US ‘willing to negotiate’
US President Donald Trump on Friday said he is willing to negotiate trade deals individually or as a group with the nations that remain in the Trans-Pacific Partnership that he pulled the US out of after taking office. Trump said in a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, that trade needs to be fair and reciprocal. The US is prepared to negotiate mutually beneficial bilateral trade agreements with all countries, including those in the partnership that involves 11 other Pacific Rim nations, he said.
Call cost falls 7.6 percent
Canadians just got the biggest break on the cost of making a call since before the dawn of the smartphone era: Prices for telephone services last month slumped 7.6 percent, the biggest monthly decrease since at least 1988, as the nation’s cellular providers offered deals to lure customers, the federal statistics agency reported on Friday. That contributed to a drop in headline inflation, which fell 0.4 percent on the month, the most in more than a year.
Pita subsidies lifted
Officials said a decision to end subsidies on staple pita bread that would lift its prices by between 60 and 100 percent was to take effect yesterday, the first such step in more than two decades to ease the nation’s budget woes. The price of 1kg of white pita bread was raised 60 percent to 0.40 dinars (US$0.56) from 0.25 dinars and prices of large pita bread were nearly doubled. Other types of bread that most middle-class Jordanians consume are not affected.
Industry profit growth stable
Profit growth at industrial firms moderated for a third month, after factory inflation decelerated to the weakest pace in more than a year. Industrial profits last month rose 10.8 percent from a year earlier, compared with 14.9 percent in November, the statistics bureau said on Friday. That is the slowest pace of increase in a year. The producer price index fell for a second month last month, the bureau said.
SoFi buys mortgage teams
Social Finance Inc (SoFi) has acquired the engineering and product teams of mortgage start-up Clara Lending, bolstering the financial technology company’s offerings beyond student-loan refinancing. SoFi on Friday said that taking on the Clara teams allows it to “immediately ramp up our technical capabilities.” The San Francisco-based SoFi said earlier this week that Twitter Inc chief operating officer Anthony Noto would become its chief executive in March, replacing Mike Cagney, who resigned in September last year.
Starbucks announces pay
Starbucks Corp paid CEO Kevin Johnson US$11.5 million for last year, according to a regulatory filing on Friday. Johnson, 57, took the helm of the coffee chain in April last year. Founder Howard Schultz, whose salary was cut to US$1 as part of his transition to chairman, received US$18 million in total compensation. The company this week said it plans to spend US$250 million on new employee benefits in the wake of the US tax overhaul. The company also announced raises for 150,000 hourly and salaried US employees.
From the customer’s perspective, car rental is a straightforward business. The only uncertainty is whether the hire company will charge you for the scratch they discover when you hand back the vehicle. Hertz Global Holdings Inc’s bankruptcy protection filing on Friday last week was a reminder that today even the simplest business models are underpinned by a lot more financial complexity than meets the eye. The proximate cause of Hertz’s demise was of course the sudden collapse in bookings caused by COVID-19 travel restrictions. The company’s monthly revenue last month fell 73 percent year-on-year, a shortfall that even the most resilient
Uber Technologies Inc, Lyft Inc and Airbnb Inc have slashed thousands of jobs. Salesforce.com Inc and Visa Inc are letting employees work remotely for months; Twitter Inc and Square Inc are allowing them to do so for good. For the companies’ hometown of San Francisco, the moves are early signs of a dire blow. In a city with a long history of booms, busts and natural calamities, the COVID-19 pandemic has suddenly upended nearly a decade of prosperity. While municipalities across the US are grappling with economic fallout from the virus, San Francisco stands to take a deeper hit given its high
BULK PURCHASE: The French chain and Hong Kong-based Dairy Farm International reached a deal covering 224 stores, which is expected to be finalized by year’s end Carrefour SA yesterday announced it would acquire Wellcome Taiwan Co (惠康百貨) for 97 million euros (US$108.33 million), and bring all the Wellcome supermarkets (頂好超市) and Jasons Market Place stores nationwide under its banner within 12 months of the deal closing. The France-based hypermarket chain reached an agreement with Hong Kong-based Dairy Farm International Holdings (牛奶國際控股), the pan-Asian retailer that launched Wellcome Taiwan in 1987. The transaction involves 199 Wellcome supermarkets, which have average sales areas of 420m2 and 25 high-end Jasons Market Place stores, which have an average sales area of 820m2, as well as a warehouse in Taoyuan, Carrefour Taiwan (家樂福)
‘ONE-STOP SHOP’: A Miaoli official said that the factory in the Jhunan section of the Hsinchu Science Park would create more than 1,000 jobs and boost prosperity A new high-end IC packaging and testing plant planned by contract chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) in Miaoli County is expected to start operations in the middle of next year, Miaoli County Commissioner Hsu Yao-chang (徐耀昌) said. Hsu wrote on Facebook that TSMC, the world’s largest pure wafer foundry operator, would invest NT$303.2 billion (US$10.1 billion) to build the plant, the largest-ever single investment in Taiwan. However, TSMC declined to disclose the financial terms of the deal, while a company board meeting on May 12 approved a spending plan worth NT$168.2 billion as part of its investment plans. Construction of the