Thu, May 02, 2019 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take



Property prices continue fall

Property prices in the nation fell faster in the past year than at any time since the global financial crisis, a closely watched report said yesterday, fueling speculation of a pre-election interest rate cut. House prices last month continued to tumble across the country, with Sydney declining 11.8 percent and Melbourne falling 12.6 percent, leading property analyst CoreLogic Inc said. While the slide slowed last month from the month before — raising hopes that the market might be reaching its nadir — analysts warned of knock-on effects across the economy. The economy grew just 0.2 percent in the final three months of last year, wage growth has remained soft and inflation has come in below the central bank’s target.


Manufacturing growth slows

Manufacturing growth in the nation slowed last month as firms dialed back Brexit-related stockpiling and new export business fell. IHS Markit Ltd’s purchasing managers index for the sector dropped from a 13-month high as production growth also slowed and job losses in the industry mounted. While companies continued to build up stockpiles to guard against Brexit risk, the delay to nation’s departure from the EU meant that they did so to lesser extent than in previous months, the survey found. The index last month fell to a two-month low of 53.1, the firm said in a report yesterday. Overseas demand dropped, with companies saying that Brexit uncertainty was the main factor underlying the decrease. Business optimism rose to a seven-month high, although some firms noted continued concerns about leaving the EU and the possible impact of running down stockpiles.


Exports drop 2% annually

The nation’s exports last month fell less than expected, even as they dropped for a fifth straight month. While concerns linger about slowing growth in Asia’s fourth-largest economy, the potential signs of recovery in shipments added to hopes for a rebound in global trade this year. Shipments last month fell 2 percent by value from a year earlier, compared with the median forecast of economists for a 5.9 percent drop. Exports fell due to a continued decline in memorychip prices and as a slowdown in China’s economy was sustained, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said in a statement. Shipments of semiconductors declined 0.9 percent; overall exports excluding the memorychip sector increased 0.8 percent.


Crime-related losses mount

Losses from the theft of cryptocurrencies from exchanges and fraud-related activities surged in the first quarter of this year to US$1.2 billion, or 70 percent of the level for all of last year, cybersecurity firm CipherTrace said on Tuesday. The value of losses from crime in the digital currency sector last year hit US$1.7 billion, but cryptocurrency crime has ballooned as the market has slowed down, prices have plunged and business activity has stalled. In the first quarter of this year, theft of digital currencies from exchanges and scams totaled US$356 million, while losses from fraud or misappropriated funds amounted to US$851 million, the US-based firm said, adding that it included losses at Canadian digital platform QuadrigaX, where about C$180 million (US$134.4 million) in cryptocurrencies have been frozen in user accounts after the founder, the only person with the password to gain access, died suddenly in December last year.

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