Tue, Oct 29, 2019 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

INSURANCE

HK turmoil hurts AIA

More than four months of turmoil in Hong Kong and the chilling effect on Chinese tourism to the territory have taken their toll on insurer AIA Group Ltd, with policy sales slumping. The value of new business, a measure of future profitability of new policies, fell by double digits in the third quarter, AIA said in a statement yesterday. While AIA did not give an exact figure for the slide in Hong Kong, it said the group’s overall value of new business was little changed in the quarter at US$980 million. “Some of our markets are experiencing headwinds from the lower interest rate environment, falling consumer confidence and rising political and trade tensions,” the company said.

ECONOMY

IMF reports on Arab unrest

Unemployment and sluggish economic growth are fueling social tension and popular protests in several Arab countries, the IMF said yesterday. The unrest is in turn contributing to slower growth in the Middle East and North Africa region, alongside global trade tensions, oil price volatility and a disorderly Brexit process, the IMF said in a report on the regional economic outlook. Earlier this month it lowered this year’s forecast for the region — taking in the Arab nations and Iran — to a meager 0.1 percent from 1.1 percent last year.

CHINA

Industrial profits drop

Profits at industrial enterprises continued to contract as the economy slows and factory deflation worsens. Industrial profits dropped 5.3 percent last month, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Sunday. While industrial production picked up last month, growing deflationary pressure continued to weigh on corporate profits and their debt servicing ability. Companies’ earning power would likely remain depressed in the coming month amid weak demand, the bureau said. “The larger slide in September was due to a faster decline in industrial product prices and a slower growth in sales,” it said.

INDIA

RBI denies gold report

The central bank has not sold any gold recently nor is it trading in the metal, the monetary authority said in a tweet on Sunday. The Economic Times had reported on Friday that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) started trading in gold actively since July, buying gold worth US$5.1 billion and selling US$1.15 billion worth. The newspaper cited data from the RBI’s Weekly Statistical Supplement. “The fluctuation in value depicted in Weekly Statistical Supplement is due to change in frequency of revaluation from monthly to weekly basis and is based on international prices of gold and exchange rates,” the RBI said in the tweet.

FOOD

China Feihe readies for IPO

China Feihe Ltd (中國飛鶴), a baby formula producer, yesterday started taking investor orders for its Hong Kong initial public offering, which could raise as much as HK$8.9 billion (US$1.14 billion). The Beijing-based company is offering 893.3 million shares at HK$7.50 to HK$10 apiece, according to terms of the deal obtained by Bloomberg. The price range implied a market value of US$8.5 billion to US$11.4 billion, the terms show. The offering would at least be Feihe’s second attempt to conduct an IPO in Hong Kong after the company went private from the New York Stock Exchange in 2013 amid a wave of delistings by US-traded Chinese firms.

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