European sales weaken
European car sales turned in their weakest performance in the first quarter since an industrywide contraction five years ago. First-quarter registrations edged up 0.6 percent, according to figures released yesterday by the Brussels-based European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association. The gain was the slowest since the second quarter of 2013, when the region was in the throes of a recession. A 5.2 percent downturn last month, led by drops in three of the five biggest markets — Germany, the UK and Italy — suggests that “momentum is starting to slow,” the association said.
US hits Chinese imports
The US Department of Commerce on Tuesday said it had made a preliminary determination that common alloy aluminum sheet imports from China are being subsidized, and set countervailing duties of up to 113 percent. Imports of common alloy aluminum sheet from China were valued at an estimated US$600 million in 2016, the department said in a statement. A final determination in the countervailing duty investigation is scheduled to be announced on Aug. 30, it said. The department also announced that it was starting new investigations to determine if certain steel wheels from China are being dumped. It said that the alleged dumping margins ranged from 12.1 percent to 231.7 percent.
Japan’s US surplus dips
Japan’s politically sensitive trade surplus with the US edged down last month, government data showed yesterday. Japan logged a surplus of ￥623.1 billion (US$5.9 billion) with the US, down 0.2 percent, as imports of US-made cars and aircraft climbed, according to Japanese Ministry of Finance data. Japan’s overall trade surplus was ￥797.3 billion last month, up 32.1 percent year-on-year — the second straight monthly surplus after logging a deficit in January. Exports edged up 2.1 percent due to growth in demand for cars and chip-making equipment, while imports slid 0.6 percent year-on-year.
World Bank raises US$1.5bn
The World Bank fund dedicated to helping the world’s poorest countries on Tuesday announced it has raised US$1.5 billion in its first-ever global bond issue, which enjoyed huge demand from investors. The International Development Association (IDA) issued a five-year “AAA”-rated bond which had nearly five times more demand than the amount initially offered for sale, the World Bank said in a statement. More than 40 percent of the bonds went to central banks, while a quarter went to banks and another quarter to pension funds. The funds will be used to finance sustainable development projects.
Deutsche ends India talks
Deutsche Bank AG called off talks to sell its retail and private wealth businesses in India to IndusInd Bank Ltd, people with knowledge of the matter said. The sale was a project initiated under former chief executive officer John Cryan and Deutsche Bank is reconsidering the deal following his departure earlier this month, the people said. The two businesses have about 300 billion rupees (US$4.6 billion) in assets, according to one of the people. New Deutsche Bank CEO Christian Sewing and retail head Frank Strauss decided the bank did not get a price that justified selling the profitable unit, the people said.
Polytronics Technology Corp (聚鼎科技) yesterday announced that it is buying Henkel AG’s thermal clad dielectric material (TCLAD) business division for US$26 million as the Taiwanese firm aims to improve its technology, product portfolio and revenue performance. Polytronics, headquartered in the Hsinchu Science Park (新竹科學園區), is a supplier of protection components and heat dissipation materials. The firm entered the metallic heat-dissipation substrate market in 2007 and developed a unique solventless production process. Its board of directors approved signing an agreement with Henkel to acquire the German chemical firm’s TCLAD division in the US. The purchase includes all assets and business interests, including equipment,
SIZE MATTERS: Medium-sized hotels that do not have the support of parent groups are more vulnerable and are forced to take action, a REPro Knight Frank researcher said About 50 hotels across Taiwan are seeking to exit the market as they succumb to the bleak business outlook amid international travel restrictions imposed to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Yomi Hotel (優美飯店) on Minsheng E Road, Sec 1, in Taipei is seeking to transfer ownership with an asking price of NT$950 million (US$32.15 million) and a pledge for a lease contract that guarantees a 3 percent return. The budget hotel, with room rates that start from NT$1,400 per night, maintains normal operations, but has been struggling since March, when the government placed restrictions on inbound and outbound travel. Occupancy rates for hotels in
‘SENSITIVE MARKETS’: The previously unannounced project would involve the company handing over control of data to a third party to sidestep privacy concerns Google has abandoned plans to offer a major new cloud service in China and other politically sensitive countries due in part to concerns over geopolitical tensions and the COVID-19 pandemic, two employees familiar with the matter said, revealing the challenges for US tech giants to secure business in those markets. In May, the search giant shut down the initiative, known as “Isolated Region” and which sought to address nations’ desires to control data within their borders, the employees said. The action was considered a “massive strategy shift,” said one of the employees, who added that Isolated Region had involved hundreds of employees
GOGOROS TO GO: The scooter maker’s CEO said that the electric vehicles ‘are the perfect complement to a program designed to stimulate the Taiwanese economy’ Minister of Economic Affairs Wang Mei-hua (王美花) yesterday announced a draw to encourage people to claim their Triple Stimulus Vouchers digitally. The prizes include movie tickets and 25 electric scooters donated by Gogoro Inc (睿能創意), Wang said. The Ministry of Economic Affairs said that it would hold a scooter draw every day for the next 10 days, beginning yesterday, after which there would be a draw every week for 15 weeks. The first winner was a Taiwan Cooperative Bank (合庫銀行) credit card user, the ministry said. The benefits of claiming the vouchers digitally extend beyond the draws, with many businesses offering special deals for