Exports drop 24 percent
Singapore’s key exports fell 24 percent last month from a year ago as shipments to the US and other main markets plunged amid the worldwide economic slump, the government said yesterday. It was the 10th straight month of decline in non-oil domestic exports, following the record 35 percent drop in January. Shipments to the city-state’s top 10 markets, except China, were down, monthly data released by the International Enterprise Singapore trade promotion body showed. Demand from the recession-hit US shrank the most as shipments fell 44.4 percent to S$1.03 billion (US$673 million), following a 50 percent decline in January.
ExxonMobil opens China hub
A subsidiary of global oil giant ExxonMobil Corp yesterday announced plans to build a technology center in China’s economic hub of Shanghai. Exxonmobil Chemical’s hub, which will have an initial investment of US$70 million and is expected to open next year, will provide technical advice and laboratory support to customers in Asia, the company said. ExxonMobil is expanding in China with a recent joint venture operating 750 service stations and another building and operating a petrochemical refinery in Fujian.
Alcoa to slash dividend
Aluminum producer Alcoa Inc said on Monday it planned to slash its quarterly dividend by 82 percent and sell US$1.1 billion in shares to bulk up its cash cushion amid the recession. The Pittsburgh-based company also said it planned to cut costs by more than US$2.4 billion annually by next year. Alcoa said its actions would reduce capital spending by an additional US$1 billion next year. The announcement, made after the market closed on Monday, follows news in January that Alcoa plans to lay off about 13 percent of its global work force by the end of 2009, further cut production and spending, and sell four of its subsidiaries.
AMD may lose chip license
Intel warned rival chipmaker AMD on Monday that its license to make personal-computer chips could be revoked because it spun out its manufacturing unit into a separate company. Intel first introduced its PC-compatible chips, which are based on the ubiquitous x86 architecture, in 1978 and later licensed to other companies. AMD manufactures the chips under a 2001 patent cross-licensing agreement, and AMD transferred the right to make x86 chips to its manufacturing spinoff GlobalFoundries, which Intel alleges violates terms of the original agreement. In a filing with the Securities Exchange Commission, AMD rejected Intel’s claims.
Interest rates unchanged
Australia’s central bank said yesterday it unexpectedly left interest rates unchanged this month to “leave adequate flexibility” in the future, prompting economists to predict more rate cuts. The Reserve Bank of Australia board released minutes of its monthly meeting, where it left rates at a 45-year-low of 3.25 percent to end a sequence of seven straight cuts since last September. “Members believed this would leave adequate flexibility for policy at future meetings,” the minutes said. The bank has lowered rates from 7.25 percent since September and economists said they were unlikely to remain on hold for long after recent figures showing unemployment at a four-year high of 5.2 percent last month.
CAUTION: Taiwanese should be alert, even if they have just liked or shared posts that would breach Beijing’s national security legislation for Hong Kong, the council said Due to the newly implemented Hong Kong national security legislation, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) has drawn up a list of what it described as “high-risk groups,” cautioning them not to travel to Hong Kong. People who support independence for Taiwan, Hong Kong, Tibet and Xinjiang; those who are critical of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the Hong Kong government and the “one country, two systems” concept; and those who donated to or voiced support for the Hong Kong anti-extradition bill movement are urged to refrain from visiting Hong Kong, the council said on its Web site. It released two posts on
NEW HONG KONG LAW: A visit to Beijing-friendly nations or those with weak judicial systems could leave people at risk of deportation to China, a former MAC official said Beijing could request countries with which it has extradition agreements to deport Taiwanese to China to face criminal charges following the implementation of national security legislation for Hong Kong, a former Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) official warned yesterday. Some developing countries, and those close to China because of the Belt and Road Initiative, are likely to accommodate Beijing’s requests to extradite Taiwanese to China, said former deputy MAC minister Chen Ming-chi (陳明祺), who served from July 2, 2018, until May 20, and then returned to his former post as an assistant professor of sociology at National Tsing Hua University. While Taiwanese
IN THE PIPELINE: The Ministry of National Defense said the sale, expected to take effect in one month, would be the seventh arms sale under the Trump administration The government yesterday thanked the US for approving the possible sale of a US$620 million missile repair and recertification package to Taiwan. The US Department of State has approved the sale of a package to recertify Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) missiles to the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) in Washington for an estimated US$620 million, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in a news release on Thursday. The agency has delivered the required certification to the US Congress, notifying it of the possible sale, it added. The TECRO had requested to buy an upgrade package that would support an operational
INJURED: Several KMT lawmakers fought their way through DPP members into the legislative chamber, while others lay on a driveway to block Chen Chu Scuffles broke out at the Legislative Yuan yesterday as Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers again occupied the legislative chamber, stymieing a report by Control Yuan presidential nominee Chen Chu (陳菊) and a question-and-answer session. The KMT lawmakers showed up at the back door of the chamber at about 5am and tried to enter, but were stopped by several Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers who were guarding the door. Scuffles broke out as the KMT lawmakers tried to force their way through the door, injuring legislators on both sides. KMT Legislator Hung Mong-kai (洪孟楷) tackled DPP Legislator Wang Ting-yu (王定宇), while DPP Legislator Wu