GDP beats growth estimates
The economy grew at an annual pace of 1.9 percent from October to December last year, revised data from the Cabinet Office showed. The figure released yesterday was an improvement over an earlier estimate of 1.4 percent growth in the final quarter of last year. It also showed a rebound from a 2.4 percent contraction in the previous quarter for the world’s third-largest economy as storms and earthquakes crimped travel and spending. On a quarterly basis, the economy grew 0.5 percent over the period.
Households’ net worth down
American households saw their net worth plummet at the end of last year amid a rout on Wall Street, the biggest tumble since the global financial crisis, the Federal Reserve reported on Thursday. Household net worth fell US$3.7 trillion to US$104.3 trillion in the final three months of the year, the report said. The 3.5 percent decline was the largest drop in percentage terms since the fourth quarter of 2008. The value of equities alone fell US$4.6 trillion during the quarter, but this was partly offset by gains in the value of real estate and other assets, the report said.
Factory orders drop 2.6%
Factory orders unexpectedly fell in January, piling on more evidence that Europe’s largest economy continued to lose momentum at the start of year. Orders were down 2.6 percent, the most since June, defying expectations for a 0.5 percent gain. December last year’s reading was revised up to a 0.9 percent increase from an originally reported 1.6 percent decline.
Women lag in labor market
The nation’s women are lagging behind the rest of Europe when it comes to economic activity, meaning it is missing out on billions of euros each year. The proportion of working-age women participating in the labor market is the lowest in the region. Less than half of Italian women are employed and raising that level to match the euro-area average of 62.3 percent could boost GDP by 88 billion euros (US$98.6 billion) each year, Bloomberg calculations showed.
Top German banks in talks
The top executives of Deutsche Bank AG and Commerzbank AG have resumed discussions on a possible merger of the two lenders, the German magazine Focus reported, citing unidentified people familiar with the matter. Deutsche Bank chief executive officer Christian Sewing has been in intense talks with Commerzbank chief executive officer Martin Zielke for some days, after receiving a mandate from their management and supervisory boards, Focus said. In September last year, Sewing said his bank was open to a merger.
No German ban on Huawei
Germany does not want to ban Chinese telecoms equipment maker Huawei Technologies Co (華為) from building its 5G networks, German Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Peter Altmaier said on Thursday. However, the government would change the law to ensure that all components used in the 5G networks would be secure and that there would be no breaches of data protection rules, he said. Germany also would not use its increased veto powers to fend off foreign takeovers in this case, because the construction of the 5G network was not an issue of a merger or an acquisition, he said.
Gogoro Inc (睿能創意) yesterday launched its first electric bicycle, the Gogoro Eeyo 1, in Taiwan, after unveiling the bike in New York in late May and in France on Tuesday. The company said it would also introduce the series in other European countries such as Germany and the Netherlands. The “Eeyo project” is the fourth of Gogoro’s eight projects that concentrate on smart transportation, which includes Gogoro’s electric scooter, battery swap system and electric scooter sharing service, company founder and chief executive officer Horace Luke (陸學森) told a media briefing in Taipei. “There are various types of city commuters. We will not
EXPERIMENTAL DRUG: While news about a COVID-19 vaccine is more eye-catching, developing a treatment would be more viable, the Senhwa boss said Senhwa Biosciences Inc (生華科) aims to raise NT$1.5 billion (US$50.57 million) by issuing 15 million new common shares in the third quarter of this year to fund the research of new drugs, including the experimental drug Silmitasertib for the treatment of COVID-19, the company said on Monday. That would be the firm’s largest fundraising effort after it raised more than NT$1.4 billion from an initial public offering on the Taipei Exchange (TPEX) in April 2017, chief financial officer Sarah Chang (張小萍) told the Taipei Times by telephone. The price of the new shares would depend on the firm’s average share price
NOT A PANACEA: Offering 5G services would not solve the problem of declining telecom incomes, chairman Sheih Chi-mau said, expecting a flat 5G telecom revenue Chunghwa Telecom Co (中華電信) yesterday became the nation’s first telecom to debut its 5G services, offering tiered tariffs that include a threshold of NT$599 and flat rates, as it aims to switch half of its subscribers to the 5G network within three years. Subscribers would have unlimited data transmission for monthly fees starting at NT$1,399 — the same flat rate as when the company launched its 4G service in 2014 — and they can subscribe to the highest-rate plan for NT$2,699 per month for faster data transmission speeds and larger bandwidth, the company said. Data transmission speeds would be within the range
ROW: A probe would determine if the rights of shareholders who were not allowed to vote yesterday had been violated, while the stock exchange also wants answers The election of board directors yesterday at Tatung Co (大同) sparked controversy after the company blocked some institutional and individual shareholders from participating in the general shareholders’ meeting, prompting the Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) to announce that the vote would be investigated. Lin Kuo Wen-yen (林郭文艷) was re-elected as chairwoman of the household-appliance maker’s nine-member board, but prior to the vote she announced that several shareholders would not have voting rights. They were being denied a vote because they had contravened the Business Mergers and Acquisitions Act (企業併購法), and the Act Governing Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and