Wells Fargo is largest bank
The Industrial & Commercial Bank of China (ICBC, 中國工商銀行) has lost its standing as the world’s largest bank by market capitalization to US-based Wells Fargo, data showed yesterday, as China’s economy slows. San Francisco-based Wells Fargo & Co is worth US$236 billion, according to the New York Stock Exchange, where it is listed, while Chinese figures show ICBC is now valued at US$223 billion. ICBC’s six-year reign as the world’s biggest bank began in July 2007, and its value peaked at US$374 billion in November that year thanks to China’s rapid economic expansion, and stood as a symbol of the country’s emergence as a global powerhouse. However, it was deposed on July 12 and Wells Fargo has retained top spot since.
Walmart cannot meet rules
Walmart has told India that it is unable to meet local sourcing requirements for foreign supermarket groups wanting to open stores in the country, a report said yesterday. Under rules introduced when the government opened up the sector last year, foreign supermarkets are required to buy 30 percent of their products from local small-scale industries. Walmart has “orally conveyed its stand” to the government over the policy, the Press Trust of India reported, adding to complaints from US companies that they are unable to operate in India. Walmart, which said last year it wanted to launch its first supermarket within two years, has said it can procure only about 20 percent of its goods from small Indian industries.
Inflation below expectations
Inflation came in short of expectations for a third consecutive quarter yesterday, boosting the case for an interest rate cut next month as mining investment peaks. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) said consumer prices rose 0.4 percent in April-June compared with the previous quarter, while they were up 2.4 percent year on year as the economy transitions away from a decade-long commodities spending boom. Underlying inflation, which strips out volatility caused by events such as extreme weather, was slightly higher at 0.6 percent, the ABS said.
Inflation up a second month
Inflation picked up this month for a second consecutive month, official figures showed yesterday, following recent increases in fuel prices. Consumer prices were up 7.29 percent year-on-year, against a 6.69 percent rise last month, according to the General Statistics Office, with analysts saying recent fuel price hikes were largely responsible. Inflation has rebounded after hitting an eight-month low of 6.36 percent in May. The same month, the central bank cut interest rates for the eighth time in little more than a year to spur bank lending and boost consumption after economic growth fell to a 13-year low of 5.03 percent last year.
ARM profits up 30 percent
British chip designer ARM Holdings beat second-quarter expectations with a 30 percent rise in adjusted pretax profit, helped by demand for its latest processors and graphics technology. The Cambridge-based company reported pretax profit of ￡86.6 million (US$133 million) on revenue up 26 percent to US$171.2 million, both ahead of forecasts. ARM has outpaced the wider semiconductor market for the past five years or so, helped by the dominance of its processor architecture in smartphones and tablet computers.