Top-end punters boost Macau
Gaming revenue in Macau rose for the first time in three years last year as high-end punters’ appetite for gambling recovered after a protracted government campaign against shows of wealth among public officials and slowing economic growth. Figures from Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination bureau yesterday showed revenues for last year rose 19 percent to 265.7 billion patacas (US$33.13 billion). Analysts had expected full-year growth of 18-20 percent to US$33 billion to US$34 billion. Macau is clambering back after revenue plunged to five-year lows in 2014, but revenue is still far off the highs hit ahead of 2014, hovering only around monthly tolls seen in 2011, data from Thomson Reuters Datastream showed. Monthly gambling revenue last month was up 15 percent to 22.7 billion patacas.
Cotton streak set to continue
The longest winning streak in two decades propelled cotton to last year’s biggest increase among crop commodities, and hedge funds are ready for more gains this year. Of the nine components tracked by the Bloomberg Agriculture Subindex, only cotton and wheat contracts posted gains last year. The fiber led the way with an 11 percent advance as demand grew for US exports. Prices capped last year with 10 straight weekly gains, the best streak since 1998. Cotton was also one of the few crops about which hedge funds became more positive during the course of the year. Money managers held a net-long position, or the difference between bets on a price increase and wagers on a decline, of 102,402 futures and options as of Dec. 26, up from 76,052 at the end of 2016, according to US Commodity Futures Trading Commission data released on Friday.
Bar offers bitcoin party
A Singapore bar that bills itself as the world’s highest cryptocurrency club offered a New Year’s Eve package that included a limousine pick-up and butler service — but it cost a whole bitcoin. Skyline, on the 45th floor of a skyscraper overlooking the waterfront, promised a luxury-filled night out, with Champagne and oysters and caviar, but it was not cheap, with the price of bitcoin hovering around US$13,000 on Sunday. The party at Skyline is called “Bianco,” with revelers dressed in white enjoying a night of drinking and dancing before watching the New Year’s fireworks display over the waterfront. While the club has run the night before, it was the first time it offered a bitcoin deal, and customers could also pay in regular cash.
Growth beats estimate
Singapore’s economy expanded 3.5 percent last year, more than double the initial government forecast as the country benefited from the global economic upswing, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (李顯龍) said in his New Year message on Sunday. Lee said the city-state would press on with economic restructuring and infrastructure projects such its fifth airport terminal as well as review healthcare policies to prepare for an aging population. “All these are essential investments in our future. They require time and resources, and will stretch way beyond this term of government. We have to plan well ahead for them,” Lee said in a statement released by his office. Singapore’s growth comes at the top end of the most recent trade ministry prediction of 3 to 3.5 percent and compares with the median 3.3 percent forecast in a Bloomberg survey. The government is to release preliminary GDP figures for the fourth quarter today.
Softbank Group Corp plans to keep a stake in the chip designer Arm Ltd, even if it sells a partial interest to Nvidia Corp, the Nikkei reported. The companies are negotiating terms, the newspaper reported, citing sources. Softbank might take a stake in Nvidia after it buys Arm, the report said. Nvidia and Arm might also merge through a share swap, and Softbank would become a major shareholder in the combined company, it said. The two parties aim to reach a deal in the next few weeks, the sources said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. Nvidia is the
END TO SPECULATION: The hotel’s management contract has been extended, despite reports that it wanted to end its alliance with Hyatt Hotels over a deal with Riant Capital Singapore-based Hong Leong Hotel Development Ltd (豐隆大飯店股份) yesterday said it has extended a management contract to ensure the continued presence of the Grand Hyatt brand in Taipei, ending rumors that the two sides were parting ways. “We are pleased Hyatt is able to come to terms on the extension of the management contract of Grand Hyatt Taipei,” said Kwek Leng Beng (郭令明), executive chairman of City Developments Ltd (城市發展) and Millennium & Copthorne Hotels Ltd (千禧國敦酒店). Hong Leong Hotel Development is a subsidiary of Millennium, and both fall under the Hong Leong Group (豐隆集團). The Grand Hyatt Taipei (台北君悅大飯店), owned and built by
MOVING FROM CHINA? The article did not name the company, but Foxconn, Wistron and Pegatron were among firms chosen for a production-linked incentive plan in India An Apple Inc vendor is looking at shifting six production lines to India from China, which could result in US$5 billion of iPhone exports from the South Asian nation, the Times of India reported, citing people familiar with the matter who it did not identify. The establishment of the facility would create about 55,000 jobs over about a year, the newspaper reported, not naming the Apple vendor. It would also cater to the domestic market and expand operations to include tablets and laptops, the newspaper reported. Samsung Electronics Co and Apple’s assembly partners are among 22 companies that have pledged 110 billion
’WHITE BOX’: The open platform would give local firms access to Cisco’s cloud-based mobile network to develop 5G telecom equipment and tap into the global market The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) yesterday introduced a new 5G “open lab” in collaboration with US-based information technology and networking giant Cisco Systems Inc to address the rapidly growing “white box” 5G networking equipment market. The open lab will be a platform where Taiwanese manufacturers can access Cisco’s cloud-based mobile network to develop their own 5G telecom equipment, such as small-cell base stations, network switches, modems and Internet of things (IoT) devices, a ministry statement said. The open platform would allow Taiwanese manufacturers to tap into the lucrative 5G telecom equipment market, which was previously monopolized by Nokia Oyj, Ericsson AB