Trade surplus surges
Indonesia posted a trade surplus of US$1.33 billion last month, its largest in more than a year and a half, as exports and imports plunged. Outbound shipments fell 19.23 percent year-on-year to US$11.41 billion, while inbound shipments plunged 28.44 percent to US$10.08 billion. The surplus was the biggest since December 2013 and more than double the US$601 million forecast from analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News. The steep fall in exports and imports comes as economic activity continues to slow in Southeast Asia’s largest economy. Economic growth fell to a six-year low of 4.7 percent in the second quarter.
Brookfield buys Asciano
Canada’s Brookfield Infrastructure Partners yesterday said it hoped to use its US$6.6 billion purchase for Australian ports and rail operator Asciano to expand further in the region. The cash and stock transaction is the Canadian asset manager’s largest takeover, adding Asciano’s Australian container terminals to Brookfield’s hubs in North America and Europe. Asciano’s rail operations also pair well with Brookfield’s Australian and Brazilian logistics businesses, Brookfield chief executive Sam Pollock said.
Sudanese pound plunges
The Sudanese pound has hit a new low against the US dollar on the black market because of a shortage of foreign currency, traders said on Monday. They said the US dollar was selling at 10 Sudanese pounds for the first time, down from 9.5 last week. Sudan’s economy suffered when South Sudan gained independence in 2011, with the country losing nearly three quarters of its oil resources.
Airport runs on solar power
An airport in the south of India is the world’s first to run completely on solar energy following commissioning of a 12-megawatt project overseen by Bosch Ltd. The undertaking, at Cochin International Airport, is estimated to generate more than 50,000 units of electricity daily and will make the airport grid-power neutral, Bosch said in a news release yesterday. India currently has 4 gigawatts of solar capacity and aims to reach 100 gigawatts by 2022.
Wood Group axes jobs
Britain energy services company Wood Group yesterday said it had cut its headcount by 13 percent since the end of last year amid an oil-price collapse. The action, equivalent to an employee reduction of about 5,000, mirrors plans by several oil services groups and explorers as crude prices have tumbled by more than half in value over the past year. Wood Group, heavily present in the North Sea and the Americas, added that its net profit fell 17 percent to US$116.8 million in the six months to the end of June compared with the first half of last year.
Koreas agree on pay hike
South Korea yesterday said it had reached agreement with North Korea on a minimum wage hike for North Korean workers at their Kaesong joint economic zone, ending a six-month dispute. The 5 percent hike will increase the minimum workers’ wage from US$70.35 a month to US$73.87, a spokesman for Seoul’s Unification Ministry said. The industrial estate, which lies just 10km over the border in the North, hosts about 120 South Korean firms employing about 53,000 North Korean workers.
NO VIRUS BLUES: A SEMI Taiwan official said that the virus does not slow down the global semiconductor industry’s investment in manufacturing equipment The production value of the nation’s semiconductor industry is expected to grow 16.7 percent this year from last year, outpacing the global industry’s 3.3 percent growth, industry association SEMI said yesterday. That would help Taiwan safeguard its second spot in the global semiconductor market with a production value of more than NT$3 trillion (US$102.73 billion), SEMI Taiwan president Terry Tsao (曹世綸) told a media briefing in Taipei for the Semicon Taiwan trade show beginning today. The global semiconductor industry’s production value is expected to increase to US$426 billion this year, SEMI said. In terms of semiconductor equipment investment, equipment billings from Taiwanese firms
Intel Corp has received licenses from US authorities to continue supplying certain products to Huawei Technologies Co (華為), a company spokesman said yesterday. Washington has been pushing governments around to world to squeeze out Huawei, saying that the telecom giant would hand data to Beijing for espionage. From Monday last week, new curbs have barred US companies from supplying or servicing Huawei. This week, the state-backed China Securities Journal reported that Intel had received permission to supply Huawei. China’s Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp (SMIC, 中芯國際), which uses US-origin equipment to make chips for Huawei and other companies, last week confirmed that it had sought
Taipei Times: When do you think the hospitality industry can return to how it was before the COVID-19 pandemic? How does Formosa International Hotels Group (FIH, 晶華酒店集團) fare this quarter and beyond? FIH chairman Steve Pan (潘思亮): The virus outbreak will have a serious impact on business travel, driven mainly by meetings, incentive travel, conferences and exhibitions over the past three decades. For the past six months, many businesspeople have grown used to exchanging information on the Internet, where more people can participate. The trend might sustain for three to five years until people are vaccinated and it is safe to
DIGITAL COMMERCE: In 2016, only 2 percent of orders were delivered in Taiwan, but that has risen to 10 percent, Foodpanda Taiwan Co operations director Nick Yu said Online food delivery platforms have seen explosive growth in Taiwan this year, helped by business opportunities related to the COVID-19 pandemic, company executives said at a digital commerce conference in Taipei yesterday. When the threat of COVID-19 kept people from going out to eat, more people experimented with ordering food deliveries online, Foodpanda Taiwan Co Ltd (富胖達) operations director Nick Yu (余岳勳) said. Foodpanda started operations in Taiwan in 2012. “We experienced 5,000 percent growth in the past 24 months,” Yu said. “That’s more than the previous six years combined.” In 2016, only 2 percent of food orders were delivered in Taiwan, but that