Sumitomo picks Frankfurt
Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc has decided to set up banking and securities units in Frankfurt to maintain business in the EU following the UK’s eventual departure from the bloc. Japan’s second-biggest lender by market value is establishing the units to offer services “with no disruption” once Britain leaves the union, it said in a statement yesterday. Sumitomo Mitsui’s banking unit will also take steps to set up a branch in London. The plans are subject to regulatory approval. “While the UK is expected to continue playing a significant role in the global financial sector following its withdrawal from the EU, there is still uncertainty with regard to the expected results of negotiations between the UK and the EU,” Sumitomo Mitsui said. The Tokyo-based lender follows Japan’s Nomura Holdings Inc and Daiwa Securities Group Inc in choosing Frankfurt as their post-Brexit EU base, and global firms such as Morgan Stanley are also gravitating toward the city.
China’s orders increase
China’s manufacturing activity rebounded last month as new orders and production gathered pace, independent figures showed yesterday, but an analyst warned the pickup was likely to be temporary. The indicator tallies with the government’s purchasing managers’ index (PMI) that also showed an improvement in factory conditions in June compared with the previous month. The private Caixin survey of purchasing managers at hundreds of manufacturing companies showed a reading of 50.4 last month, compared with 49.6 in May. May’s data showed the first contraction in almost a year. New orders expanded at the fastest pace in three months, boosting production and helping lift the PMI, Caixin said in a joint statement with data compiler IHS Markit.
BOE staff vote to strike
Bank of England (BOE) facilities staff voted to go on strike for four days in a dispute over pay in the first action of its kind at the central bank in 50 years, according to a labor union. Ninety five percent of Unite’s members in the BOE’s maintenance, security and the governors’ private offices — known as the parlours — backed industrial action between July 31 and Aug. 3, it said in an e-mailed statement. If management fails to resolve the disagreement, Britain’s biggest labor union said it will consult members in other departments at the central bank in an escalation of the plan. Bank Governor Mark Carney brought in consultants McKinsey shortly after he joined the institution to help with a revamp, which included a review of pay structures. The latest dispute has been caused by the bank granting weaker-than-inflation salary increases for the past two years, with the overall annual wage bill projected to rise by only 1 percent from March this year, according to Unite. Consumer prices rose 2.9 percent in May from a year earlier.
Mininum wage boosted
President Nicolas Maduro on Sunday raised his nation’s minimum wage by half to just over US$12.50 per month at the black market exchange rate. However, given the currency’s fall, the new minimum monthly wage of 97,532 bolivars is effectively down 17 percent in US dollar terms since the last increase in May. The bolivars has fallen 99.7 percent since Maduro was elected president in April. The monthly salary is accompanied by a food ticket, the value of which also went up to 153,000 bolivars per month, bringing the total to just over US$30 a month at the black market rate.
Manufacturers are on a mission to produce desperately needed medical ventilators for the COVID-19 pandemic, even if it means converting assembly lines now making auto parts. Along with a shortage of masks and gloves, the spread of COVID-19 to almost every corner of the globe has highlighted a great need for specialized machines that help keep severely afflicted patients alive. “As the global pandemic evolves, there is unprecedented demand for medical equipment, including ventilators,” GE Healthcare chief executive officer Kieran Murphy said. The group has hired more workers and is making ventilators around the clock. Swedish group Getinge AB is also ramping up output
Facing the rapidly evolving global COVID-19 pandemic, Citibank Taiwan Ltd (台灣花旗) has proactively taken precautionary measures. “The health and safety of our colleagues and their families, as well as our clients and the communities we serve, are of the utmost importance. We continue to take proactive measures to preserve their well-being while we maintain our ability to serve our clients,” Citibank Taiwan chairman Paulus Mok (莫兆鴻) said in a statement yesterday. “We have local and regional contingency plans in place, and we have well-established business continuity plans for the firm. We are monitoring the situation closely, adjusting our operations accordingly,
UPGRADE AND TRANSFORM: Although the cross-strait trade deal might remain, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said businesses should prepare for any disruptions Taiwan might face a decline in foreign trade with China if the cross-strait Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) ends this year, Minister of Economic Affairs Shen Jong-chin (沈榮津) said yesterday. The agreement, which was signed and put into effect in 2010 to reduce trade barriers across the Taiwan Strait, is expected to end this year, despite not having an exact termination date. “We have not received notification [from China] that it wishes to terminate ECFA,” Shen told reporters prior to attending a meeting at the Legislative Yuan. “Even if we are notified, the agreement would only cease after six months.” While acknowledging the
GoShare, an electric scooter sharing service provider with Gogoro Inc (睿能創意), plans to expand to Tainan next quarter in a strategic alliance with Aeon Motor Co (宏佳騰). The company currently offers its services in Taipei and Taoyuan. “Tainan is very popular among tourists. The city receives an average of 22.94 million tourists every year,” GoShare head Henry Chiang (姜家煒) told a news conference yesterday in Taipei, citing Tourism Bureau statistics. “Besides, the city has a long history of riding scooters,” he said. Each household owns an average of 2.5 scooters, he added. “Expanding presence” is one of four strategies GoShare is adopting for this