Tokyo bids to back recovery
The government is planning for an ￥18.6 trillion (US$181 billion) package to counter the impact of a sales-tax bump in April, as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe tries to sustain a recovery in the world’s third-biggest economy. The steps will include ￥5.5 trillion in fiscal spending, an official who asked not to be named said, citing government policy. The government will use tax revenue to fund the package, forgoing new bond sales, the official said. However, Kathy Matsui, chief Japan strategist for Goldman Sachs Group Inc, said Abe’s success in reviving the economy hinges on wages rising more than the Bank of Japan’s 2 percent inflation target.
Banking trio refuse EU deal
JPMorgan Chase & Co, HSBC Holdings PLC and Credit Agricole SA rejected an EU deal to end an antitrust probe into the rigging of Euro interbank offered rates (EURIBOR), risking higher fines and challenging the future of the bloc’s settlement process. The EU is seeking to announce two sets of settlements as soon as yesterday, with banks accused of colluding to rig the LIBOR and EURIBOR, according to a person familiar with the probe. While global fines for rate-rigging have already topped US$3.7 billion, the cost to banks may climb as they face lawsuits worldwide. An EU accord includes a finding of liability that can be used in civil cases.
Xbox demand beating supply
Microsoft Corp said it is selling every Xbox One it can make, after introducing the new game console on Nov. 22. Sales are setting records, the Redmond, Washington-based software maker said on Tuesday in a statement, without being more specific. Users have already spent more than 50 million hours on games and entertainment, Microsoft said. “Demand is far exceeding supply in the 13 countries we’ve launched and we are sold out at retailers around the world,” Yusuf Mehdi, vice president of strategy and marketing for Xbox, said in the statement.
Sony, Renesas to hold talks
Sony Corp is set to begin formal talks to buy a Japanese chip plant from Renesas Electronics Corp to increase production of smartphone image sensors, people with knowledge of the proposal said. Sony plans to begin due diligence next week and the companies may not reach a final agreement, the sources said. Sony and Renesas will sign a memorandum as early as next week as they initiate talks over the plant in Tsuruoka, another person with knowledge of the plans said. Sony is deciding between purchasing the Renesas plant in northern Japan and investing in its own chip factories in the south, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private.
Web shopping hits new high
Online shopping surged about 20 percent to a record on Cyber Monday as many consumers snubbed physical stores and took to the Internet to buy holiday gifts. Including shopping on personal computers and mobile devices, online retail sales on the Monday after Thanksgiving rose to almost US$2 billion, according to researcher ComScore Inc. That made it the heaviest Web-spending day ever for the fourth straight year. More than US$23.9 billion has been spent online through PCs alone since Nov. 1, an 8.4 percent gain from the same period last year, the company said in a statement on Tuesday.