Japanese surplus up 140%
Japan’s current account surplus more than doubled year-on-year in February, with lower oil prices helping narrow trade deficits and a weaker yen boosting repatriated returns on foreign investment, official data showed yesterday. Japan logged a surplus of ￥1.44 trillion (US$12 billion), up 140.5 percent from a year earlier, the Japanese Ministry of Finance said. Meanwhile, the Bank of Japan held off further easing measures after a two-day meeting. The bank stayed pat on its record stimulus program, which is adding about ￥80 trillion to the money supply every year.
ECB stimulus hits goal
The European Central Bank’s (ECB) 1.1 trillion euro (US$1.2 trillion) stimulus program is off to a running start. The bank on Tuesday said it has met its monthly goal of purchasing 60 billion euros in government and private-sector bonds, the first stage of an effort that is to last into next year. The ECB said it had bought 52.52 billion euros in government bonds since launching the effort on March 9. The 60 billion euro goal was reached by additional purchases of private-sector bonds.
German slump deepens
German industrial orders fell again in February, the nation’s Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy said yesterday. Provisional official data showed a 0.9-percent month-on-month decline, following a sharp 2.6 percent drop in January, according to revised figures. For the three-month period covering December, January and February, which economists say provides a more accurate picture, factory orders rose 0.5 percent compared to the previous three months.
ANZ wins fees appeal
Australia’s ANZ Banking Group Ltd has won an appeal against a court decision that late payment fees charged on credit cards were exorbitant and unlawful. The Australian Federal Court yesterday unanimously overturned a decision by Justice Michelle Gordon in February last year that ANZ had been illegally imposing penalties for late payments on credit cards. A lawyer representing customers in the class-action lawsuit, Andrew Watson, said yesterday’s decision will be appealed in the High Court.
Manulife, DBS deal rumored
Canada’s Manulife Financial Corp is nearing a deal worth more than US$1 billion to sell insurance through the Asian network of Singaporean lender DBS Group Holdings Ltd, the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday, citing an unidentified person. The multiyear agreement, expected to be signed last night, would see Manulife make payments to DBS over the life of the contract, the newspaper reported.
Microsoft eyes autistic hires
Microsoft Corp has launched a pilot program to hire autistic workers at its headquarters in Washington state. “Each individual is different, some have amazing ability to retain information, think at a level of detail and depth or excel in math or code. It’s a talent pool that we want to continue to bring to Microsoft,” Mary Ellen Smith, a corporate vice president wrote in a company blog last week. Smith, who has a son with autism who is now 19, said the program builds on long-standing efforts at Microsoft to enlist people with disabilities.
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
‘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
GOGOROS TO GO: The scooter maker’s CEO said that the electric vehicles ‘are the perfect complement to a program designed to stimulate the Taiwanese economy’ Minister of Economic Affairs Wang Mei-hua (王美花) yesterday announced a draw to encourage people to claim their Triple Stimulus Vouchers digitally. The prizes include movie tickets and 25 electric scooters donated by Gogoro Inc (睿能創意), Wang said. The Ministry of Economic Affairs said that it would hold a scooter draw every day for the next 10 days, beginning yesterday, after which there would be a draw every week for 15 weeks. The first winner was a Taiwan Cooperative Bank (合庫銀行) credit card user, the ministry said. The benefits of claiming the vouchers digitally extend beyond the draws, with many businesses offering special deals for