India’s debt market but in a way that did not cause “sharp movements when short-term volatile investors leave.”
Baidu profits rise 34%
Baidu Inc (百度), which operates China’s most popular search engine, says its quarterly profit rose 34 percent from a year earlier as its mobile business grew. Baidu said yesterday it earned 3.5 billion yuan (US$571.1 million) in the three months ended June 30. Revenue rose 58.5 percent to 11.9 billion yuan. Baidu and other Internet companies are building mobile e-commerce and other services as Chinese users shift rapidly to accessing the Internet using smartphones and tablets. The contribution of mobile to Baidu’s total revenue rose above 30 percent for the first time, chairman Robin Li (李彥宏) said in a statement.
Food boosts Starbucks sales
Starbucks Coffee Co said on Thursday its revamped breakfast sandwiches and other food offerings helped boost sales at its US branches. The Seattle-based coffee chain posted a higher quarterly profit, as sales rose in regions around the world. In its flagship US market, sales at established cafes increased 7 percent. Earlier in the day, Dunkin’ Donuts had reported a disappointing increase of just 1.8 percent, with executives citing intensifying competition in the breakfast category. In a conference call with analysts, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said food had become a strength and drives traffic to cafes, and that the company was just getting started in its efforts to improve its lineup.
DEVELOPING TALENT: The electronics contractor is looking to recruit people to work in core tech fields and emerging industries like electric cars and robotics Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密), the world’s largest contract electronics maker, has launched a recruitment drive, offering a monthly salary of no less than NT$45,000 (US$1,485) to university graduates. For those with a master’s degree, the starting pay would be NT$52,000 per month at the minimum, while doctorate degree holders would receive at least NT$60,000 a month, Hon Hai said a statement issued early this week. The latest recruitment drive is aimed at attracting talent in core technology fields — artificial intelligence, semiconductors and next-generation mobile communications — and emerging industries — electric vehicles, digital healthcare and robotics, the
MRT TRAVEL FALLS: In February, ridership on the Taipei MRT System fell 8.96 percent from an average of 2.01 million per day in January Scooter sales jumped 13 percent last month as more commuters turned to two-wheelers to avoid public transportation amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the latest statistics showed. Sales expanded to 74,493 units last month, compared with 65,913 units in February, statistics released on Wednesday by Kwang Yang Motor Co (光陽工業) and the Ministry of Transportation and Communications showed. In the first quarter, aggregate sales slid 0.51 percent year-over-year to 186,627 units, from 187,580 units, data showed. Kwang Yang, the nation’s biggest scooter manufacturer, continued to lead the market by selling 24,136 vehicles last month, growing 6.12 percent from 20,785 units in the previous month, while
Asustek Computer Inc (華碩), the nation’s leading PC vendor, yesterday launched its first dual-screen gaming laptop powered by Intel Corp’s latest central processing units (CPUs). The PC manufacturer’s announcement closely followed the US chipmaker’s unveiling of its 10th Generation Core H-series, the fastest commercial mobile processors with speeds of up to 5 gigahertz. Although Asustek’s Zephyrus Duo 15, the highlight of its Republic of Gamers line, is not the company’s first laptop with two screens, it is its first designed specifically for gaming. Nestled between the primary display panel and the keyboard, the secondary display, which Asustek calls the ScreenPad Plus, is angled
NEW CONSIDERATIONS: An airline manager said the idea is tempting, as demand for air cargo is strong, but issues such as training loaders would need to be addressed Taiwanese airlines might repurpose passenger jets to carry cargo in their cabins to offset lost revenue amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Airlines are considering applying to the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) for permission to transport cargo in passenger cabins after StarLux Airlines Co (星宇航空) last month became the first among the nation’s airlines to offer cargo-only flights using the normal cargo holds of its three Airbus SE A321neo passenger jets. “We are considering whether to increase our capacity by putting cargo on passenger seats,” Starlux spokesman Nieh Kuo-wei (聶國維) told the Taipei Times by telephone. “The advantage is that we can improve revenue,