Bank of Russia cuts forecast
Russia’s central bank cut its base-case economic forecast for next year to show no growth, assuming sanctions remain in place and oil averages US$95 a barrel. The regulator also pushed back its medium-term inflation target of 4 percent to 2017 from 2016, according to a revised monetary policy plan for 2015-2017 released yesterday. The base-case scenario sees sanctions lasting through the end of 2017. Russia’s decision to increase its key rate this year has helped contain the ruble’s drop against the US dollar, which would have been 10 percent greater if no action had been taken, Russian First Deputy Governor Ksenia Yudaeva said in an e-mailed statement. “Bank of Russia will maintain tight monetary policy only while there are significant risks of rising inflationary expectations amid unfavorable external political and economic trends,” she said.
Airbag maker stock tumbles
Shares in Japanese auto parts firm Takata yesterday plunged nearly 17 percent in Tokyo following calls for a criminal investigation into an airbag defect that has been linked to at least four deaths. The stock sank 16.87 percent to close at ￥1,177 after two US senators on Friday called for a criminal probe, and as the New York Times reported that Takata covered up the fault. The embattled firm — whose shares have lost about 60 percent since the start of the year — on Thursday issued a warning of a bigger-than-expected annual loss, as it faces lawsuits and regulatory probes. Questions continue to mount over airbag defects linked to the deaths in the US and dozens of injuries.
Safra buys the Gherkin
The London skyscraper known as the Gherkin is being bought by the Safra Group, the banking empire controlled by billionaire Joseph Safra. The Safra Group agreed to acquire the 180m office tower designed by architect Norman Foster from Deloitte LLP, the building’s receivers, the companies said in an e-mailed statement yesterday. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. “While only ten years old, this building is already a London icon that is distinguished from others in the market, with excellent value growth potential,” Safra Group said in the statement. Deloitte LLP was hired by the building’s lenders to sell the Gherkin in July to end years of defaults. A fund managed by IVG Immobilien AG, once Germany’s biggest real-estate company, and London-based Evans Randall Ltd bought the building from reinsurer Swiss Re Ltd for ￡600 million (US$954 million) in 2007.
Malaysia on yuan clearing
Malaysia’s central bank is working with its Chinese counterpart to introduce yuan clearing in the Southeast Asian nation after bilateral trade surged more than 10-fold since the start of the last decade. Bank Negara Malaysia signed a memorandum of understanding with the People’s Bank of China yesterday to coordinate and cooperate on the supervision of the yuan business, it said in an e-mailed statement. It did not say which lender would be appointed as Malaysia’s clearing bank for yuan, nor did it give a start date. Trade between the two nations has increased by 20 percent annually over the past two decades to exceed US$100 billion last year, Bank Negara said, and leaders of the two nations in May set a goal of increasing this to US$160 billion. Yuan deposits in Malaysia have surged more than 10-fold since 2010 to 10.7 billion yuan (US$1.7 billion).
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