Interest rates cut again
The central bank on Wednesday slashed interest rates to a record low for the second time in less than two months, as Latin America’s biggest economy struggles to grow. The bank cut its main rate from the previous historic low of 6 percent to 5.5 percent, citing risks of a “more intense slowdown in the global economy.” The nation avoided slipping back into recession in the second quarter after its economy grew 0.4 percent, compared with the first three months of the year when it shrank 0.1 percent.
Q2 growth at five-year low
Economic growth slowed to a five-year low in the second quarter, official data released yesterday showed. Statistics New Zealand said the economy expanded 0.5 percent in the April-to-June quarter, versus an expected 0.4 percent, as mining and manufacturing activity weakened. GDP growth rose 2.1 percent from a year earlier, but slowed from the first quarter’s 2.5 percent to become the weakest annual growth since the fourth quarter of 2013.
Microsoft eyes buyback
Microsoft Corp, the world’s largest software maker, said it would repurchase as much as US$40 billion of shares in a new buyback program and boosted its quarterly dividend by US$0.05 to US$0.51 a share. The repurchase authorization has no expiration date, and could be terminated at any time, Microsoft said on Wednesday in a statement. The company’s stock has risen 36 percent so far this year and its market capitalization remains at more than US$1 trillion.
Diageo forecasts organics
Spirits maker Diageo PLC yesterday said that it was “not immune” to changes in global trade policies. The Johnnie Walker whisky and Tanqueray gin maker said it continues to expect organic net sales growth to be toward the mid-point of a 4 to 6 percent range and organic operating profit to grow about 1 percentage point ahead of organic net sales. The company also said it expects first-half organic operating profit growth to be in line with or slightly behind organic net sales growth, due to stronger prior year comparables.
Boycott hurts Qatar Airways
Qatar Airways hit turbulence on Wednesday, posting a net loss of US$639 million for the year to March, which it blamed on key markets closing their airspace to Doha. The United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt have enforced an economic boycott of Qatar since June 2017. It was “a challenging year and while it is disappointing that [the group] has registered a net loss of 2.3 billion Qatari riyals — attributable to the loss of mature routes, higher fuel costs and foreign exchange fluctuations — the underlying fundamentals of our business remain extremely robust,” the airline said.
Airbus faces spying probe
German prosecutors have opened an investigation into suspected internal spying by employees of European aviation giant Airbus over two arms projects, sources said on Wednesday. The suspicions arose “a few weeks ago,” and the company has alerted the authorities in Munich, an Airbus source said. “Some of our employees had documents that they shouldn’t have had,” the source said. The staff work in the Munich-based Program Line Communications, Intelligence and Security, which handles cybersecurity and related activities.
Softbank Group Corp plans to keep a stake in the chip designer Arm Ltd, even if it sells a partial interest to Nvidia Corp, the Nikkei reported. The companies are negotiating terms, the newspaper reported, citing sources. Softbank might take a stake in Nvidia after it buys Arm, the report said. Nvidia and Arm might also merge through a share swap, and Softbank would become a major shareholder in the combined company, it said. The two parties aim to reach a deal in the next few weeks, the sources said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. Nvidia is the
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
Gold surged to a fresh record on Friday, fueled by US dollar weakness and low interest rates, while silver headed for its best month since 1979. Spot bullion is up more than 10 percent this month, as US real yields lingered near record lows. While the ferocity of rallies in gold and silver cooled in the middle of the week, most market watchers predict there might be more gains ahead. Both metals have added about 30 percent this year, with gold and silver exchange-traded funds boosting holdings to a record, as concern about the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic fuels demand for
MOVING FROM CHINA? The article did not name the company, but Foxconn, Wistron and Pegatron were among firms chosen for a production-linked incentive plan in India An Apple Inc vendor is looking at shifting six production lines to India from China, which could result in US$5 billion of iPhone exports from the South Asian nation, the Times of India reported, citing people familiar with the matter who it did not identify. The establishment of the facility would create about 55,000 jobs over about a year, the newspaper reported, not naming the Apple vendor. It would also cater to the domestic market and expand operations to include tablets and laptops, the newspaper reported. Samsung Electronics Co and Apple’s assembly partners are among 22 companies that have pledged 110 billion