World Business Quick Take


Fri, Mar 09, 2018 - Page 10


Malaysia threatens jet deal

Malaysia, the world’s No.2 producer of palm oil, yesterday said the EU’s decision to curb imports of the commodity could impact France’s hopes of winning one of Asia’s biggest fighter jet deals. The French Dassault Rafale aircraft had, until recently, been seen as the frontrunner in Kuala Lumpur’s plan to buy up to 18 new fighter jets in a deal potentially worth more than US$2 billion, but negotiations hit a snag after European lawmakers pushed to stop using palm oil in motor fuels. Malaysia said earlier this week that it would not shy away from a trade war.


GDP growth rate unexpected

The economy is growing at a faster clip than initially estimated, the government said yesterday. GDP expanded 0.4 percent in the October to December period last year, the Cabinet Office said, a spectacular upwards revision from its initial estimate of 0.1 percent growth. The figures also confirmed the eighth consecutive quarter of expansion, the longest run since the 1980s when the nation’s economy was the envy of the world. For the calendar year 2017, the economy grew 1.7 percent after a 0.9 percent in 2016.


Wages on the rise

A tight labor market was helping lift wages across most of the country through late last month and contributing to “moderate inflation” in most areas, a Federal Reserve survey showed. The Summary of Commentary on Current Economic Conditions report said, based on anecdotal information collected by the 12 regional Fed banks through Feb. 26, that the nation’s “modest to moderate” expansion was spreading the benefits of higher pay more widely. The survey, released in Washington on Wednesday, also contained evidence that a pick up in inflation was more broadly based.


EU plans to tax profits

The European Commission told top digital firms on Wednesday that its favorite choice to reform online taxation would be a new method to tax profits rather than revenues, a move the industry welcomed. The EU is working on a tax overhaul aimed at increasing the bill of large companies like Inc, Google and Facebook Inc. The big EU states say such firms pay too little by re-routing their EU profits to low-tax countries such as Luxembourg and Ireland.


HSBC Qianhai seeks expansion

HSBC Qianhai Securities Ltd (匯豐前海證券), the first foreign majority-owned securities joint venture in China, expects to more than double the size of its team in the next four years as it sees economic growth continuing to attract investments to the country. The firm, launched last year to help institutional clients access Chinese capital markets, expects to have 300 staff, up from the current 120, chief executive officer Irene Ho (何善文) said in an interview in New York on Monday. “I just need to see the money coming in,” she said.


Apple touts improvements

Apple Inc touted major improvements in labor and environmental practices across its vast global supply chain last year. The iPhone maker’s audit of 756 facilities produced a 35 percent increase in suppliers classified as high-performing for their adherence to its code of conduct, according to Apple’s progress report. More than 3 million workers were trained on their rights last year.