Growth falls short of forecast
Economic growth accelerated less than forecast at the start of the year as household spending barely rose, though sectors long-blighted by the strong franc bounced back. A 3.9 percent jump in exports in the three months through March helped push economic growth to 0.3 percent. While that fell short of the 0.5 percent forecast in a Bloomberg survey, it is still the strongest performance in three quarters. Consumer spending rose just 0.1 percent, a sharp slowdown from the 0.9 percent rate seen at the end of last year. The Swiss National Bank forecasts an inflation rate of 0.3 percent for this year, ending a multiyear spate of falling consumer prices.
Jobless rate retreats
The nation’s sickly economy got an unexpected glimmer of good news on Wednesday with unemployment figures showing a slight dip to 13.6 percent. It was the first fall in unemployment figures since 2014 and came amid expectations that Latin America’s biggest economy is finally emerging from its worst recession in history. The IBGE state statistics office said that 14 million people were out of work in the February-to-April period, or 13.6 percent of the workforce.
Optimistic outlook wanes
Most regions of the nation continue to see modest to moderate growth, but optimism about the economic outlook has waned, partly due to concerns over government policies, the Federal Reserve said on Wednesday. Labor shortages, especially for skilled workers, are forcing companies to offer more generous and flexible conditions, but so far that has not translated into worrisome wage pressures, the Fed said in its periodic survey of the economy. The so-called Beige Book prepared ahead of the June 14 and 15 monetary policy meeting did not seem to offer any reports from the frontlines of the economy to alter the widespread expectation that the Fed will raise the benchmark lending rate for the second time this year.
Barclays to sell 22% stake
Barclays PLC said it will sell a further 22 percent stake in its South African unit, a holding worth about US$2 billion at current prices, as part of the UK bank’s plan to shrink its operations and bolster capital strength. The London-based lender is offering about 187 million shares of Barclays Africa Group Ltd in an accelerated bookbuild after it received approval from South African authorities, it said on Wednesday. Barclays, which holds 50.1 percent of Barclays Africa, said it has a long-term target of reducing its shareholding in the unit to 15 percent.
Michael Kors to close stores
Michael Kors Holdings PLC plans to close up to 125 stores over the next two years with continued weak sales at its luxury stores. The London company also issued a weak outlook and comparable-store sales were disappointing, sending shares down more than 8 percent on Wednesday. The retailer lost US$26.8 million, or US$0.17 per share, after reporting a profit in the same period a year earlier. Earnings, adjusted for asset impairment costs, were US$0.73 per share. The results topped Wall Street expectations by US$0.03, according to a survey by Zacks Investment Research. Revenue fell 11.2 percent to US$1.06 billion, but that, too, edged out expectations.
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
A Bollywood actor’s face tattooed on his arm, Sandeep Bacche’s devotion shocks few in India where stars enjoy semi-divine status, but even there the hallowed silver screen might be losing its shine to streaming services and pandemic fears. “Whenever things get better and theaters begin operations, I will watch three movies a day for sure just as a way to celebrate,” said the Mumbai rickshaw driver, who is recovering from the virus himself. However, others might not join the party. With cinemas shut for months due to a COVID-19 lockdown, and little prospect they will reopen soon, frustrated Bollywood producers have turned to
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電), the world’s largest contract chipmaker, is to issue NT$13.9 billion (US$469.5 million) in unsecured bonds to help fund its plan to expand production capacity, it said on Friday. In a Taiwan Stock Exchange filing, TSMC said the bonds would comprise three tranches: NT$5.7 billion payable over five years, NT$6.3 billion over seven years and NT$1.9 billion over 10 years. The interest rates would be 0.58 percent on the five-year bonds, 0.65 percent on the seven-year ones and 0.67 percent on the 10-year tranche, TSMC said. Capital Securities Corp (群益金鼎證券) is to serve as the main underwriter in