European beats estimates
Europe’s manufacturing industry expanded at a faster pace than initially estimated last month as reviving global demand prompted companies to step up output. A manufacturing index based on a survey of euro-area purchasing managers rose to 56.6 from 54.2 in February, London-based Markit Economics said yesterday. That’s above an initial estimate of 56.3 and the fastest pace since November 2006. A reading above 50 indicates expansion. An index of UK manufacturing rose to a 15-year high, a separate report showed.
Pentagon extends deadline
The deadline for bids on a US$35 billion contract for refueling jets will be extended by 60 days so the European maker of Airbus can compete, the Pentagon said on Wednesday. Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell said the military still planned to award the contract this fall. The decision is aimed at encouraging competition in a program that critics say has been poorly managed and unfairly favors the Boeing Co. Northrop Grumman Corp, which had been partnered with the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co, said last month that it would not bid because it didn’t think it could win.
RIM posts Q4 earnings rise
BlackBerry maker Research In Motion Ltd (RIM) on Wednesday said earnings for its fiscal fourth quarter ended Feb. 27 were US$710 million, or US$1.27 per share. That was up 37 percent from a year earlier and was nearly in line with analysts’ predictions of US$1.28 per share. Yet its revenue of US$4.08 billion, while rising 18 percent over the same period a year earlier, was short of the US$4.31 billion expected by analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters.
Vale Amazon plant approved
Brazilian mining giant Vale on Wednesday got the government’s green light to build a US$3 billion steel plant in northern Para state, in the Amazon jungle, company president Roger Agnelli said. “Our role is promote the growth of steel production in Brazil and to do that we’re looking for the best technologies and processing methods,” Agnelli said in a statement. The new plant will have an annual output of 2 million tonnes, Vale said.
Toyota’s Japan sales surge
Toyota sales are booming in Japan, up a hefty 50 percent last month, shrugging off any fallout from massive global recalls. Toyota Motor Corp sales in Japan totaled 204,514 vehicles, up from 135,700 the same month last year, for the eighth straight month of on-year rise, the Japan Automobile Dealers Association said yesterday. Japan’s auto sales have been recovering, with sales jumping 10 percent in the year ending last month from the same period a year earlier to 3.2 million vehicles, the group said. It said that was the first year-on-year increase in seven years.
Singapore prices keep rising
Singaporean real-estate prices rose for a third consecutive quarter in the January-March period despite government efforts to cool the hot property market. Private residential property prices rose 5.1 percent in the first quarter after jumping 7.4 percent in the fourth and 15.8 percent in the third, the Urban Redevelopment Authority said yesterday. Prices have bounced back strongly after diving 25 percent in the 12 months to the middle of last year as the city-state’s economy rebounds from last year’s recession.
‘NO EQUILIBRIUM’: Taiwan’s increased defense spending is a good step, but it needs to do more to have the ability to deter aggression from China, a senior US official said The US plans to sell as many as seven major weapons systems — including mines, cruise missiles and drones — to Taiwan, four people familiar with the discussions said. Pursuing seven sales at once is a rare departure from years of precedent in which US military sales to Taiwan were spaced out and carefully calibrated to minimize tensions with Beijing. However, US President Donald Trump’s administration has this year become more aggressive with China, and the sales would land as relations between Beijing and Washington are at their lowest point in decades over accusations of spying, lingering trade tensions, disputes about the
ON THEIR OWN: The KMT has decided not to participate as a party at this year’s forum, and if any members do go, they would not be representing the party, Alicia Wang said The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday announced that it would not send a delegation “as a political party” to this year’s Straits Forum, after a Chinese TV program described the planned visit to the annual meeting as “suing for peace.” The 12th forum is scheduled to open in Xiamen, China, on Saturday. On Tuesday last week, the KMT announced that former legislative speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) would lead the party’s delegation to the forum, with KMT Secretary-General Lee Chien-lung (李乾龍) as deputy head. However, on Thursday last week, China Central Television’s (CCTV) Yangshipin (央視頻) program, hosted by Li Hong (李紅), included a headline
RIVERSIDE CAMP: As rescuers continued their search for a missing man, Taipower said that the floodgates at a hydro plant on the Lishi Creek opened due to a malfunction Three people have been confirmed dead and one was missing after being swept away by a flash flood while camping in Nantou County’s Renai Township (仁愛), police said yesterday. Six people from two families were camping near Lishi Creek (栗栖溪) when the riverbanks were suddenly flooded just after 4am, carrying away four of the campers — including two children — who were asleep in their tents, police said. A man who was among those swept away was able to climb ashore and call for help, police said, adding that another man had gone missing in the turmoil at the campsite.
CLOSE ENCOUNTERS: Several of the PLA fighter jets that crossed the median line of the Strait came within 68km of Hsinchu, drawing warnings from Taiwan, the ministry said At least 18 Chinese military aircraft yesterday flew into the nation’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on the second day of a US delegation’s visit, the Ministry of National Defense said, adding that the military responded by deploying an air defense missile system to monitor their activities. A delegation led by US Undersecretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment Keith Krach on Thursday started a three-day visit to Taiwan. The ministry from Thursday started publicizing the actions of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in Taiwan’s ADIZ on its Web site and Twitter. According to ministry reports, 18 PLA aircraft