Bonds fall under pressure
Bonds tumbled as unexpectedly hawkish central bank minutes added to the pressure of higher oil prices, boosting bets policymakers would raise interest rates. The rupee fell to its weakest in more than a year. The 10-year yield was up seven basis points at 7.70 percent as of 1:36pm in Mumbai, after jumping as much as 17 basis points earlier. Minutes of the April 4 and 5 meeting released on Thursday showed most monetary policy committee members were optimistic the economy would rebound this year and actual output would move closer to its potential. Deputy Reserve Bank Governor Viral Acharya said he would vote for the start of the “withdrawal of accommodation” at the next meeting in June.
Inflation still below target
Consumer prices edged up 0.9 percent last month, government data showed yesterday, but inflation was slightly weaker than the previous month and still far below a longstanding target. The core inflation rate, which excludes volatile fresh food prices, stood at 0.9 percent, down from 1 percent the previous month, government data showed. With fresh food and energy stripped out, prices rose by even less — just 0.5 percent, data showed.
UK risks missing out
The UK is at risk of missing out on the EU’s booming digital market that spans robotics, battery-powered vehicles and 3D printing. That is the stark assessment of Austrian Minister of Finance Margarete Schramboeck, who is preparing for the country to take over the EU’s rotating presidency. A new framework for the digital single market should be completed during Austria’s leadership of the 28-nation bloc in the second half of this year, Schramboeck said in an interview in Vienna on Wednesday, but UK companies might be frozen out if Brexit negotiations go poorly.
Barclays chief to keep job
Barclays PLC chief executive officer Jes Staley is to keep his job after UK regulators said they had concluded their investigation into his attempts to unmask a whistle-blower. While the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulation Authority proposed that Staley pay a financial penalty, they “are not alleging that he acted with a lack of integrity or that he lacks fitness and propriety to continue to perform his role as group chief executive officer,” the bank said in a statement yesterday. The Barclays board has “unanimous confidence” in Staley and continues to recommend that he be re-elected at the annual general meeting on May 1, the company said.
Ericsson clawing back
Ericsson AB is making progress in a protracted effort to reverse its fortunes, as the Swedish maker of wireless networks posted first-quarter results that were stronger than analysts had expected. Ericsson’s closely watched gross margin — the share of sales remaining after production costs — rose to 35.9 percent on an adjusted basis, from 18.7 percent a year earlier. That was higher than the 32.7 percent analysts had predicted. “Our efforts to improve efficiency in service delivery and common costs are starting to pay off,” chief executive officer Borje Ekholm said in a statement yesterday. “The improvements in the quarter are encouraging.”
With the speed cryptocurrency is emerging as the millennial generation’s alternative asset of choice in India, it is hard to imagine that just two years ago a couple of blockchain pioneers were briefly in police custody. Sathvik Vishwanath and Harish BV, cofounders of a then five-year-old start-up, were arrested in late 2018. No, they had not pulled off a shady initial coin offering. Their “crime” was that they put up a kiosk in a mall in Bangalore where customers could swap bitcoin, ether or ripple for cash or vice versa. That was the whole point of unocoin, their crypto token exchange.
FIVE NEW FABS: An acquisition of Siltronic would boost GlobalWafers’ market share from 17 to 30 percent, easily surpassing Japanese rival Sumco’s 25 percent GlobalWafers Inc (環球晶圓) yesterday said it is in final talks to acquire Germany-based Siltronic AG in a 3.75 billion euro (US$4.5 billion) deal, which might help it compete with its closest rival Sumco Corp of Japan. The acquisition would be the fifth for GlobalWafers since 2008, as it has grown to become the world’s No. 3 supplier of silicon wafers through such deals. GlobalWafers, which has a 17 percent market share, would see its market position greatly elevated to 30 percent when combined with Siltronic’s 13 percent, according to a presentation Siltronic gave to its investors at a quarterly conference in August. Sumco
A Chinese factory owned by South Korean semiconductor giant SK Hynix Inc yesterday halted operations after a plant worker was found to have an asymptomatic infection of COVID-19, Xinhua news agency reported. The South Korean worker based at the plant in Chongqing since February had departed on Thursday for South Korea, Xinhua reported. He was tested at Incheon Airport in Seoul and confirmed positive for COVID-19 on Saturday, it reported. All factory staff as well as staff and recent guests at the hotel where the worker lived have been isolated and given nucleic acid tests, the agency said. “We’re cooperating with the local government
CONCERNS: The bank would act if it noticed currency speculation, the governor said, but he did not comment on a likely trajectory of the NT dollar against the greenback The central bank would intervene in the market whenever necessary to help stabilize the New Taiwan dollar, central bank Governor Yang Chin-long (楊金龍) said yesterday, adding that it is concerned Taiwan might be placed on the US watchlist for currency manipulation. The Control Yuan recently sent letter inquiring about the central bank’s market regulation efforts, Yang told a meeting of the legislature’s Finance Committee on the NT dollar’s appreciation and property price hikes. “It is the central bank’s top responsibility to stabilize foreign exchanges,” he said. The central bank has often stepped in toward the end of trading sessions to moderate the NT