Wed, Oct 17, 2018 - Page 11 News List

Taiwan Business Quick Take

Staff writer

HOTELS

French chef to cook at Regent

Michelin-starred French chef Frederic Anton is to cook Taiwanese goodies on Nov. 2 and Nov. 4 at the invitation of Regent Taipei (台北晶華酒店). Anton has been dubbed the successor to late French chef Joel Robuchon and has won honors from the Michelin Guide. This would likely be Anton’s last overseas guest-chef event, as his restaurant at the Eiffel Tower in Paris is to start operations early next year and would occupy his full attention, the hotel said. The guest-chef event is to be held at Robin’s Grill on the hotel’s second floor with a lunch set at NT$8,800 per head and a dinner set at NT$12,800 per head.

FINANCE

Asia liquidity remains tight

The Asian liquidity stress indicator (Asian LSI) of Moody’s Investors Service weakened from 31.1 percent in August to 33.5 percent last month, registering its highest level since August 2016, the firm said in a statement yesterday. The Asian LSI measures the percentage of high-yield companies with Moody’s weakest speculative-grade liquidity score of SGL-4 as a proportion of high-yield corporate family ratings. The indicator increases when speculative-grade liquidity deteriorates. “The Asian LSI has remained above the 12-month average of 28.8 percent and is now approaching the record high of 34.2 percent set in April 2016,” Moody’s vice president and senior credit officer Brian Grieser said. Although refinancing risk has been manageable for most companies this year, liquidity remains tight across many sectors, highlighting the difficult market conditions, the statement said, adding that the primary driver for the weak liquidity trend is the increasing number of firms that rely heavily on uncommitted, short-term facilities from relationship banks.

MANUFACTURING

Formosa group’s rating lifted

Taiwan Ratings Corp has raised its long-term issuer credit rating for the four core members of Formosa Plastics Group (台塑集團) from “twAA-” to “twAA” and affirmed a “twA-1+” short-term rating. The upgrade reflects the ratings agency’s view that improved profitability and cash flow could sustain the group’s financial leverage over the next one to two years, it said in a statement on Monday. This enhanced financial headroom should help absorb potential volatility in the petrochemical market over the long term, it said. Formosa Plastics Group could also fund the group’s core and potential non-core investments, as well as an upcoming large investment in the US, while still maintaining the group’s ratio of operational funds to debt consistently above 45 percent throughout the business cycle, it said.

CHINA

Storms spike food costs

Consumer prices increased 2.5 percent last month from a year earlier, driven mainly by higher food prices. The pace of the increase was considerably faster than the 1.7 percent recorded in August. The price spike was mainly due to inclement weather conditions. Some regions that grow vegetables had storms, which disrupted supply conditions. As a result, vegetable and fruit prices surged 9.8 percent and 6.4 percent respectively, and together contributed 0.35 percentage points to the rise in the headline consumer price index year-on-year. Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) said that China’s food prices might hold up, particularly as pork prices have been recovering, despite the swine fever outbreak since July. Still, overall inflation is within a supportive range and is not yet a major factor for policy decisions, ANZ said.

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