Wed, Jan 03, 2018 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take



Hyundai expects slowdown

South Korea’s biggest automaking group, which last year faced a consumer backlash in China over tensions between the two countries, forecast a slowdown in sales this year, as political risks dent demand for its vehicles in the world’s major markets. Hyundai Motor Co and affiliate Kia Motors Corp yesterday said their combined sales last year dropped 7 percent to 7.25 million units, the least in five years and 1 million short of its record target. Citing stalling global economic growth, rising protectionism and dangers posed by geopolitics as threats, the companies set a goal to sell 7.55 million vehicles this year. With Ford Motor Co on its heels, Hyundai Motor group is fighting to maintain its rank as the world’s fifth-biggest automaker after underperforming rivals in the US.


BP to take tax hit from US

British energy major BP PLC yesterday said that it expected to take a US$1.5 billion hit from US President Donald Trump’s tax reforms. “The lowering of the US corporate income tax rate to 21 percent requires revaluation of BP’s US deferred tax assets and liabilities,” the company said in a statement. “The current estimated impact of this will be a one-off non-cash charge to the group income statement of around [US] $1.5 billion that will impact BP’s fourth quarter 2017 results.” However, the energy giant cautioned that longer-term earnings would be “positively impacted” by the US changes. The reform taxes these earnings at 15.5 percent on cash and equivalents and 8 percent on real estate and other illiquid assets.


WeChat denies storing chats

Tencent Holdings’ (騰訊) WeChat, China’s most popular messenger app, yesterday denied storing users’ chat histories, after a top businessman was quoted in media reports as saying he believed Tencent was monitoring everyone’s account. “WeChat does not store any users’ chat history. That is only stored in users’ mobiles, computers and other terminals,” WeChat said in a post on the social media platform. “WeChat will not use any content from user chats for big data analysis. Because of WeChat’s technical model that does not store or analyze user chats, the rumor that ‘we are watching your WeChat everyday’ is pure misunderstanding.” Li Shufu (李書福), chairman of Geely Holdings (吉利控股), owner of the Volvo car brand, was quoted in Chinese media on Monday as saying Tencent chairman Ma Huateng (馬化騰) “must be watching all our WeChats every day.”


Economy solid at end of year

The economy finished last year on a solid footing, allowing more room for policymakers as they consider raising taxes and tightening monetary policy this year. Growth was faster than economists predicted last quarter, resulting in the strongest full-year expansion in three years, preliminary figures released yesterday showed. The data also confirmed the recovery is broadening out, with services industries, such as finance and transport, among the main drivers of growth in the fourth quarter. GDP rose at a seasonally adjusted and annualized rate of 2.8 percent in the fourth quarter from the previous three months; median estimate of eight economists in a Bloomberg survey was for a 1.6 percent gain. GDP climbed 3.1 percent from a year earlier. Singapore, among Asia’s most export-reliant economies, has benefited from a global trade recovery that has boosted demand for its electronics goods.

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