PMI falls on dispute, protests
Sentiment among the territory’s manufacturers last month worsened again as the US-China trade spat rumbled on and the economy buckled under the brunt of anti-government protests. The latest reading for the Markit Hong Kong purchasing managers’ index (PMI) slid to 40.8 from 43.8 in July, a second straight monthly drop, according to data released by IHS Markit. It is a fresh low for the indicator of manufacturing intentions in data going back to at least September 2016. Figures below 50 indicate contraction.
Japanese brands hurt by row
Japanese automakers posted sharper sales falls in South Korea last month, industry data showed yesterday, hit by a consumer boycott of Japanese vehicles amid a worsening diplomatic row between the countries. Toyota Motor Corp and other Japanese automakers saw South Korean sales tumble 57 percent to 1,398 vehicles from a year earlier, steeper than the 17 percent fall in July. Toyota’s South Korean sales fell 59 percent to 542 from a year earlier, while Honda Motor’s sales tumbled 81 percent to 138.
Chemicals output down
A weakening manufacturing sector in the country and around the world weighed heavily on its chemicals output in the second quarter of this year, the VCI industry federation said yesterday. Production was down 8.8 percent annually in the April-to-June period, it said, making for revenues 4.3 percent lower at 48 billion euros (US$53 billion). Looking ahead to the full year, the VCI predicted a fall of 6 percent in chemicals production, significantly worse than its first-quarter forecast of a 3.5 percent decline, while revenues would slump 5 percent to 193 billion euros.
Factory output declines
A trade dispute with China and slower global growth are weighing on the economy, reducing factory output last month for the first time in three years. A survey by the Institute for Supply Management, an association of purchasing managers, on Tuesday showed that factory production and new orders fell sharply last month and are shrinking. The institute’s manufacturing index slid to 49.1 last month from 51.2 in July. That is the lowest reading issued since January 2016. Any reading below 50 signals a contraction in the sector. Manufacturers also cut jobs, the survey found.
Facebook to hide ‘like’ count
Facebook Inc on Tuesday confirmed that it is dabbling with no longer making a public display of how many “likes” are racked up by posts. Such a change could ease pressure to win approval with images, videos or comments and, instead, get people to simply focus on what is in posts. “We are considering hiding like counts from Facebook,” a spokesman said on Tuesday.
Moscow might open Arctic
Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment Dmitry Kobylkin yesterday said he supports allowing private oil and gas companies to work on the Arctic shelf. Speaking to reporters at an economic forum in the eastern city of Vladivostok, Kobylkin said he supported “any decision linked to an increase in investment in projects related to hydrocarbons.” Only state-controlled Gazprom PJSC and Rosneft PJSC are authorized to operate on the country’s Arctic shelf.
STAYING AHEAD: Fitch said that TSMC remains technologically ahead of others, but Samsung is building a new chip fab, while China is investing in its domestic industry As escalating US-China tensions and COVID-19-related production disruptions force US technology supply chains to transform, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co’s (TSMC, 台積電) US$12 billion chip fabrication plant in Arizona would be key to spurring greater US production of core semiconductor components, Fitch Ratings said. “We view the US-TSMC alliance as a first step in building a more autonomous US technology supply chain, given high barriers to entry, specifically related to the significant capital and design capability required for leading-edge semiconductor manufacturing,” Fitch said in a statement on Tuesday. “By working with TSMC, US chipmakers will not face the financial burden of incremental investment
DIVERSIFICATION: Although COVID-19 would push more companies to produce in emerging markets, DBS said that it was unlikely that firms would totally leave China Geopolitical tensions and supply disruptions are expected to accelerate the migration of manufacturing out of China, as concerns about the risk of production concentrated in one country increase, S&P Global Ratings said. Although its economic expansion might be weaker than previous levels due to the accelerated relocation of manufacturing, China’s economic growth would still be stronger than that of most other economies, the ratings agency said. “While absolute growth rates will moderate, we believe China’s economic performance will continue to be a key sovereign credit support,” S&P Global Ratings credit analyst Tan Kim Eng (陳錦榮) said in a statement on Thursday. “Its growth
Taiwan’s corporate landscape has changed significantly over the past 20 years, with Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密) replacing Formosa Plastics Corp (台塑) as the revenue leader, while Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC, 台積電) has emerged as the most profitable firm, a survey of Taiwan’s 50 largest companies published on Tuesday last week showed. The Chinese-language CommonWealth Magazine survey ranked Taiwan’s 50 largest companies based on their revenue last year, and compared them with the results of a similar survey it conducted in 2000. Only 33 companies on the original list remained in this year’s rankings, the survey found, following two
GEOPOLITICAL RISKS: Beijing announced plans to strengthen ‘enforcement’ in Hong Kong, sparking losses across Asia led by the Hang Seng’s 5.6 percent plunge Local shares on Friday ended sharply lower amid renewed tensions between the US and China over Chinese telecommunications equipment giant Huawei Technologies Co Ltd (華為) and China’s plan to introduce a national security law in Hong Kong. The TAIEX on Friday finished down 197.16, or 1.79 percent, at 10,811.15 on turnover of NT$177.183 billion (US$5.9 billion), almost flat from a close of 10,814.92 on May 15. The market was down across all major sectors, in particular electronics shares, which finished down 1.99 percent from Thursday’s close. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電), the world’s largest wafer foundry and a chip supplier