Fitch upgrades HK rating
Fitch Ratings said yesterday it had upgraded its outlook on Hong Kong's long-term foreign currency issuer default rating to "positive" from "stable." The ratings agency said the revision mainly reflects the territory's strong external financial position and the continued reform of its public finances. Fitch expects the Hong Kong economy to grow 6.3 percent this year and 4 percent to 5 percent in the medium term, against the government's forecast of 4 percent to 5 percent for this year and 4 percent per annum from next year to 2010.
Lower tax aids Nissan profit
Nissan Motor Co said yesterday that its net profit in the first quarter rose 4.2 percent from the same period a year earlier to ¥110.2 billion (US$945 million) as lower taxes made up for a sales slump. However, its operating profit in the April-to-June quarter fell 25.7 percent year-on-year. Operating profit, which measures earnings before the deduction of interest payments and income taxes, declined to ¥153.3 billion. Japan's second automobile manufacturer sold 826,000 vehicles in the three-month period, down 6 percent, on a lack of new models, but group sales rose 3.1 percent to ¥2.21 trillion, it said.
PCCW trading suspended
Shares of Hong Kong phone operator PCCW Ltd (電訊盈科) were suspended from trading yesterday following a news report saying the company would reject offers by foreign investors for its core telecommunications and media assets. Citing people familiar with the situation, the South China Morning Post reported yesterday that PCCW's board of directors would reject separate bids for its assets from Australia's Macquarie Bank Ltd and US investment firm Texas Pacific Group and its Asia-focused unit Newbridge. The report did not name its sources. The proposed asset sale had faced fierce opposition from Chinese state-owned phone operator China Network Communications Group, which owns 20 percent of PCCW. China Netcom suggested it didn't want to see telecom infrastructure on Chinese soil falling into foreign hands.
BP's Q2 profits up 23%
Despite a drop in output, British energy giant BP announced yesterday a 22.8 percent increase in second-quarter earnings on the back of soaring crude oil prices. Net profit, excluding gains in the value of its crude oil inventories, rose to US$6.12 billion in the three months to June, compared with US$4.98 billion in the same period last year, BP said in a results statement.
Watchdog raids 20 firms
Japan's anti-monopoly watchdog raided about 20 gas companies yesterday over suspected bid-rigging for natural gas station projects subsidized by the government, Fair Trade Commission spokesman Akinori Yamada said. The gas companies are suspected of having colluded on bids for projects to build gas stations for natural gas-powered vehicles around Japan, and financed by the government, Yamada said. The projects, worth between ¥3 billion (US$235.64 million) and ¥4 billion a year, are ordered by gas suppliers, gas station operators and local governments, Yamada said.
EXTRADITION DEAL? A former prosecutor said that the US Department of Justice might ask Taiwan to extradite the men in return for the US doing something in return The US won arrest warrants for three Taiwanese men — a former president of China-based Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit Co (福建晉華) and two engineers — charged with stealing secrets from Idaho-based Micron Technology Inc. The effort to apprehend the three men — former Fujian Jinhua president Stephen Chen (陳正坤), and Ho Chien-ting (何建廷) and Wang Yong-ming (王永銘), who work for Taiwan-based United Microelectronics Corp (UMC, 聯電) — is notable because they were charged in 2018 in the first case filed under the “China initiative” of US President Donald Trump’s administration targeting trade-secret theft, hacking and economic espionage. However, legal experts have said
There was a net reduction last year in the number of Taipei residents and this year is expected to set a 23-year high for population decline in the city, Ministry of the Interior statistics released yesterday showed. From January to last month, 18,861 more people moved out of Taipei than moved into the capital, an increase of 7,000 from the same period last year, the data showed. That is a 7.2 percent decrease in the city’s population since the start of the year, the biggest drop in both percentage and total number among all municipalities and counties nationwide, the data showed. The data
COUNCILS CLASH: The Mainland Affairs Council said a new office in Hong Kong is to assist people with issues related to investment, study and employment in Taiwan The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) yesterday denied an accusation by the Hong Kong-Taiwan Economic and Cultural Co-operation and Promotion Council that its Taiwanese counterpart in the territory was “interfering with Hong Kong’s internal affairs.” The Hong Kong council leveled the accusation after Taipei’s Taiwan-Hong Kong Economic and Cultural Co-operation Council this month announced it would establish a Taiwan-Hong Kong Services and Exchanges Office to facilitate humanitarian aid for Hong Kongers. The new office is scheduled to begin operations on Wednesday. The MAC yesterday asked the Hong Kong council to “not misinterpret” the government’s intentions. The two Taiwan-Hong Kong councils were established in 2010 to
IRRESPONSIBLE ATTITUDES? Some experts say the NHI system does not do enough to educate the public, or pay doctors to talk to patients, about healthy lifestyles While the life expectancy of Taiwanese newborns in 2018 reached 80.69 years, the number of years people spent in poor health hit a record high at 8.41 years, Ministry of Health and Welfare statistics showed on Saturday. Healthy life expectancy is calculated by a person’s life expectancy minus the time they spend in ill health, such as the loss of mobility, disabilities and chronic disease, based on medical records and calculations about the years they live with disabilities. The number of years that Taiwanese spend in poor health is increasing slowly, but steadily, rising by 0.46 years, or five-and-a-half months, between 2012