Surplus with US shrinks
The nation’s trade surplus with the US shrank for the third consecutive month, according to official data published yesterday. The surplus came in at ￥590.3 billion (US$5.2 billion) last month. The nation logged an overall global trade surplus of ￥139.6 billion, the first surplus in the past three months. However, exports declined for the first time in 22 months, with falls in outbound shipments of vehicles and telecommunication equipment, among other products.
Jobless rate at six-year low
The jobless rate for last month fell to the lowest in more than six years, as fewer people sought work, suggesting the drop is unlikely to alter the Reserve Bank of Australia’s (RBA) policy outlook. While unemployment fell from 5.3 percent to 5 percent — the level estimated by the central bank to signal full employment — the work force participation rate declined to the lowest in almost a year, Bureau of Statistics data showed. The RBA, in its most recent outlook, forecast unemployment would only reach 5 percent at the end of 2020.
BOK maintains rates
The Bank of Korea (BOK) yesterday left its key interest rate unchanged, citing an escalating trade war between the US and China as among rising risks to Asia’s fourth-largest economy. Two board members dissented from the decision, calling for a hike, BOK Governor Lee Ju-yeol said. The central bank trimmed its growth forecast for this year to 2.7 percent from 2.9 percent, and its outlook for next year to 2.7 percent from 2.8 percent. It left its inflation forecast at 1.6 percent for this year.
SAP lifts annual forecast
German software giant SAP AG yesterday lifted its full-year forecast, as executives said swelling growth in its cloud computing business helped it post a strong third quarter. Net profit declined 2 percent year-on-year between July and last month to 974 million euros (US$1.19 billion). Operating profit shrank 6 percent to 1.24 billion euros, emerging stronger than predicted by analysts surveyed by Factset, who had forecast 1.09 billion euros. Revenue increased 8 percent to 6 billion euros.
Novartis to buy Endocyte
Novartis AG has agreed to buy cancer drugmaker Endocyte for US$2.1 billion, or US$24 a share, expanding further into the increasingly competitive and lucrative field of oncology. US-based Endocyte makes radioactive drugs coupled with molecules that target specific cells to deliver treatments to tumors. The offer is a 54 percent premium to the biotech firm’s closing price on Wednesday of US$15.56. Novartis chief executive officer Vas Narasimhan said that Endocyte’s therapy, known as Lu-PSMA-617, has blockbuster potential.
Unilever Q3 sales up 4.5%
Unilever’s sales growth accelerated in the third quarter, providing some relief to investors concerned about the company’s strategy and performance after it botched a plan to simplify its legal structure. The 4.5 percent growth in underlying sales was slightly above analysts’ consensus forecast for growth of 4.3 percent, as the maker of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and Dove soap managed to eke out price increases.
DEVELOPING TALENT: The electronics contractor is looking to recruit people to work in core tech fields and emerging industries like electric cars and robotics Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密), the world’s largest contract electronics maker, has launched a recruitment drive, offering a monthly salary of no less than NT$45,000 (US$1,485) to university graduates. For those with a master’s degree, the starting pay would be NT$52,000 per month at the minimum, while doctorate degree holders would receive at least NT$60,000 a month, Hon Hai said a statement issued early this week. The latest recruitment drive is aimed at attracting talent in core technology fields — artificial intelligence, semiconductors and next-generation mobile communications — and emerging industries — electric vehicles, digital healthcare and robotics, the
MRT TRAVEL FALLS: In February, ridership on the Taipei MRT System fell 8.96 percent from an average of 2.01 million per day in January Scooter sales jumped 13 percent last month as more commuters turned to two-wheelers to avoid public transportation amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the latest statistics showed. Sales expanded to 74,493 units last month, compared with 65,913 units in February, statistics released on Wednesday by Kwang Yang Motor Co (光陽工業) and the Ministry of Transportation and Communications showed. In the first quarter, aggregate sales slid 0.51 percent year-over-year to 186,627 units, from 187,580 units, data showed. Kwang Yang, the nation’s biggest scooter manufacturer, continued to lead the market by selling 24,136 vehicles last month, growing 6.12 percent from 20,785 units in the previous month, while
Asustek Computer Inc (華碩), the nation’s leading PC vendor, yesterday launched its first dual-screen gaming laptop powered by Intel Corp’s latest central processing units (CPUs). The PC manufacturer’s announcement closely followed the US chipmaker’s unveiling of its 10th Generation Core H-series, the fastest commercial mobile processors with speeds of up to 5 gigahertz. Although Asustek’s Zephyrus Duo 15, the highlight of its Republic of Gamers line, is not the company’s first laptop with two screens, it is its first designed specifically for gaming. Nestled between the primary display panel and the keyboard, the secondary display, which Asustek calls the ScreenPad Plus, is angled
NO ILL EFFECT: Last month’s data mainly reflected deals made in February, when the spread of COVID-19 was still relatively mild in Taiwan, housing brokers said Housing transactions in the six special municipalities totaled 19,824 units last month, up 7.8 percent from a year earlier, brokers said, citing government data. Last month’s data mainly reflected deals made in February, when the pinch of the COVID-19 pandemic was not yet evident, they said. Taoyuan posted the largest improvement, with housing transactions soaring 36.6 percent year-on-year to 3,676 units, local government data showed. Taiwan Realty Co (台灣房屋) attributed the pickup to the completion of two presale residential projects in the municipality. Houses in Taoyuan have increasingly gained in popularity in the past few year years due to relatively affordable home prices and