GDP edges up 0.5%
The economy expanded faster than economists forecast in the first quarter, powered by increasing corporate investment and a rebound in consumer spending. GDP growth accelerated to 0.5 percent from 0.3 percent in the final quarter of last year, beating the 0.4 percent projection in a Bloomberg survey, statistics office Insee said yesterday. Consumer spending rose 1.2 in the first quarter, while business investment jumped 1.6 percent, its biggest increase in at least two years, data showed.
Economy expands 0.8%
The economy grew 0.8 percent in the first quarter compared with the previous three months, its 11th consecutive growth figure, the National Statistics Office said yesterday. It grew 3.4 percent from the same period last year. The country emerged from a recession in late 2013 and is now one of the EU’s fastest-growing economies, although its unemployment rate of 21 percent remains the bloc’s second highest after Greece.
Q1 growth slows to 0.5%
The economy inched forward at the weakest pace in two years from January through last month, as consumer spending slowed, business investment plunged and exports declined further. The Department of Commerce on Thursday said that GDP grew by a tiny 0.5 percent in the first quarter, down from 1.4 percent growth in the fourth quarter of last year. The January-March performance was the poorest showing since GDP contracted by 0.9 percent in the first three months of 2014.
PetroChina posts losses
PetroChina Co (中石油) shares plunged yesterday, after the Chinese energy giant posted its first quarterly loss since listing overseas 16 years ago, as it struggled with a weak domestic economy and lower international oil prices. PetroChina lost 13.79 billion yuan (US$2.14 billion) in the first quarter, reversing from a gain of 6.15 billion yuan for the same period a year ago, it said in a statement to the Hong Kong exchange late on Thursday. It was the first quarterly loss by PetroChina since it listed on the bourse in 2000.
RBS loses ￡968 million
The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) yesterday said its net loss widened in the first quarter as the taxpayer-owned bank made its final ￡1.2 billion (US$1.7 billion) payment to the UK Treasury as part of a deal to give the government first crack at any profits. The bank, which is 73 percent taxpayer-owned, reported a net loss of ￡968 million, compared with ￡459 million in the first quarter of last year. Excluding the payment to the government, RBS posted a profit of ￡225 million.
Amazon revenue jumps 28%
Amazon.com Inc on Thursday reported better-than-expected first-quarter results fueled by a 28 percent jump in revenue. The Seattle-based company’s net income totaled US$513 million, or US$1.07 per share, compared with a loss in the same period a year earlier. The average estimate of 14 analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of US$0.61 per share. Amazon’s cloud-based services, called Amazon Web Services, remained another bright spot, with revenue up 64 percent to US$2.57 billion. The online retailer’s revenue rose to US$29.13 billion in the period, also exceeding analysts’ forecasts.
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
‘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