Wed, Sep 13, 2017 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

EQUITIES

Asian markets follow US up

Tokyo yesterday led gains across most Asian markets, tracking a record on Wall Street as a North Korea crisis eased and dealers breathed a sigh of relief that Hurricane Irma caused less damage to Florida than feared. The UN Security Council on Monday voted unanimously to step up sanctions against North Korea, having won the crucial support of Russia and China, while the US held out hope for a peaceful resolution to the crisis. The move provided a much-needed boost after Pyongyang’s Sept. 3 nuclear test hammered markets last week and sent investors fleeing for the safe havens of gold and the yen.

INVESTMENT

Japan banks seek out returns

Japan’s regional banks are turning toward private equity, hedge funds and real estate in search of higher returns as regulatory concerns restrict ownership of foreign bonds. Alternative assets were the favored choice of investment for five lenders, a Bloomberg survey of 11 regional banks conducted last month showed. Foreign bonds were picked by three respondents, while none of the lenders said they found Japanese government debt attractive given depressed yields. Japanese banks are following the nation’s largest insurance companies in considering more alternative assets as choices narrow, with the Bank of Japan committed to holding down the benchmark bond yield at about zero percent.

SMARTPHONES

Samsung plans flexible Note

Samsung Electronics Co yesterday said it aims to launch a foldable smartphone next year under its Galaxy Note brand. Samsung Electronics president of mobile business Koh Dong-jin said the company intends to release a smartphone with a bendable display next year, but there are several hurdles it has to overcome. He did not elaborate. Analysts said mass producing a foldable smartphone with top tech features and a thin body will take time. When Samsung will release its first foldable smartphone has been a perennial question in the market since Samsung first showcased a flexible prototype called Youm in 2013.

FINANCE

Ezubao executives jailed

Two senior executives of a collapsed peer-to-peer lender were sentenced to life in prison and 24 others punished over what has been called China’s biggest-ever Ponzi scheme, state media reported yesterday. The company, Ezubao, reportedly swindled more than 900,000 investors out of US$7.6 billion, mainly between 2014 and 2015. The brazenly luxurious lifestyles of top Ezubao bosses drew wide attention to the long-running case — one of several recent high-profile trials to shine a light on pervasive fraud and corrupt practices in the Chinese financial industry.

PETROLEUM

Oil steady after hurricanes

Oil yesterday held gains near US$48 per barrel as Hurricane Irma weakened further after moving inland and as Gulf Coast refining continued to recover following two strikes from Hurricane Harvey. Futures were little changed in New York after rising 1.2 percent on Monday. Irma has weakened to a tropical depression as it moves north after dumping heavy rain across Florida and cutting power to millions of people. The hurricanes have rattled energy markets, with Irma shutting Florida gas stations and ports and Harvey earlier halting about one-quarter of the US’ refining capacity.

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