Inflation stays at 23 percent
China’s consumer price index (CPI) rose 2.3 percent last month from a year earlier, well below the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) target of 3.5 percent for the year. The latest inflation rate was unchanged from June, according to data released yesterday by China’s National Bureau of Statistics. The rise in the index was driven largely by higher food prices, which increased by 3.6 percent. Prices for fruits and eggs rose the fastest. Experts predict the inflation rate is to stay stable this year, leaving room for interest rate cuts or other measures to stimulate the economy if necessary.
Tekmira shares surge
Shares of Canadian company Tekmira Pharmaceuticals surged on Friday after US officials loosened restrictions on the use of its experimental drug to treat the Ebola virus. Tekmira shares traded 36.1 percent higher at US$19.42 a share. Tekmira announced on Thursday that the US Food and Drug Administration had “verbally confirmed” that it had shifted the classification of its TKM-Ebola treatment to a partial clinical hold from a full clinical hold. “This action enables the potential use of TKM-Ebola in individuals infected with Ebola virus,” the company said.
IMF to bail out Ghana
The IMF said on Friday it is ready to aid Ghana after the country formally requested assistance to surmount fiscal and economic challenges. The fund gave no information on how much money the Ghanaian authorities are requesting to bridge a deep financing gap that has resulted in a plunge in its currency. Earlier this week Ghanaian President John Mahama said his country needs help to make structural adjustments, including to the huge government wage bill, so that it can balance its budget.
Premiums climb for Sherpas
Foreign mountaineers are to have to spend more for the insurance cover of their Sherpa guides to climb any Himalayan peak in Nepal including Mount Everest, the Indian government said. An ice avalanche on Mount Everest in April killed 16 Sherpa guides in the biggest disaster in the history of the world’s tallest mountain. Tourism Ministry official Dipendra Paudel said that insurance cover for the guides would be raised to US$15,000 from US$10,000. Medical insurance for each guide has also been increased to US$4,000 from US$3,000. The new rates, to apply for all mountains including the 8,850m Everest, would come into force from next month, Paudel said.
GM recalls hit 29.1 million
General Motors Co (GM) on Friday recalled more than 300,000 vehicles, most of them to address ignition problems, taking to over 29 million the number of GM cars recalled this year. GM, which faces a number of government probes over its handling of ignition switch problems linked to at least 13 deaths, recalled around 215,000 model year 2002 to 2004 Saturn VUEs because the ignition key can be removed when it is not in the off position. That could lead to unintended vehicle motion, resulting in a possible crash, according to the automaker. GM said it is aware of two crashes and one injury potentially related to the problem. With Friday’s announcement, GM has recalled about 29.1 million vehicles this year.
From the customer’s perspective, car rental is a straightforward business. The only uncertainty is whether the hire company will charge you for the scratch they discover when you hand back the vehicle. Hertz Global Holdings Inc’s bankruptcy protection filing on Friday last week was a reminder that today even the simplest business models are underpinned by a lot more financial complexity than meets the eye. The proximate cause of Hertz’s demise was of course the sudden collapse in bookings caused by COVID-19 travel restrictions. The company’s monthly revenue last month fell 73 percent year-on-year, a shortfall that even the most resilient
Uber Technologies Inc, Lyft Inc and Airbnb Inc have slashed thousands of jobs. Salesforce.com Inc and Visa Inc are letting employees work remotely for months; Twitter Inc and Square Inc are allowing them to do so for good. For the companies’ hometown of San Francisco, the moves are early signs of a dire blow. In a city with a long history of booms, busts and natural calamities, the COVID-19 pandemic has suddenly upended nearly a decade of prosperity. While municipalities across the US are grappling with economic fallout from the virus, San Francisco stands to take a deeper hit given its high
BULK PURCHASE: The French chain and Hong Kong-based Dairy Farm International reached a deal covering 224 stores, which is expected to be finalized by year’s end Carrefour SA yesterday announced it would acquire Wellcome Taiwan Co (惠康百貨) for 97 million euros (US$108.33 million), and bring all the Wellcome supermarkets (頂好超市) and Jasons Market Place stores nationwide under its banner within 12 months of the deal closing. The France-based hypermarket chain reached an agreement with Hong Kong-based Dairy Farm International Holdings (牛奶國際控股), the pan-Asian retailer that launched Wellcome Taiwan in 1987. The transaction involves 199 Wellcome supermarkets, which have average sales areas of 420m2 and 25 high-end Jasons Market Place stores, which have an average sales area of 820m2, as well as a warehouse in Taoyuan, Carrefour Taiwan (家樂福)
‘ONE-STOP SHOP’: A Miaoli official said that the factory in the Jhunan section of the Hsinchu Science Park would create more than 1,000 jobs and boost prosperity A new high-end IC packaging and testing plant planned by contract chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) in Miaoli County is expected to start operations in the middle of next year, Miaoli County Commissioner Hsu Yao-chang (徐耀昌) said. Hsu wrote on Facebook that TSMC, the world’s largest pure wafer foundry operator, would invest NT$303.2 billion (US$10.1 billion) to build the plant, the largest-ever single investment in Taiwan. However, TSMC declined to disclose the financial terms of the deal, while a company board meeting on May 12 approved a spending plan worth NT$168.2 billion as part of its investment plans. Construction of the