Ford to cut jobs: report
US automaker Ford Motor Co is poised to cut thousands of jobs worldwide, with reductions expected to total about 10 percent of its global workforce, the Wall Street Journal reported late on Monday. A source confirmed to reporters that massive job cuts are planned at Ford in the coming days, affecting as many as 20,000 salaried workers. The US’ second-largest automaker, Ford employs about 202,000 workers worldwide. The announcement came as the company grapples with slowing sales after several years of growth. The automaker sold 214,695 vehicles last month, 7.2 percent fewer than during the same period last year. Ford spokesman Mike Moran said the company’s immediate goals “include fortifying the profit pillars in our core business, transforming traditionally underperforming areas of our core business and investing aggressively, but prudently, in emerging opportunities.”
The economy picks up
The nation’s embattled economy picked up in the first quarter and there was a slight fall in unemployment, according to data published on Monday by the National Statistics Institute. Economic growth in the first quarter was 2.1 percent, slightly more than the 1 percent mark registered last year, as GDP grew by 0.9 percent, the report said. An uptick in tourism revenues, agriculture and mining activity, namely phosphates, were among the sectors that contributed to growth. At the same time unemployment dropped slightly to 15.3 percent, compared with 15.5 percent in the previous quarter. While Tunisia is hailed as a success story of the Arab Spring uprisings, authorities have failed to redress the economy since the 2011 revolution.
Australia, HK eye FTA
Australia and Hong Kong began talks to secure a free-trade agreement (FTA), Australian Minister for Trade and Investment Steven Ciobo said yesterday, adding that he would focus on securing increased access for service providers and it could be firmed up within one year. Ciobo, who met Hong Kong Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Gregory So (蘇錦樑) in Hong Kong, said that as tariffs on Australian goods are already at zero, talks would focus on improving access for financial, education, travel, construction, mining, energy and transport companies. Ciobo told Sky News that Canberra would “look and try to negotiate as comprehensive an FTA as possible over the next 12 months or thereabouts.” Hong Kong was Australia’s eighth-largest export market and 12th-largest trading partner overall from 2015 to last year, Australian government data showed.
US Treasury holdings surge
The nation in March increased its holdings of US Treasuries by the most in two years, a sign that the world’s second-biggest economy is stabilizing and stricter capital controls have helped to stem capital flight. The nation raised its ownership of US government bonds, notes and bills by US$27.9 billion to US$1.09 trillion, the biggest increase since March 2015, according to a monthly US Department of the Treasury report released on Monday. That means China remains the second-largest foreign holder of US debt. Adding the US$3.7 billion surge in Belgium’s ownership, which is often seen as a home to China’s custodial accounts, the total increase was the biggest since 2014.
ELECTRIC FARMLAND: TSMC’s proposal to clear 230 hectares of reforested land for what would become Taiwan’s largest photovoltaic solar farm has generated concerns New rules curbing solar farms built on agricultural land sparked fierce debate at a packed public hearing at the Legislative Yuan yesterday, with industry representatives saying that the new restrictions would endanger President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) green energy goals, while agricultural officials emphasized the importance of protecting farmers and the environment. The Tsai administration has set a target to generate 20 percent of the nation’s power from renewable sources by 2025, by which time it also aims to install 20 gigawatts (GW) of solar power, including 6GW from rooftop solar systems and 14GW from ground-mounted solar farms. Although rooftop solar systems are
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) yesterday posted monthly revenue that suggested second-quarter sales surpassed analysts’ estimates, underscoring how its technological lead is helping the chipmaker weather the COVID-19 pandemic and US sanctions on its second-biggest customer Huawei Technologies Co (華為). Apple Inc’s main iPhone chipmaker posted sales of NT$120.88 billion (US$4.08 billion) for last month, up 40.8 percent year-on-year and bringing its revenue for the second quarter to NT$310.7 billion, beating the NT$308.8 billion analysts expected on average. TSMC, a barometer for the industry thanks to its heft in the global supply chain, had previously lowered its revenue outlook for this
Record heat is bringing record electricity use this month, after peak electricity consumption yesterday broke all historical records, Taiwan Power Co (Taipower, 台電) said. As the mercury spiked close to 39°C, Taiwan’s electricity consumption reached as high as 37.79 gigawatts (GW) at 1:59pm yesterday, higher than the previous record of 37.53GW, seen just a day prior, the state-run utility said. The top 10 peak consumption records have all occurred in the past three years, Taipower said. As the high temperatures are likely to continue this summer, more records might be set, it said. However, Taipower assured people that there is so far no
BIODEGRADABLE POLYMER: The bank said that its iPass credit card, the first such card issued by a foreign bank, gives it access to stores that do not accept its credit cards DBS Bank Taiwan (星展台灣) yesterday launched its first co-branded credit card with iPass Corp (一卡通票證), and said it expects its credit card business to fully recover in the second half of this year. The new “DBS eco card” is made of polylactic acid — a bio-based biodegradable polymer that can be produced from renewable resources — and is the bank’s first credit card to have the iPass electronic payment function, it said. The partnership would give the bank new business momentum, DBS Bank Taiwan general manager Lim Him-chuan (林鑫川) told a news conference in Taipei. That is because some stores and supermarkets in