Circassia’s late study fails
Drug developer Circassia Pharmaceuticals PLC said its cat allergy treatment failed to meet its main goal in a late-stage study, due to a marked placebo effect. Circassia said that all groups in the study showed improvement compared with the baseline and that the results of the active treatment groups were not significantly different to placebo. The company said it would stop its registration study of a grass allergy treatment and preparatory work for a dose-ranging study of its ragweed allergy therapy.
LG seeking acquisitions
LG Electronics Inc, which has businesses ranging from TVs to washing machines, is looking at home appliance acquisitions to fuel its global expansion and withstand a slowing smartphone market. The company is likely to focus on business-to-business targets, such as component makers, LG Home Appliance Division president Jo Seong-jin said in an interview. Earnings from the business will increase in the quarters ahead, Jo said, as he expects the unit’s sales to rise about 10 percent this year. LG, like larger rival Samsung Electronics Co, is trying to innovate and push into premium segments to capture more affluent consumers amid increased competition from Chinese rivals, including Midea Group (美的) and Haier Electronics Group (海爾). The company might increase its investment in Vietnam and has not ruled out establishing factories elsewhere in North America, as well as Brazil and South Africa, Jo said.
Trade drops into deficit
Japan fell into a trade deficit last month, the first since January, the Ministry of Finance said yesterday, as renewed yen strength pressured exports. Exports fell for all major regions, including the nation’s biggest trading partner, China, as concerns linger over a slowdown in the largest Asian economy, as well as other emerging markets. A rising yen dents exports by making the country’s products more expensive in overseas markets and thus less competitive. The currency, often seen as a safe haven, has broadly gained in recent months, partially on fears over the state of the global economy and more recently on concerns over a possible British exit from the EU in a referendum on Thursday.
Suez raises tolls for VLCCs
Egypt’s Suez Canal Authority has set new toll rates for oil tankers as part of a six-month experiment that came into effect on Thursday last week, it said on its Web site. Very large crude carriers (VLCCs) transiting the canal from the Gulf of Aden after discharging at the Sumed pipeline are to be charged US$155,000 if they are carrying more than 250,000 in deadweight tonnage. VLCCs are to pay US$230,000 on their return ballast trip. The canal is one of Egypt’s main sources of foreign currency. Egypt has been struggling to revive its economy since a 2011 uprising scared away tourists and foreign investors.
Oil prices slow development
A US$200 billion infrastructure program could see higher costs and delays because of the slump in oil prices, the government said on Sunday. A study from the Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics said that “continued volatility” in the oil market was likely to have consequences for the vast construction projects underway. The ministry predicted that Doha would run budget deficits for at least three years as it adjusts its energy-reliant economy to the fall in oil prices.
DEVELOPING TALENT: The electronics contractor is looking to recruit people to work in core tech fields and emerging industries like electric cars and robotics Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密), the world’s largest contract electronics maker, has launched a recruitment drive, offering a monthly salary of no less than NT$45,000 (US$1,485) to university graduates. For those with a master’s degree, the starting pay would be NT$52,000 per month at the minimum, while doctorate degree holders would receive at least NT$60,000 a month, Hon Hai said a statement issued early this week. The latest recruitment drive is aimed at attracting talent in core technology fields — artificial intelligence, semiconductors and next-generation mobile communications — and emerging industries — electric vehicles, digital healthcare and robotics, the
MRT TRAVEL FALLS: In February, ridership on the Taipei MRT System fell 8.96 percent from an average of 2.01 million per day in January Scooter sales jumped 13 percent last month as more commuters turned to two-wheelers to avoid public transportation amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the latest statistics showed. Sales expanded to 74,493 units last month, compared with 65,913 units in February, statistics released on Wednesday by Kwang Yang Motor Co (光陽工業) and the Ministry of Transportation and Communications showed. In the first quarter, aggregate sales slid 0.51 percent year-over-year to 186,627 units, from 187,580 units, data showed. Kwang Yang, the nation’s biggest scooter manufacturer, continued to lead the market by selling 24,136 vehicles last month, growing 6.12 percent from 20,785 units in the previous month, while
Asustek Computer Inc (華碩), the nation’s leading PC vendor, yesterday launched its first dual-screen gaming laptop powered by Intel Corp’s latest central processing units (CPUs). The PC manufacturer’s announcement closely followed the US chipmaker’s unveiling of its 10th Generation Core H-series, the fastest commercial mobile processors with speeds of up to 5 gigahertz. Although Asustek’s Zephyrus Duo 15, the highlight of its Republic of Gamers line, is not the company’s first laptop with two screens, it is its first designed specifically for gaming. Nestled between the primary display panel and the keyboard, the secondary display, which Asustek calls the ScreenPad Plus, is angled
NO ILL EFFECT: Last month’s data mainly reflected deals made in February, when the spread of COVID-19 was still relatively mild in Taiwan, housing brokers said Housing transactions in the six special municipalities totaled 19,824 units last month, up 7.8 percent from a year earlier, brokers said, citing government data. Last month’s data mainly reflected deals made in February, when the pinch of the COVID-19 pandemic was not yet evident, they said. Taoyuan posted the largest improvement, with housing transactions soaring 36.6 percent year-on-year to 3,676 units, local government data showed. Taiwan Realty Co (台灣房屋) attributed the pickup to the completion of two presale residential projects in the municipality. Houses in Taoyuan have increasingly gained in popularity in the past few year years due to relatively affordable home prices and