China bond holdings drop
China’s holdings of US government debt declined in November last year for a third straight month, reaching the lowest level since January 2013, as Japan’s jumped to a record. China, the largest foreign holder of US Treasuries, had US$1.25 trillion as of November last, US$2.3 billion less than a month earlier, according to US Department of the Treasury data released on Friday in Washington. Japan, the second-biggest, moved to within US$8.9 billion of China’s lead, increasing its ownership by US$19.1 billion to US$1.24 trillion.
Moody’s cuts bonds rating
Moody’s Investors Service has cut its rating on Russian government bonds one step closer to “junk” status, as the country’s economy worsens under the twin pressures of Western sanctions and declining oil prices. The ruble has lost about half its value against the US dollar since early last year. Moody’s on Friday lowered the rating one notch to “Baa3,” the lowest investment-grade level. The firm says it’s reviewing whether to lower the rating further.
Fitch lowers credit outlook
Rating firm Fitch on Friday lowered Greece’s credit outlook to negative from stable, citing rising political uncertainty, but kept the country’s credit rating unchanged at “B,” indicating highly speculative. “The current period of political uncertainty has increased the risks to Greece’s creditworthiness as official financing, and any potential reopening of market access, could be delayed for some months. Early elections to be held on Jan. 25 have made the direction of Greek policymaking more uncertain,” Fitch said in a statement.
Novartis to close plant
Novartis AG is closing its manufacturing plant in Puerto Rico as part of a major overhaul of its business. The Switzerland-based company said in a statement on Friday that the shutdown of its Humacao plant will conclude in early 2019. About 270 employees will be laid off. Novartis says it will transfer some manufacturing and packaging operations to companies including Eli Lilly & Co. Some operations will be transferred to Novartis’ manufacturing plant in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Singapore Air cuts off pilots
Singapore Airlines Ltd said on Friday it will no longer rehire captains beyond the normal retirement age of 62, in fresh cost-cutting measures as competition from rivals hits profits. Previously, pilots with the rank of captain were allowed to fly beyond 62 under a re-employment contract renewable each year until the age of 64. First officers have not been offered re-employment beyond age 62 since January 2013.
Arroyo set to lead Iusacell
AT&T said on Friday it had appointed company veteran F. Thaddeus Arroyo as the chief executive of Iusacell, Mexico’s No. 3 wireless carrier, which it recently bought. Arroyo, who the company said has been with AT&T for 19 years, was previously president of the technology department and before that served as chief information officer. AT&T agreed to buy Mexico’s Iusacell for US$1.7 billion in November last year.
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,
‘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
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
‘POSITIVE EFFECT’: Phison this year began shipping SSDs to Japan’s largest pachinko maker, which uses the components in its machines featuring high-resolution graphics Phison Electronics Corp (群聯電子), a designer of NAND flash memory controllers and modules, yesterday reported that revenue last quarter grew 11 percent from a year earlier on the back of new orders from Japan’s largest pachinko maker. Revenue last quarter expanded to NT$10.86 billion (US$366.82 million) from NT$9.79 billion a year earlier, Phison said. However, on a quarterly basis, revenue slumped 15.62 percent from NT$12.87 billion, it said. The Miaoli-based company said that it is benefiting from growing demand for solid-state drives (SSDs) used in devices beyond computers, which is stimulating growth for the NAND flash memory industry. Pachinko machines are one