Surplus to hit record: Ifo
The nation’s current account surplus is expected to have hit a new record of US$297 billion last year, overtaking that of China again to become the world’s largest, the Munich-based Ifo Institute for Economic Research said on Monday. That would be equivalent to 8.6 percent of total output, which means it would once again breach the European Commission’s recommended upper threshold of 6 percent. In 2015, the current account surplus stood at US$271 billion. The institute estimated China’s current account surplus last year totaled US$245 billion due to weaker exports. By contrast, the US is predicted to have the world’s largest capital imports, with a deficit of US$478 billion last year, the institute said. Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel on Thursday last week said that the country’s current account surplus is likely to shrink this year, because a slowdown in global trade is dampening export growth while strong domestic demand is pushing up imports.
Sony to take write-down
Sony Corp on Monday said that it would take a ￥112 billion (US$983.3 million) write-down in its movie business after reviewing the future profitability of operations. The company said it would book the charge in the fiscal third quarter and is examining how the charge will affect its forecasts. Sony said it would sell shares in the medical Web service M3 Inc to Goldman Sachs Group Inc’s Japan unit to offset part of the loss. The announcement came two weeks after the firm said that Sony Entertainment Inc CEO Michael Lynton would step down after a 13-year run. Sony warned in June last year that the division was at a risk of posting more losses. “The decline in the DVD and Blu-ray market was faster than we anticipated,” Sony spokesman Takashi Iida said by telephone.
Economy continues to grow
The economy last year grew 3.2 percent, according to preliminary figures released by the National Institute of Statistics on Monday, consolidating three consecutive years of strong growth and in line with the government’s expectations. Final figures are expected to be published early next month. The conservative government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has put economic growth and boosting jobs at the center of its policies. It has pledged to recover the losses of the brutal financial meltdown and return this year to pre-crisis GDP levels. The institute said that GDP grew by 0.7 percent in the fourth quarter of last year, the same as in the period from July to September, but slightly down from the first half of the year, when the economy grew 0.8 percent each quarter.
Misys ready to go public
Misys Group Ltd is keen for the company to return to the public market, after the London-based provider of banking software was taken private in 2012 by Vista Equity Partners in a US$1.3 billion deal, CEO Nadeem Syed said in an interview on Monday. Syed declined to comment on potential timing. He said the company is targeting a host of new products, such as machine learning and peer-to-peer lending, a step away from the somewhat dry world of banking software for treasury and capital markets transactions. Misys is also branching out into machine learning, with a new offering, targeted for release in the next few months, aiming to help detect anomalies in trading patterns that will trigger alerts, he said.
THSRC hits rider record
Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp (THSRC) yesterday reported that it carried 252,250 passengers on Monday, the third day of the Lunar New Year, its highest-ever number of riders in a single day. The number broke the record of 250,423 passengers on June 12 last year, the last day of the four-day Dragon Boat Festival holiday, according to the company. THSRC said it carried 1.27 million passengers from Wednesday last week through Monday.
Aramex mulls UK downsize
Aramex PJSC, the Dubai, United Arab Emirates-based courier and logistics company, is considering minimizing its operations in the UK and serving Europe through the Netherlands or France if Brexit agreements do not favor free-trade flows, Aramex CEO Hussein Hachem said. “It depends on what kind of agreement the UK government would be able to reach with the EU,” Hachem said on Monday in an interview in Dubai. Aramex has about 200 employees in the UK. The company expects to make “a series of acquisitions” in e-commerce in Latin America next year in response to customer demand, Hachem said.
Shell to sell Thai gas field
Royal Dutch Shell PLC is to sell its stake in an offshore Thai gas field to a unit of Kuwait Petroleum Corp for US$900 million as the international energy giant continues hawking assets for cash in the midst of a years-long energy slump. Shell reached an agreement to sell two subsidiaries that own a combined 22.2 percent interest in the Bongkot field and adjoining offshore acreage to a subsidiary of Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Exploration Co, the unit known as Kufpec, Shell said in a statement yesterday. To win shareholder support for that deal, Shell has promised cost savings of US$2.5 billion, asset disposals of at least US$30 billion within four years and a share buyback of US$25 billion from this year through 2020. The field’s other owners are Total SA, with a 33.3 percent stake, and PTT Exploration & Production PCL, which has 44.4 percent share and operates the field.
India to grow 6.75% to 7.5%
India’s economy is expected to grow by between 6.75 and 7.5 percent in the coming fiscal year, the Indian Ministry of Finance said yesterday in its pre-budget Economic Survey. Asia’s third-largest economy should steady after a hit from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s November last year decision to scrap most cash in circulation in a strike against “black money.” “Economic growth is expected to return to normal as new currency notes in required quantities come back into circulation,” the ministry of finance said.
Lukoil eyes Iran oil fields
Lukoil PJSC is seeking opportunities for growth in the Middle East as Iran opens more of its oil fields to international partners, the Russian energy company’s regional head said. The Moscow-based company plans to add output from the region to existing operations in Iraq and Egypt, as long as it finds projects with production costs as low as those in Russia, Lukoil head of upstream for the Middle East Gati al-Jebouri told reporters in Dubai on Monday. Lukoil is in talks with state-run National Iranian Oil Co about the Ab Teymour and Mansouri oil fields in western Iran, al-Jebouri said.
Just a few years ago, the millennial generation — generally defined as those born from the early 1980s through the mid-1990s — was synonymous with youthful rebellion. However, now, as the millennials ease into early middle age, they are finding their path out of their parents’ basement to be a lot harder than it was for earlier generations. The fundamental problem is that millennials are not building wealth. The wealth of the median US household headed by someone 35 or younger has actually shrunk in inflation-adjusted terms since the mid-2000s, even as the wealth of older Americans has continued to grow. An
Apple Inc’s decision to stop using Intel Corp processors in its Mac computers and switching to its own chips might benefit Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) and boost Taiwan’s high-tech exports, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) said in a note on Tuesday. The US tech giant announced the “Apple silicon” initiative at its annual Worldwide Developers’ Conference, which started on Monday. The company said the first Mac powered by its own chips would debut by the end of this year and all product lines might shift to the new architecture in the next two years. TSMC is likely to
Gogoro Inc (睿能創意) yesterday launched its first electric bicycle, the Gogoro Eeyo 1, in Taiwan, after unveiling the bike in New York in late May and in France on Tuesday. The company said it would also introduce the series in other European countries such as Germany and the Netherlands. The “Eeyo project” is the fourth of Gogoro’s eight projects that concentrate on smart transportation, which includes Gogoro’s electric scooter, battery swap system and electric scooter sharing service, company founder and chief executive officer Horace Luke (陸學森) told a media briefing in Taipei. “There are various types of city commuters. We will not
EXPERIMENTAL DRUG: While news about a COVID-19 vaccine is more eye-catching, developing a treatment would be more viable, the Senhwa boss said Senhwa Biosciences Inc (生華科) aims to raise NT$1.5 billion (US$50.57 million) by issuing 15 million new common shares in the third quarter of this year to fund the research of new drugs, including the experimental drug Silmitasertib for the treatment of COVID-19, the company said on Monday. That would be the firm’s largest fundraising effort after it raised more than NT$1.4 billion from an initial public offering on the Taipei Exchange (TPEX) in April 2017, chief financial officer Sarah Chang (張小萍) told the Taipei Times by telephone. The price of the new shares would depend on the firm’s average share price