Sun, Nov 05, 2017 - Page 14 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

TRADE

US trade gap broadens

The US trade gap broadened in September as US companies increased their imports of semiconductors, aircraft and petroleum products, the US Department of Commerce reported on Friday. The September trade gap rose 1.7 percent to US$43.5 billion, in line with analyst expectations. So far this year, the US trade deficit is up 9.3 percent over the same period last year. The US deficit with China was under US$30 billion, while the deficit with Germany expanded US$1.1 billion to US$5.9 billion for the latest month.

E-COMMERCE

Alibaba starts Malaysian hub

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (阿里巴巴) on Friday launched an electronic trading hub in Malaysia aimed at helping small and medium-sized businesses, a first for the Chinese Internet giant outside its home country. The hub, part of a “digital free trade zone” near Kuala Lumpur International Airport, went live during a ceremony attended by Alibaba founder Jack Ma (馬雲) and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.

TRADE

Vietnam seeks to amend TPP

Vietnam is hoping that leaders of the remaining 11 member countries of a Pacific Rim trade pact, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), might be able to discuss during next week’s regional summit a revised deal following the US’ withdrawal. Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son on Friday said that he hoped talks held in Japan last week would narrow differences enough to allow trade ministers and leaders to endorse an amended TPP agreement during the Asia Economic Cooperation forum.

INVESTMENT

Berkshire profit falls 43%

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc on Friday said its third-quarter profit fell 43 percent because of a US$1.4 billion insurance underwriting loss from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria and earthquakes in Mexico. The Omaha, Nebraska-based conglomerate owns Geico and several other insurers, including General Reinsurance. Berkshire said it earned US$4.07 billion, or about US$1.65 per Class B share.

BANKING

Societe Generale profit slips

French bank Societe Generale SA on Friday said that ultra-low interest rates and falling market activity hit its earnings in the third quarter. France’s third-largest bank said in a statement that net profit declined by 15.2 percent to 932 million euros (US$1.1 billion) in the period from July to September, far short of analysts’ expectations. Nevertheless, Societe Generale insisted that it was in fundamentally good shape.

COFFEE

Nestle acquires Chameleon

Nestle SA is still thirsty for craft coffee. The Swiss food and beverage giant agreed to purchase Chameleon Cold-Brew, bolstering its portfolio of premium java in the US. Austin, Texas-based Chameleon leads the nation’s organic cold-brew coffee market, a segment that has grown significantly as more consumers choose to take their caffeine fix cold. The deal marks Nestle’s second investment in premium US coffee in three months — it agreed to pay US$425 million for a 68 percent stake in Oakland, California-based Blue Bottle Coffee in September.

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