Tue, Sep 13, 2016 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

BEVERAGES

Starbucks eyes tea drinkers

Starbucks Corp plans to increase its global tea business to US$3 billion over the next five years as it starts selling its new line of drinks, Teavana, across the Asia-Pacific region following the products’ debut in China last week. China is Starbucks’ fastest-growing market and the Seattle-based coffee chain is opening 500 stores per year in the world’s most populous nation, aiming for a total of 3,400 stores by 2019. The company is looking to China for growth momentum, honing in on China’s 63.2 billion yuan (US$9.5 billion) tea fixation, which is almost 10 times bigger than the nation’s coffee market. Starbucks’ new tea products might also align with Chinese consumers’ growing demand for products aimed at promoting a healthy lifestyle, it said.

BANKING

Oil-industry losses rise

Norway’s financial regulator said that banks exposed to oil-industry losses face a rise in impairments that would erode profits as the full effect of the slump in crude oil prices runs its course. However, banks will not see “a dramatic impairment of their solvency,” Norwegian Financial Supervisory Authority Director-General Morten Baltzersen said in Oslo. Norwegian banks have doubled their loan losses over the past year, writing down 0.34 percent of gross loans at the end of June. At DNB ASA, Norway’s biggest bank, SpareBank 1 SR-Bank ASA and SpareBank 1 SMN aggregate loan losses rose almost three-fold over the same period, according to Moody’s. Baltzersen said the watchdog has “emphasized” to the banks it oversees the necessity of building adequate capital buffers to absorb losses on risky exposures.

BANKING

Barroso to be investigated

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has opened a probe into whether his predecessor, Jose Manuel Barroso, breached EU ethics guidelines by joining US investment bank Goldman Sachs, where he is to advise on Britain leaving the EU. In a letter to the EU’s official watchdog, Juncker also said that Barroso would now be received at the commission as a lobbyist rather than as a former president. Juncker said his team would send Barroso “a letter asking him to provide clarification on his new responsibilities and the terms of reference of his contract, on which I will seek the advice of the Ad Hoc Ethical Committee.” Barroso’s appointment to the role as non-executive chairman and adviser at the US investment bank has caused a furore in the EU, with French President Francois Hollande deeming it “morally unacceptable.”

ENERGY

US solar installations soar

US solar installations surged 43 percent in the second quarter largely because of a wave of utility-scale projects going into service to take advantage of a tax credit that was due to expire. Developers added 2,051 megawatts in the quarter, up from 1,436 megawatts a year earlier, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). With an additional 7.8 gigawatts under construction, more solar capacity is on pace to be connected in the second half of this year than has ever come online in a single year, the Washington-based industry group said yesterday in a report produced with GTM Research. The biggest reason for the strong second-quarter growth was that utility-scale developers had scheduled record numbers of projects this year in anticipation of the federal investment tax credit expiring in December, SEIA vice president of markets and research Justin Baca said.

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