GDP growth slows
The economy grew at a slower pace in the fourth quarter than previously estimated, a sign that US-China trade tensions and weaker global demand are starting to bite. GDP increased an annualized 1.4 percent from the prior quarter, lower than the government’s earlier projection of 1.6 percent and the median forecast of 1.5 percent in a Bloomberg survey. The economy grew 1.9 percent in the fourth quarter from a year earlier. Growth in total merchandise trade and non-oil domestic exports is expected to be between zero and 2 percent this year, the government said.
PPI, CPI lower than forecast
Factory and consumer price inflation rose at a slower rate than expected last month as global growth cools and the US trade spat drags on, official data showed yesterday. The producer price index (PPI) — an important barometer of the industrial sector that measures the cost of goods at the factory gate — rose 0.1 percent year-on-year last month, compared with a 0.9 percent rise the previous month. Meanwhile, the consumer price index (CPI) — a key measure of retail inflation — rose 1.7 percent, compared with 1.9 percent in December.
Takeda files for huge bond
Takeda Pharmaceutical Co has filed to issue up to ￥500 billion (US$4.53 billion) of notes in what would be corporate Japan’s biggest ever bond if done in a single tranche. The Osaka-based drug maker has taken on massive debt for its US$62 billion takeover of Shire PLC, which vaulted it into the ranks of the 10 biggest drug makers by sales, while more than doubling its borrowing level. Takeda registered to sell a 60-year subordinated bond that can be called in about five years, according to a regulatory filing yesterday.
Brazilian chicken levied
The country yesterday announced anti-dumping duties on Brazilian chicken, saying investigations had revealed that poultry imports had done “substantive damage” to the domestic broiler industry. The tariffs — ranging from 17.8 percent to 32.4 percent — are to take effect from Sunday and remain in place for five years, the Ministry of Commerce said. Some companies that have pledged to import at not lower than an agreed minimum price would be exempt, it added.
Retail spending plummets
Retail spending unexpectedly took its biggest tumble in nearly a decade during the key holiday shopping period, Department of Commerce data showed on Thursday. For the month of December, retail spending tallied at US$505.8 billion, seasonally adjusted, a 1.2 percent dip from the previous month, marking the largest month-to-month decrease since September 2009. Economists had been expecting an increase of 0.2 percent.
RBS plans special dividend
Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC (RBS) plans to award shareholders a special dividend, signaling the state-controlled lender can weather the storm from the uncertainties surrounding Brexit in the months ahead. The bank, which swung to a better-than-expected profit before tax of ￡572 million (US$731.99 million) in the fourth quarter, still targets a cost income ratio below 50 percent. However, it said this goal was “increasingly challenging” due to the political and economic headwinds facing the UK.
END TO SPECULATION: The hotel’s management contract has been extended, despite reports that it wanted to end its alliance with Hyatt Hotels over a deal with Riant Capital Singapore-based Hong Leong Hotel Development Ltd (豐隆大飯店股份) yesterday said it has extended a management contract to ensure the continued presence of the Grand Hyatt brand in Taipei, ending rumors that the two sides were parting ways. “We are pleased Hyatt is able to come to terms on the extension of the management contract of Grand Hyatt Taipei,” said Kwek Leng Beng (郭令明), executive chairman of City Developments Ltd (城市發展) and Millennium & Copthorne Hotels Ltd (千禧國敦酒店). Hong Leong Hotel Development is a subsidiary of Millennium, and both fall under the Hong Leong Group (豐隆集團). The Grand Hyatt Taipei (台北君悅大飯店), owned and built by
’WHITE BOX’: The open platform would give local firms access to Cisco’s cloud-based mobile network to develop 5G telecom equipment and tap into the global market The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) yesterday introduced a new 5G “open lab” in collaboration with US-based information technology and networking giant Cisco Systems Inc to address the rapidly growing “white box” 5G networking equipment market. The open lab will be a platform where Taiwanese manufacturers can access Cisco’s cloud-based mobile network to develop their own 5G telecom equipment, such as small-cell base stations, network switches, modems and Internet of things (IoT) devices, a ministry statement said. The open platform would allow Taiwanese manufacturers to tap into the lucrative 5G telecom equipment market, which was previously monopolized by Nokia Oyj, Ericsson AB
Nintendo Co is raising its target for Switch production to about 25 million units this fiscal year, people familiar with the matter said, as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic keeps lifting demand and component shortages ease. The Kyoto, Japan-based company, which in April hiked orders to 22 million units by March next year, is asking partners to tack on another few million units, said the people, who did not want to be identified discussing internal goals. Assembly partners plan to work at maximum capacity through December. The new production target suggests that Nintendo is likely to outperform its Switch sales forecast of 19 million
NERVOUS MARKET: With the infection sources still unknown for three COVID-19 cases that had departed Taiwan, investors have become uneasy, an analyst said Local shares yesterday came under heavy downward pressure, falling more than 1 percent as renewed fears over a possible increase in domestic COVID-19 infections hit market sentiment after the nation last week reported a case related to a Belgian national. Selling focused on the bellwether electronics sector, led by contract chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電), which pushed down the broader market as investors ignored gains posted by tech heavyweights on the US market at the end of last week, dealers said. The TAIEX closed down 151.77 points, or 1.2 percent, at 12,513.03, on turnover of NT$231.43 billion (US$7.84 billion). Foreign